Giving Irises Room to Grow Posted on 17 Oct 05:43 , 0 comments

In 2008, as we were still pretty new at flower gardening, I visited a local cutting garden in mid-June, just as she was pulling up her now expired Siberian Iris. She asked me if I would like some. In two seconds, I hatched a plan to create a bed of irises alongside our garage. I would alternate between these Siberian Iris and the Bearded Iris which I had pulled from the first flower bed I planted behind the house. And for all these years, the Siberian Iris have flourished in this spot. Last year, we must have had 200 blooms. The Bearded Iris, despite being larger did not fare so well. They began to get crowded out by the Siberians. Furthermore, the blooms were so heavy that they’d stand proud for one day and then fall over under their own weight. But even the Siberian Iris became victims of their own success. If you look closely, you can see that the iris have pushed against the bricks, forcing them to lean outward. This year, when I cut them back, I decided to fix the problem. First, I pulled out all the Bearded Iris, which, upon inspection, I realized also fared well. One tuber I removed was over two feet long and knobby like rheumatic knuckles. Second, I widened the garden by a foot. You can see the roots of the Siberian Iris had been crushed against the bricks. Next year, the goal will be to break up the existing plants and replant them in the now vacant spaces. With more room around them, I hope they take off. In a couple of years, I would love to see 400 of those delicate purple blooms!