Iris, Old and New

April is the month of the bearded iris here in North Carolina.

I have one old type from my daddy’s mother’s garden.


I moved many iris onto this bank last summer.  They have never been happier.


The rest of my iris are hybrids.

They came from Cooley’s in Oregon over twenty years ago.

Taco Supreme
Banana Frappe’
Thunder Echo
Persian Berry
I got this from my daddy.   Hmmmm?  Depth of Field?


This is just the first wave of iris.  There will be more in the coming weeks.

The next parade will be the peonies.  Here is the first bloom.

Ants love the sap on the peony buds.

Ahhhhh spring at last!


Divide to Multiply

It’s time to divide your bearded iris.

Thunder Echo
Thunder Echo

Look at each grouping. Did they bloom well in April?

Are the leaves small?  Are there white spots?  Brown streaks?  Holes?

Are the rhizomes skinny?  Holes in spots?  Packed together?

Clean iris are happy iris.


I have not sprayed mine in a decade,

because I cut and clean them several times each year.

The rhizomes like to stay dry and bake in the sun.

This can’t happen if they are crowded.


Clean it before you move any plant. That way you don’t move problems.

This is especially true if sharing plants with friends.

They will not appreciate your disease or tenacious weed.


Lift the group you wish to move.  I use a combo of dig and pull.  Clean each one off.


Let it stand out for a day or two in the shade to harden off the cuts.

Cleaned and separated.
Trash pile from cleaning.

IF you must do the move and replant in the same day,

you may want to dust breaks and cuts on the rhizome with sulfur powder.


To replant, dig a large basin-type trench,

so that you can reach across it in the future to clean them.


Amend soil as needed.

The spot you choose should be sunny and well-drained.

Spread out the roots as you cover them.

I usually bury the entire roots and rhizome and then tug the rhizome to the surface.


Pretend it is floating on the soil like a little boat, half-submerged.

My Daddy likes to tease me by looking at my iris and asking,

“When are you going to plant those?”

Mud them in. (Flood with water.)


I always say that transplanting a plant without “mudding it in”,

is like transplanting an organ without hooking up the arteries.

When you are done, go take a shower. You will need it…and maybe a nap, too.




Eye Spy Iris

April is the month of the Bearded Iris in North Carolina.

Most of mine are showing off right now.

Enjoy the show.

Banana Frappe’
Depth of Field
Ship Shape
Night Affair
Persian Berry
Thunder Echo

I will be doing a post on how to divide and care for bearded iris after July 4th. Check back then if you are interested.

Follow the Flower!

Great Grandma Ida May and the Iris

We had a row of bearded iris behind the vegetable garden.
They hadn’t bloomed in years.
They were crowded and full of weeds.
Nobody had time to tend them.
My sister and I were teenagers finding ourselves.
My mama was teaching junior high. Bless her.
My daddy was keeping the power on at work.
The iris never made it on the list of things to do.


Then Great Grandma Ida May came for a visit.
She disappeared from the house.
We looked out the back windows.
There she was, bent over those iris in her little cotton dress.
Her locket was swinging from her neck as she stooped and straightened up.

She spent hours weeding and cleaning around those iris.
Giving them room to grow.

It puzzled my adolescent self why this old woman felt the need to stand out there in the hot sun bent over those iris.

The next spring they bloomed like never before.
They bloomed again the next year, and the next.

Now I have iris in my own garden.

Persian Berry
Thunder Echo
Thunder Echo

I guess when I’m old,  my grandchildren will see me bent over them,
helping them to grow and bloom.
The iris I mean.

Follow the FLOWER.