Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eye Candy- My Amazing Japanese Irises

Feast your eyes on these dramatic beauties
Day 30
The Daily DuBrule

Today I want to keep it simple. I am preparing for a big class on Saturday, heading into the shop to load up for the flower shop, working on an estimate, and finishing up a plan. So, I decided to treat you to a picture show of my amazing Japanese irises.
I am blessed (?) with heavy, wet, thick clay soil. We're talking about the stuff you could make pottery with. In the spring in my "back forty" you dig a hole, let it sit open for a few days, and it fills with water. Wait too long and the water turns green. That was an eye opener for me when I was preparing to plant tomatoes my first year here. Thus, I grow vegetables in raised beds. Not one to be discouraged by conditions beyond my control, I simply thought "don't fight the site". And that is when my love affair with Japanese irises began.
In other homes I have lived in, the conditions have been the opposite. Sandy soil or lean, starvation soil under trees on rock ledges. Japanese irises hate that. They love acidic, moist soil. My first pH test of my yard came in at a ridiculous 4.3. I have amended the soil since, but let's just say its tending toward acidic.
I started taking home any Japanese iris that caught my fancy. I always chose the smallest pots possible, usually a 5 pt. pot size. One fan of foliage, a flower or two was what I started with. The pictures you are seeing are after a mere two years in my garden. 40+ flowers per plant, all reaching 3-4 feet tall. They LOVE it here!
The best part is, I do NOTHING except cut them down with my garden sickle at the very end of the fall. In fact, this year, I did it on a mild day in January. No feeding, NOTHING ELSE. They make great landscape plants and make my heart soar in late June and July when they burst into bloom. I'm lovin' it.


  1. Gorgeous! I'm the opposite, though - I don't have any moist bits in my yard, and I've been lusting after things that want to have a fair amount of moisture. I'll have to pick your brain - I don't necessarily want a full on small pond with a pump, but maybe I can bury a pond liner with a few holes and make a nice spot for these, maybe some acorus, I think Rodgersia wants some wet...

  2. Mary Anna, You can line a planting hole with thick black plastic, poke holes in it, and grow moisture lovers. I first heard about this trick with Ligularias but it would worlk with other things. Too cool, heh? Nancy :)