The regal flowers can be a focus
Iris was the Greek goddess of the
rainbow, traveling its arc to carry messages from the ancient gods to
mankind. Pure poetry in motion, and a fitting namesake for a colorful,
statuesque, sometimes fragrant flower that for centuries was the emblem of
the French monarchy.
Like many iris-growers, Ron Thoman
loves the tall bearded ones. "They're larger and make a big splash and
have a very extroverted personality," he says.
They grow from a fleshy, bulblike
stem called a rhizome that spreads horizontally just below the soil surface.
You'll need to plant them high and dry with plenty of breathing room. After
about four years, or when the blooms start diminishing, they'll need to be
As much as they go for the
"beards," devoted irisarians encourage gardeners to consider other
varieties, too. Siberians are an excellent landscape plant, and dwarf irises
spread rapidly, forming a mat to squeeze out weeds. The dwarfs also don't
need to be divided.
"Get six, and in one year, you'll
have a beautiful bed of iris to drool over," says Carol Ann Moyer.
Whatever your choice, remember that
irises, sometimes called "flags," are fairly easy to grow. They can
last forever, and there's a big payoff. With their regal blossoms and
sword-shaped foliage, they can easily be the focal point of your garden.
And once you're hooked, you can
literally spread the word by dividing and sharing your rhizomes. That's why
the iris' other nickname is "the friendship flower."
Several iris-centered events are
On Sunday, Delaware Valley College,
700 E. Butler Ave., Doylestown, dedicates the Carol Ann Moyer Iris Garden at
3:30 p.m., capping an iris program that begins at 1.
On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the
college, Moyer gives a garden tour followed by a talk on "The New
On May 26, the Delaware Valley Iris
Society sponsors an iris show from 1 to 4 p.m. at Tyler Arboretum, 515
Painter Rd., Media.
On July 21, the iris society holds
a sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Jenkins Arboretum, 631 Berwyn-Baptist Rd.,
- Virginia A. Smith
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