The year I moved into this house I got irises from various friends. I thought I loved Iris, especially Bearded Iris, with their spectacular colours and falls and beards.
Because they’re so hardy, and drought tolerant, and need virtually nothing in the way of care, I planted them–more like “placed” them, since they don’t really get buried–under the three cedar trees in the front garden.
Bearded Iris, “no name’. This is May 2010
Purple Bearded Iris, May 2010
Unfortunately, I don’t like the look of this area of the garden once the irises are finished flowering for the season. Of course I don’t have a picture of the area in its ugly phase, so there’s no evidence. And there never will be:
Many, many, MANY irises
I’ve changed my garden so many times in the last 9 years, I can testify to the value of keeping those plants that you really love and/or give multi-season interest, and getting rid of whatever doesn’t make the grade. [Stay tuned for a post on “The Goodness Ratio”.] Irises just weren’t making the grade.
I’ve dug what I hope will have been ALL of them, to be replaced by something that will be beautifully back-lit by the morning sun. This is on the east side of the property, and there’s nothing in the way of that early light. (The fence in the second picture above is no longer there.)
Here are some of the options:
Solomon’s Seal –Polygonatum odoratum
Solomon’s Seal, looking lovely backlit with morning sun. It’s only in bloom for a few weeks, but the foliage is attractive most of the growing season. Definitely a possibility. Will it tolerate the drought? Will, I have to irrigate?
This might be my favourite spring bulb–Fritilaria mealagris
Fritilary, cute as a bug’s ear, but only for a month or less, and then the foliage dies away quickly. It’s also a flower that is best seen close up, as in this picture. That isn’t really the situation in my ex-iris bed.
Euphorbia amygdaloides, Wood Spurge. Yes, there’re lots of advantages to this, not least is that if you deadhead frequently, you’ll get a lot of flowering through the growing season. Pretty unusual for perennials. But I already have LOTS of Euphorbia, the above being a large patch right in front of the ex-iris bed. So, “No” to more Euphorbia.
Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’
Ahhh, Japanese Blood Grass. Hard to beat for showing off the early and late day sunlight. But again, I already have lots. Because I love all these plants that glow in early and late light.
OK, getting closer. Stipa tenuissima–Mexican Feather Grass. I have a few clumps of MFG, so I think my decision may be another ornamental grass, possibly Miscanthus sinensis or Panicum virgatum.
Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Fire
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’–or is it ‘Yaku Jima’?
In the meantime, this is where this post started. Anyone interested in free irises? I recommend only local-to-Vancouver fans.