The irises are blooming, one of my favorite times! We have bearded iris plantings in several areas of the yard. The name bearded refers to the fuzzy, beard-like patch on the three main petals.
Most of our irises are two-toned purple with a wonderful grape-like scent. These thrive in our gardens with very little care. Every other year I have to divide the plants and find new spots for them so the beds don’t become too crowded.
Irises grow from a long rhizome at or just beneath the soil surface. In late summer, new rhizomes can be cut and removed, with the roots and a trimmed leaf fan attached, for replanting elsewhere.
With a little attention, such as occasional dividing, weeding, mulching and fertilizing, irises will reward the gardener with a multitude of large, fragrant blooms. They also make great cut flowers. I gather the ones that bend over from rain and fill vases in the house.
Two years ago I planted a new variety called Hemstitched and the plants are blooming for the first time this year. The flowers are very large, white laced with purple and with a heavy, grape fragrance.
A little later in the season, the Siberian irises will open. Siberian irises are not bearded, and resemble the wild blue flag iris. We have plantings in purple and yellow. The yellow Siberian irises are particularly vigorous and need frequent dividing.