Irises are among the most beautiful, eyecatching plants in the world. The combinations of colour and shape are exquisite and endless. I never cease to marvel and gasp when I see new colours together, petals ruffled, beards horned, double blooms, smell the scent of Iris Graminea or to be surprised when in the depths of winter I find a beautiful iris nestled among it’s leaves.
Different varieties of iris can be found flowering in your garden throughout the entire year. Irises are hardy through our winters (even the recent extremely cold winters), they are virtually all resistant to rabbits and deer. Their foliage is often evergreen and so will add to the shape and texture of your border garden.
Here is a guideline calendar for approximate blooming times of the most well known varieties of Irises. Some varieties may rebloom at a later date or bloom slightly earlier or later than I have shown, but generally speaking this is what you can expect from your irises.
.January–March – Iris Reticulata
March–April – Dwarf Bearded Iris
April–May – Border or Median Bearded Iris
April-May – Iris Japonica
May-June – Tall Bearded Iris
May-June – Iris Laevigata/Pseudacorus
June-July – Iris Ochroleuca (orientalis)
June-July – Iris Spuria
June-July – Iris Siberica
June-July – Iris Pacific Coast
June-July-August – Iris Louisiana
July-August – Iris Ensata
September – Tall Bearded Iris Rebloomers
October-February – Iris Unguicularis (stylosa)
Dierama prefer full sun, but will grow well in semi-shade. They should be planted deep in the soil with plenty of moisture in summer and good drainage in winter, preferably in neutral to acid soil. A sheltered position from harsh wind will give best flowering results. Mulch the base in Autumn and in Spring feed with a general purpose feed such as fish, blood and bonemeal. Dieramas will grow most successfully when planted out in the ground. All dieramas will give a beautiful display of swaying stems, loaded with pendulous blooms, enough to almost hypnotise you as you sit relaxing in your garden.
OUTDOOR HARDY ORCHIDS
Bletilla and Pleione – Plant in well-drained humus-rich soil, just covering the pseudobulb. Give the pseudobulb a shady or semi-shaded, sheltered position and wait for the most beautiful and rewarding flowers to surprise your gardening friends.
Roscoea- Not officially a member of the Orchidadeae family, in fact belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. However, the resemblance and the needs of the Roscoea are so close to the orchid family that I will include it in this section. Plant tubers no less than 15cm deep in humus-rich, well drained, preferably neutral to acid soil. The succession of orchid-shaped blooms over a long period is wonderful to watch
All will require a humus-rich soil, slow release fertiliser and added grit for drainage. Water well in summer and feed with a general purpose fertilizer in spring.