I am starting with a stained glass panel I purchased at a garage sale. It is of a lovely blue iris.
These lavender beauties grow on the west side of our home. Once there was a large "digger" pine tree shading them. They like a lot of sun, so when it was cut down they took advantage of the extra light and have bloomed well ever since.
Our "Gold Country" Dad loved iris. I think it was the ease in growing, and the mostly deer proof leaves that he liked the most, but I also think he just loved them because they were beautiful and colorful.
Daddy planted them all down the driveway, on the east side. One particular golden iris was a cutting from the garden of a lady who lived on Sacramento Hill in Placerville in an old home. He had delivered some furniture to her, and it wasn't easy, the house was only reached by many steep steps. He was proud of that iris, I remember him telling me it was worth $20 when she first bought the flower.
This is another patch on the west side of our house. Iris like to have well drained soil, so with our clay soil, it helps to have rock outcroppings around to break it up and help the water drain away.
Oh, the colors are so striking. May is a lot more fun with iris around.
The stripes on the bottom three petals, which are called falls, stand out like a zebra's coat. The three rising or upright petals are called standards.
This patch of iris is on the east side of the house. On either side of a large patch of deer brush, we have planted iris. This is the north side patch.
Here you can see the beard which is yellow. The beard goes down the middle of each fall.
The white iris is such a pure form of white it seems to glow in the dark.
This is the patch on the south side of the deer brush. It was a lot better looking about a week ago before we had a large wind and hail storm. I knew I should have taken my pictures earlier!
The blue iris is a most fascinating shade.
Iris grow from thick underground stems called rhizomes. They are planted just under the soil with some parts above the soil. You should separate them every three to five years. They will bloom better that way. The rhizomes do not like to be close to manure, so if you fertilize, make sure it is not touching them.
After heavy winds, the stalks sometimes fall to the ground. It is interesting to see how the flowers still try to keep their heads up in the direction of the sky. We usually only pick the fallen flower stalks, but that is still enough to have enormous bouquets.
The bearded iris have very sturdy sword shaped semi-evergreen leaves. Deer do not seem to care for them. They might take a taste when they are fresh and new, but that is it.
There are many flowers on each stalk, so after they are picked, they keep blooming for quite a while in the bouquets. They have an interesting scent, which I personally don't care for, but it isn't offensive, just not a favorite.
This last picture shows one of my favorite colors, a lovely brown, which is growing near my garage door.
If you don't want to spend a lot of time fussing over a flower, the bearded iris might be for you. Many iris farms start selling their rhizomes in July, but May is a good time to go visit and pick out the varieties you like while they are in bloom. Enjoy!