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Iris – flower for a Goddess

Since Iris is the Greek goddess for the Messenger of Love, her sacred flower is considered the symbol of communication and messages. Greek men would often plant an iris on the graves of their beloved women as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields” ~ Hana No Monogatari: The Stories of Flowers

Irises have always been my favourite flowers so I was disappointed when a landscaper told me I would not be able to grow them in my garden. Very dissapointed in fact. As a compromise we planted Dietes, a South African wild Iris. I like them well enough. What I like is the leaves, strong, strappy upright growing and they bend slightly at the top. They provide form and interest against the other plants in the garden. The flowers are ok, but unimpressive.

I wasn’t ready to give up on on the idea of having Irises and when I saw some for sale at a rare plant fair I bought six of them to try (how I wish I had bought a truck load full of them!). They are Louisiana Irises – Colorific, Sinfonietta and Stanley Blue. What I bought was the rhizomes with just a few leaves (cut really short). I planted them and hoped for the best … And the best happened!

Right now two are flowering and all the others have buds. Each individual rhizome has formed a clump and they will be ready for dividing in Autumn (Yay! More Irises!)

My gorgeous Irises …









Now that I know I can grow Irises I am on the hunt for more and have found someone in Johannesburg who specialises in Louisiana Irises who is going to be sending some to me next week. I’ll be replacing all the “spent tulips” with Irises. What joy!

Happy Gardening

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

6 replies on “Iris – flower for a Goddess”

I don’t know why you wouldn’t be able to grow bearded irises – they’re a very tough and easy plant. They even thrive for me! Even in some shade, they’ll grow , they just won’t flower as freely. I have never tried Louisiana Irises, but I think I have to now I’ve seen yours. Beautiful photos, too.

Oh WOW! How absolutely gorgeous! Well, even though we are novices, you have learnt that listening to the “experts” is not always the right choice! I’m glad you didn’t !! It’s your garden and Alan is right! Why not? 🙂

Did the landscaper say why you wouldn’t be able to grow these? The first thing I always ask when somebody says “you can’t do that in your garden” is “why not?”. The answer (or lack of) will help you decide if they know what they’re talking about, or if the hassle is worth it.

Looks like it definitely was worth it in this case. 🙂

Christine, your Louisiana Irises are fabulous! I especially love the lilac white one! Irises (I am very much into bearded irises) are some of my favorite flowers, too. Unfortunately I am having trouble to grow them. It must be something in my soil that they don’t like. But I am not ready to give up. I will try to acidify the soil and also amend it with something that improves drainage!

Christine, I am thrilled for you! There is also a Louisiana red that is a truly red iris. We have had one growing for several years as a marginal plant in our koi pond. It’s got a phenomenal color. And of course it bloomed while we were on vacation. We have “Bold Pretender” but I also have my eye on “My Friend Dick”. That is solid red and absolutely gorgeous.

I should tell you that whenever a landscaper tells me I can’t, I do…. which is how I got the red iris in the first place LOL.

Have fun with them.. I love iris too!

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