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Iris Germanica, better known as Bearded Iris because of soft hairs growing in the centre of the flowers, have long been a staple of our cottage gardens and herbaceous borders.  They come in such a wide variety of colours and colour combinations that you might think that the breeders have just about achieved all they can.  However the varieties we cover here are not only in a lovely selection of colours, but also have been bred to bloom at the normal time in spring or early summer, and also rebloom again in the autumn.  It almost seems a waste to invest in other varieties that will not provide this double season of interest. The varieties mentioned here also have remarkable resistance to pests and diseases and are tolerant of drought. These hardy perennials are long lived and so will give us years of joy in the garden. They also make a lovely cut flower and the blooms have a light fragrance.

Not all varieties of Iris Germanica possess this reblooming attribute.  Below I have listed five of the best varieties that do.  They are pictured at the top of the article.

Iris ‘Orange Harvest’ – Rust orange flowers.

Iris ‘Victoria Falls’ – Light blue iris flowers.

Iris ‘Cantina’ – Violet blooms.

Iris ‘Buckwheat’ – Golden yellow petals.

Iris ‘Pass the Wine’ – Wine red flowers.

The varieties listed will all reach an approximate height of 90cm (36in), and a spread of around 30cm (12in). These Irises are often supplied as rhizomes.  The rhizomes love to bake in the sun.  They should therefore be planted sitting on the soil’s surface, and not surrounded too closely by other plants that will shade them.  A well drained soil is also recommended.  Shallow planting and good drainage will help to stop rotting of the rhizomes.  Therefore if you have a heavy soil it can be improved with organic matter or grit. Overcrowded clumps can be divided in late summer.

To view these Irises at Thompson & Morgan click here

Caution: Irritant to skin and eyes. Harmful if eaten.

Mark Snelling

Images copyright Thompson & Morgan

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