Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reblooming Iris are having their best year in....well in a while ('Autumn Bugler' , on the bottom, and an unknown variety)

From a gardener's standpoint it's been a good fall here in Washington. Plenty of moisture, mixed with a reasonable number of sunny days. Temperatures have dipped below freezing twice, once almost a month ago and the past two nights. But only a few degrees; we haven't yet had a hard frost. The fall Camellias are unmatched, lots of Roses still have flowers, the Ericas are slipping into flower, late Mums are still good. And the Iris.

If you look at a catalogue of Tall Bearded Iris, anywhere from half to almost all of the listed varieties are reblooming. Not all of them reflower reliably this far north, but this year they did. I enjoy the reblooming varieties immensely. I use Iris, as architectural design elements, not bedded, so the flowers are sort of gravy. Only frost stops the fall flowering once it's begun; I always feel sad about the inevitably blasted buds that mrk our first hard frost, but hey, they'll be flowering again in 5 months. To encourage reflowering, and this is true of just about any perennial that reblooms, a bit of fertilizer after the first flush, and adequate water will help ensure that second set of flowers. When choosing Iris, I've found that if you read the labels or descriptions, it's easy to figure out which rebloom the most reliably.

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