The name Iris comes from the Greek meaning ‘rainbow’ and the Greek Goddess Iris is the messenger of love. Irises come in many colours and are hardy herbaceous perennials that grow from either a rhizome or a bulb. They have long sword-like leaves and a long erect flowering stem which may be solid or hollow, flattened or with a circular cross section. Iris flowers have six lobes comprising three sepals which droop downwards and are called ‘falls’ and three petals that stand upright and are called ‘standards’. In the bearded irises, the falls have tufted upright extensions along their midline. The shape of the falls which look like landing stages, are particularly attractive to flying insects which land on them in abundance, and can’t help but pollinate the flowers as they walk to the centre to reach the nectar.
When planting iris rhizomes, dig a 10-inch hole, add some slow release fertiliser and loose soil, and place the rhizome no more than 1 inch deep. If the soil is heavy add gravel or pottery shards to the bottom of the hole for drainage. If you have divided an old clump, make sure the section of rhizome has some root and leaves per section. After flowering, cut back the plant to its base. If they are pushed out of the soil by the frosts and thaws of winter, just cover with soil or compost until the soil is soft enough to replant. Apply a thin layer of compost each spring.
Order no: F043 Iris yellow and white