Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 55

G Irresistable Irises
Text and photos by Elizabeth Hunter

Mountain
Garden

EASY TO GROW, EASY TO KEEP AND EASY TO LOOK AT,
BEARDED IRISES HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF BEAUTY.
"No plant more sweetly recalls the
gardens of our grandmothers than
the iris, or fleur-de-lis." -Charles M.
Skinner
I'M NOT SURE either of my grandmothers were gardeners, but my
mother's father was, and my Great
Aunt Mary, on my father's side. Both
of them loved irises. They were, in
fact, my grandfather's favorite. He
cultivated them along a tall fence in
his city backyard; there were swaths
of them in Aunt Mary's rural
Vermont flower garden. But Mr.
Skinner, whose "Myths and Legends
of Flowers, Trees, Fruits and Plants"
appeared in 1911, was thinking of
earlier iris lovers than they. Irises
have been beloved by humans practically since they forswore hunting
and gathering for agriculture.
From "The National Gardening
Book": "There are records of [the
iris] in Babylon and in Egypt. A white
variety was carried by the
Mohammedan armies to plant on
the graves of their soldiers. It is also
written of by Dioscorides in the 6th
Century. It was the Fleur de Lis of
France. As early as 1576 the great
botanist Carolus Clusius listed nine
species from southern Europe. In
1601 he described 28 Tall Bearded
varieties, noting that there is great
variation among Iris grown from
seed. It is because of this very fact
that new varieties have increased
until there is now a list of over
20,000."
I shudder to think, if there were
20,000 varieties in 1947, when "The
National Gardening Book" was published, how many more there are
today. Despite the plethora of varieties, irises fall into three or four main
categories, only one of which -
bearded irises - is the subject of this
column. Bearded irises are distin-

Tempellu ptatur maximol oratem. Ut exceatem idunt labor autati dolupta Tempellu
ptatur maximol oratem. Ut exceatem idunt labor autati dolupta

Worth the wait: A passed-along rhizome produced just leaves for several years.
Then this.
TALKING IRISES : A SPECIALIZED VOCABULARY

To be fluent in iris-speak, here are some terms
you need to know about their blooms:

Bitones: standards of one color, falls of
another shade of the same color.

Standards: the three upstanding petals.

Bicolors: standards and falls of two different
colors.

Falls: the three drooping petals.
Selfs: blooms that are one color throughout.

Plicatas: blooms with feathered markings on
the edge of a white or colored ground.
MAY/JUNE 2014 | 55



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Letters / You Said It
From the Editor
From the Farm
BRC Unlocked
Mountain Report
Creasture Feature
Great Buys in the Mountains
The Hike
Festivals and Events
Country Roads
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Little Zoos, Big Fun
Mountain Garden
Flavors
Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Letters / You Said It
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - BRC Unlocked
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Creasture Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Great Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Little Zoos, Big Fun
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover3
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