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Re: Planting Patterns

Jean  --  If I had my "druthers"  --  and I don't, because of space
limitations  --  I'd plant irises in small beds scattered around the
yard/property and separated from each other by at least 3 feet, and I'd
plant the clumps in those beds at least 2 feet from each other.  The idea
here is to give each variety enough room to display its charms without being
crowded by a competitor.  This would be especially important if one decided
to group varieties by color.  I'm reminded of a large yard in our region --
probably an acre and a half  --  in which some beds are circular, perhaps
10-12 feet in diameter.  In those beds, low shrubs are planted in the center
and the irises around the perimeter.  Other beds are of various shapes and
sizes, with or without companion plants.  With such an arrangement,
rebloomers could be kept together and easily be given the special treatment
they may need, and one might wish to group other irises by type, species,
growth habits or any other preference.

In my own case, since I don't have the luxury of unlimited space, I am, for
the most part, compelled to plant in rows.  I have two principle
considerations in mind when I plant  --  keep colors separate and keep sizes
together.  By that I mean that I plant smaller-statured irises on the
outside edges of beds, or at least on the sunnier sides, so that they aren't
overshadowed by their taller neighbors; as for colors, I try not to plant
similarly colored irises next to each other, aiming instead for contrast.  I
think that makes a more pleasing overall view of the bed, and, as noted
above, it gives each variety a chance to be viewed distinctly from its
similarly-colored neighbor.  I can see how a person might actually want to
group colors  --  like a red bed, a blue bed, etc., but again, I think each
variety in such a bed should be given as much of its own space as possible.

Of course, when one is planting seeds directly in the ground, all bets are
off  -- almost.  Knowing the stature of the varieties crossed will give an
idea of what their progeny's stature will probably be, and one can plant
accordingly.  It's a little easier when one is lining out newly-sprouted
seedlings, since you then know what stature the cross will probably give and
you also can see the varying sizes of the sprouts in your hand.  Even with
all of that,  some seedlings from a cross may, the following spring, be
significantly larger or smaller than their siblings.  When I find a seedling
that is significantly smaller than its neighbors, I dig it at the first
opportunity and replant it where it won't be crowded -- remembering to tag
it's identity, of course!

That's about all the thinking from here on this subject.  --  Griff

zone 7 in Virginia

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jean Sturtevant" <jms1027@cableone.net>
To: <iris-digest@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 11:06 PM
Subject: [iris] Planting Patterns

> I'm digging, thinning and replanting right now.  And I'm wondering how
> irisarians plan where they plant or how they "group" irises together or in
> row.    The most obvious that I can think of are by year, hybridizer,
> Dykes, historics.  Any ideas will be appreciated.
> Jean
> [demime 1.01d removed an attachment of type image/gif which had a name of
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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