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Re: Irises & Companions


Others have writen of their experiences.  I can tell you some of my mistakes.  

First, evaluate your soil.  My plot of land is highly variable because some
of it is fill and it has made a huge differrence for me.  On most, it is
sandy, low pH, and I can plant most anything.

But I decided last year to treat my iris to some richer heavier soil and
that wasn't so bad.  I combined them with daylilies on the inside of the bed
and that wasn't so bad, but I planted lots of daffodils and that WAS bad.

In my cool climate, the daffodils still have green foliage and are shading
the iris and I am having rot problems.  Although, mercifully, it has pretty
much ceased since I exposed the rhizomes , by scaping all the soil away from
the sides and tops.
So, lesson number one for me, good drainage, no surprise, and don't shade
those rhizomes.

On drier sandy soil the shade factor doesn't seem to be so severe, probably
because the soil doesn't stay moist after our practically nightly showers.
There, I have Asiatic lilies, pansies,  (which are everblooming all summer
long here), oriental poppies (which don't go dormant), large bleeding
hearts( also still blooming, don't go dormant), shasta daisies, liatris,
(very nicely behaved, likes dryness), and, in fact, most perenials.

But the number of TBs I grow precludes me having them all in mixed beds so I
have some beds which are strictly daylilies or iris and I just tolerate the
fact that they don't look like much a lot of the time.  It does make taking
care of them much easier.  Next year I will be planting petunias (how
boring!) or pansies in with them.

One really happy combo is violas which have selfseeded in the midst of SDBs.
They are not tall enough to do any damage to the iris and they look like
little blooming bouquets surrounded by short spikey foliage.  A happy accident.

Also, in the mixed garden, the iris foliage looks terrific because of its
angularity.  In my climate, it always stays nice looking until frost.  Iris
pallida variegata is wonderful for its varigation and I will spread this
around.  Not a real fast increaser for me tho'

Lastly, in one back corner hidden under a floppy Monarda and Nepeta, another
Japanese has been blooming, a single with blue falls and white veins.  It is
a beauty but a rotten spot so I will be moving it.  I promptly pulled Nepeta
and Monarda stalks to give the poor thing some air.

Lee DeJongh in Rhinelander, WI

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