Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Iris time

A couple of weekends back, the irises were in bloom. They're a fleeting presence, but the foliage will continue giving into the fall. My first Angelica gigas appears to be thriving, even after a winter of wet and stressful freeze and thaw, and the Persicaria bistorta 'Superbum' is spreading (which I want). We didn't get out to the garden last weekend, so I'm wondering what we'll find this week.

It goes without saying, all these plants are keepers in wet clay.


  1. I've planted my first Angelica gigas and I also have some seedlings since I read it was a biennial.

    Love Irises and I managed to grow most types despite the clay. I find that as long as the Bearded irises can have their rizomes baked in the summer they are happy.

  2. Thanks for naming the irises. I didn't know the name of the irises that we accidentally got when we purchased some ornamental grasses last year, I was surprised to see them bloom and that was my intro to this kind of Irises. They all seem to share the same lovely colours! This year I can't wait until I can move them (we ended up with two sets of Irises!)close to each other, right now they are on two separate corners of our front, and very urban, garden. It's good to know that they'll live on clay, that's all we seem to have aroud my area.

    I also want to say thanks James for stopping by my blog the other day, while my blog is not a gardening blog, it just gets sprinkled now and then by my gardening learning experiences, I enjoy gardening and certainly have enjoyed reading yours. Thanks!

  3. patientgardener, I hope my angelica gives me seedlings. Next year I'll know. My irises are all water-loving kinds. Bearded irises can't survive my wet conditions.

  4. This has been a season without irises for my garden. Seeing yours it's a reminder that it's time to replant. Few flowers combine their lush colors with such interesting structures.

    I like the different greens and leaf forms you've incorporated into your garden.

  5. Maria, the top two photos are Siberian irises of some unknown name. The fourth photo is Iris virginica, a native iris. And the yellow iris is Iris pseudacorus, the original fleur de lis, which is from Europe but has naturalized all over.

  6. James, I don't think of San Diego as iris territory, but you must grow bearded iris, and those west coast irises I don't know the name for. Most of my irises last for months. They have good structure, especially the seed pods, which are loaded by fall. I'm hoping they seed around but that process is slow and iffy on wet clay.

  7. I don't mean to question your obvious greatness but isn't that Angelica archangelica and not gigas? Gigas is quite burgundy.

    Whatever it is it's lovely. And these photos are some of your best (that I've seen). Thanks again, James.


  8. The plant was labeled Angelica gigas last year when I bought it. I kept waiting for it to darken, but I hadn't given up hope. Perhaps a seedling cross with archangelica? Today I bought three plants labeled Peucedanum verticillare, but they look suspiciously like Angelica. The photo on the label is of a grass. Obviously an error. I wonder what plants I actuallly have? On to Google...

    In the wings I have seedling Angelica (I know not what) from seed someone brought me from Iceland. Angelica grows like a weed there, so I'm curious as to what these plants will look like, and how they will survive.

    "Greatness"? Are you being droll?

  9. Droll, maybe. Greatness, obviously. But then there's Greatness and there's greatness, isn't there?

    Angelica grows like a weed in some of these parts as well. It's a wonderful sight to see scattered amongst the sweeps of granite glacial droppings.

  10. Thanks James. I seem to have Siberian judging for the colour and shape, and have a good number of yellow ones, and now most likely will look for the virginica kind.

    Also when you google plants for ID, how do you that? flower or leave description? I have one new "volunteer" plant that looks like a campanula, have looked all over my books, but just can't find the one I need to find. Will appreciate help.


  11. Maria, when I use Google for plant id I usually have some idea of what it is. Otherwise, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. If I don't know a plant, I observe it in all stages of its life and wait until I come across it in a garden or a book. Not a very efficient method, but a pleasurable one. You might try posting a digital photo on your blog too.

    I should mention that the Iris virginica may be Iris versicolor. Both are native, and I'm not sure of their difference. I think many of the ones I have were probably inaccurately labeled, and they are so similar I haven't bothered to find what the difference is.

  12. PH,
    Interesting that it grows so well in Nova Scotia, as it does in Iceland. Do you know what conditions make it so happy in what I would consider to be very harsh conditions?

  13. The irises have helped bring some color into the spring garden. Most prairie and wet-loving plants put their energy into growing fast and don't bloom until mid- to late summer, so irises are a real help. The Irise Pseudacorus starts first, then Iris versicolor and Siberian irises together, then Iris virginana, then the Japanese irises. But I need to divide them to get greater coverage.



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