Landscaping with irises

Still reeling with the shock of those yellow irises in the vase in the dining room? Well take a gander at the ones in the garden.

Hilarious. I know. I don’t even like yellow plants. But every spring these huge plants burst out of the soil and I just walk past shuddering inwardly. Amazed and slightly appalled.

And then they burst out and I tend to burst out too. Laughing. What absurd plants.

Marvellous. But absurd.

But my work this week has not been anywhere near the yellow ones. They are too floppy for my plans.

And the plans were hatched when I stood in the orchard and looked up at the garden.

I love the orchard bank. And the barn garden bank way up the top. But in between… the rough grass that is on the lawn bank.

Step forward an idea.

What if I plant a whole row of iris so that they catch the light in spring?

The flowers themselves are fleeting, but the foliage would remain quite upright and interesting most of the year.

So first thing I needed to do was find the hundred and fifty or so plants to do the deed.

And for once, because this is Covid-19 season, I actually had time to go round and round the garden and tying the likely candidates with string.

I don’t want to repeat the mixed colours of the iris on the guesthouse garden and up on the oak bank. My eye is always drawn to the absurdly misplaced yellow ones in the mix.

These are the earliest flowering irises – simple blue and sensible.

So once I had selected my prey, I mulched the area where I wanted to plant.

Then started prepping a trench. An iris trench.

And if you need to be distracted and mucky and busy, then I recommend going at this wonderful simple design project.

The soil is nice and soft from the recent rain, so I went at the irises with the garden fork and traipsed from shade garden, to barn garden, from orchard to the new lawn edge.

Deeply pleasing. And as I have time, then the lavish watering is not a problem. Because this is a bit early for transplanting irises. The flowers are over, but I have a vague notion of June being a great time to move.

But as we all know about these amazing plants. They are very, very forgiving.

108. That’s the lot. I can’t believe I counted them all. In the drizzle.