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Winter Dreams – Siberian Iris

Siberian Irises

Nameless Siberian irises

Today I have chosen to think about the beardless Siberian iris. It is such a cold, gray winter day that I needed to think about something cheerful, that presents no problems. The Siberian iris family fills the bill.

When I say they present no problems I am also saying that I have good conditions for these beautiful irises. I have acid soil, and while they can take dry periods well, they welcome generous water. In Heath there was always rain in the early spring which is the most vital time for the growth of the Siberian iris. It takes a good soil and adequate water to grow that foliage and set flowers. Mulching will also support their growth.

Siberian irises mostly bloom in shades of blue, purple and white, but there are some unusual hybrids. ‘Solar Energy’ appears with shades of yellow and ‘Sandy River Belle’ is pale pink with a splash of yellow at the center. You get a sense of the range of color by browsing through  a catalog like Schreiners Iris Gardens. I found an amazing array of Siberian irises in Beardless Irises: A Plant for Every Garden Situation by Kevin C. Vaughn.

I do not have any Siberians with unusual colors, but I love the blues and white. However spring will come, and I very well may need more Siberian irises.

Siberian irises

Siberian irises in the Heath field

I don’t know how  these irises got into the edge of our field, but I think they continue to thrive with great exuberance because this is a wet spot.

White Siberian Iris

Nameless white Siberian iris

The white Siberians have been growing among the increasing weeds around the dug well behind the Heath house. These are tough plants – and a pleasure to think about on a dull winter day.

5 comments to Winter Dreams – Siberian Iris

  • Breathtakingly beautiful! I almost soon at the depth of color. I recall your once referring to the adage about these irises, that they like “their feet in water and their heads in the sun”? Alas, while I have as much spring rain as anyone in western Massachusetts, my soil is sandy and water percolates downward with astonishing rapidity. Any chance I’d ever be able to grow those beauties? I gather creating a much richer soil and mulching like mad would be a start? If I can’t do it, I’ll just have to constantly return to this post and gaze at the photos!

  • While they are beautiful, they go crazy in my wet garden. I am constantly trying to get rid of them so I can grow something else. Years ago we dug up a lot of them and they now grace the walkways at our Town Hall.

  • Pat

    Marjorie – I will have clumps of these in Greenfield, brought from Heath.
    honestday – they are very happy being wet, but are quite biddable in other situations. Constant soil improvement qualities are always a good idea.
    Denise – I did take extra irises myself and threw them along the sides of our dirt road where they do quite well, along with extra daylilies.

  • I have a beautiful pale pink Siberian iris called Pink Haze. It blooms very reluctantly in my sandy soil and only puts on a good show in very wet years. It would love your garden!

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