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Stuart Boone shared these images of his friend Mary’s bearded iris garden in Red Bluff, California. Bearded irises are sometimes called Iris germanica, though modern bearded irises are actually complex hybrids of several different species. Hardy from Zones 4 to 9 and notably deer resistant, bearded irises are adapted to a wide range of climates. However, they are a particularly great choice for dried climates, like Mary’s California garden. This is because bearded irises are extremely drought tolerant.
Those of us in wetter parts of the country can, of course, grow them as well. In wetter, more humid conditions, bearded irises are susceptible to unsightly foliar fungal diseases. While these diseases don’t kill the plant, they can have the leaves looking pretty ragged by the end of the summer. If your iris foliage gets tired looking by the end of the season, you can look for more disease resistant cultivars, or simply plant late summer or fall blooming perennials in front of them to screen the leaves in the latter half of the year.
There are a staggering number of bearded iris varieties out there, with around a thousand new varieties being registered each year. Stuart did not have the names for these varieties from Mary’s garden, and with so many possibilities out there; it is nearly impossible to determine the exact name for the varieties shown. The good news is, with so many varieties to choose from, there is a bearded iris for everyone, no matter your tastes!
Thank you, Stuart, for sending in these beautiful photos of Mary’s bearded iris garden.
Bearded irises with blue or purple falls (lower petals) and paler standards (upper petals) as here are sometimes called “neglectas,” named after an old iris variety from 1815 that showed this pattern.
A lovely froth of lavender-blue petals.
Irises with white standards and darker colored falls, like this striking white-and-wine colored individual, are called “amoena” irises.
Masses of bearded iris in full bloom.
A dark purple iris glows with the sun behind it.
Check out these articles for more information on drought-tolerant and deer-resistant plants:
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