Garden Photo of the Day

For the Love of Irises

Bearded irises and more in a California garden

My name is Mary Morgan. My garden is in the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills of Northern California (about 50 miles south of Lake Tahoe as the crow flies).

I had a white Thanksgiving. The snow did not last long, but it sure trampled my garden! I really started to miss my lovely spring-and-summer flower garden. These photos are of some of my happy gardening moments. They help me reflect on the beautiful seasons past and make me long for the first blooms of the coming spring.

bearded irisesI love bearded irises! My grandmother, my mom, and I all shared this love of bearded irises. We moved a lot and always took (and left) iris rhizomes.

Bearded irises reproduced quickly when we planted them. When we moved, we left a beautiful garden and took enough to start another beautiful garden.

You do not have to wait long to enjoy these beautiful irises. They even reproduce fast enough to share rhizomes with friends.

Bearded irises are hardy in Zones 3–10 and generally grow happily anywhere they have plenty of sun and decent drainage. They truly are one of the most widely adaptable garden plants. They look wonderful in the garden and make terrific cut flowers as well.

spring flowersIn between the irises I grow daylilies, peonies, hollyhocks, juniper beards, and California poppies as fillers. In this back garden, there are also 1500 daffodils, tulips, Dutch irises, crocuses, and Asian lilies.

I have a large garden in a rural woodland setting. I have been a happy home gardener, albeit at different homes, for almost 40 years.


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  1. nwphillygardener 12/20/2019

    Thanks for showing us your lush collection of Irises and the plants that help show them off. I'm hoping you can identify the salmon/lipstick red flowers that appears in profusion in the last of the photos. That's one plant that does not look immediately familiar to me. And one of the plants you mention as a filler is "juniper beards" which may be a common name for something I also don't know. Thanks, again for sharing your garden in photos, and not just by rhizomes. :)

    1. User avater
      treasuresmom 12/20/2019

      Wondering if juniper beards should have been jupiter's beard. I think maybe it is red valerian???

    2. user-5117752 12/21/2019

      To me, this garden is heaven sent!!! The lushness, the color, the setting!!! Be still my heart!!!

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 12/20/2019

    Love those irises. They are so pretty.

  3. btucker9675 12/20/2019

    Be still my heart - what a beautiful garden! I, too, love irises - all varieties. My maternal grandpa (a botanist) told me when I was a little girl that they were often called poor man's orchids. I had many in my garden in northern NJ, and am making a good start with them in my garden here south of Charlotte, NC. Thank you so much for these stunning photos. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all you gardeners!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 12/20/2019

    Your Iris are thriving and gorgeous! Maybe if I stop transplanting mine to new spots in the garden...maybe then mine will do what your's are doing!
    I have to admit that cute garden bear ornament tricked me for a second!
    Such a pretty garden and great choices of flowers to combine with the iris!

  5. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 12/21/2019

    Your garden spaces look marvelous.
    I too love Irises, yet ours have never really got going so to speak. Only the Iris 'Nibelungen' clump is churning out a flower show each spring. The other 10 or so varieties just are hanging on.
    Thank you for posting your beautiful garden!
    Happy Holidays!

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