June in the Iris-Beds: Favorites, and an Unexpected Discovery

It’s been a busy month tending the iris at Old House Gardens, with the usual weeding, dead-heading, and photographing, complicated by a 22-day drought with temperatures in the 90s followed by air-quality alerts due to the Canadian forest fires. This added the additional task of watering at a time we’re already swamped. So what a delight when 1st-year gardener Rachel found a red-winged-blackbird nest in the midst of our iris field! Apparently they are usually marsh dwellers but large iris beds seem to be acceptable as well.

We also polled our garden crew for their favorite iris recommendations based on their up-close-and-personal observations. Rachel (majoring in Horticulture at MSU) chose ‘Honorabile’ for its unique red/yellow combination. Anna (now in her 4th year at OHG) recommends ‘Wyomissing’, whose opalescent color appears to change with the light. It seems, she says, “like a flower that would be in a Fairy Forest: sweet, magical, and feminine.”

Sue (office staff as well as long-time garden crew member) likes ‘Monsignor’ which was “a trooper during the exceptionally hot days of spring and is the last iris still in bloom as summer approaches. It is striking with the white detail on the falls that contrast with the bold, deep violet purple.” Finally, Jarod (in his second year at OHG) chose ‘Colonel Candelot’ as “a great mood booster, pleasant and soothing; great for a bouquet in the house” and compared it to a sunset-mix of colors with the beard providing a flash of golden-yellow.