Never Too Many Beards

Mention irises, we say beards rule.

Our first home was full of Bearded Irises, each one welcoming our new life as a family.  We were little penny pinchers (and still are) when we first married, I found it quite easy to divide and expand our iris collection.

These strong beautiful flowers came with us on each move to new homes.  When we bought our ranch, we brought our city irises which intermingled with the country irises like long lost family members.  The iris collection did not stop there, soon after moving someone gifted us with two huge bags of various Bearded Iris rhizomes.  Well, never on to turn a plant down, our flower bed was expanded with a multicolored, vibrant irises.  These wonders stand upright, and almost give the impression they know they are spectacular and proud of it.

So, the Beard tale continues, our little Beard family was pretty large, when our nephew generously gave us over a hundred new Beards of various varieties.  On occasions like this, I am grateful my husband indulges me in my crazy.  Even our nephew thought I was over the top for being so excited.  But Rick just asked where ‘We’ are putting them and prepared a wonderful bed for our new Beard family.

After almost 40 years of growing Beards, they have proven to be strong faithful bloomers.  Year after year they have survived droughts, shamefully some years of neglect, weed intrusion they persevered producing beautiful blooms.

Planted in great soil, sandy soil, hard pan still true-blue (or whatever color) bloomers.  Another bonus, through the years we have lost very few to moles or gophers.

Speaking of Beard beds.  Regardless of my errors, faulty maintenance years, there is a proper way to plant and prepare their new homes.   While I cannot really say the correct time to plant in our area (zone 9) we plant when they need to be planted, no matter the season and have faithful results.  Best results are planting in the sun, but. I have planted in shade and the do quite well.  Try to plant in well-drained soil and good watering source.  Plant the rhizome (some call it a bulb, I am old school) along a ridge of soil with root side down.  The rhizome is just covered lightly with soil, not to deep or it will not bloom.

After bloom season we trim them back to about 6 inches, usually we get the job done in fall, however, if I foresee a busy fall, it is completed as soon as the flower dies.  Dead leaves need to be kept clean along with any debris.  Another note is, or irises survived the drought, we cut back on water, bare minimum 

So, try a Beard, very rewarding, inexpensive and low labor.  The reproduce themselves so your collection can expand.   Enjoy!