Ideas please for suitable companions to Flag Iris.

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by silu, Feb 20, 2018.

  1. silu

    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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    Despite living in a climate close to The Arctic (according to @Zigs :)) Flag Iris do fairly well where I live as the majority of my very large garden is luckily south facing. I adore them and accept they don't flower as freely as say in the south of England but still very much worth growing here.
    I had about 30 different varieties which has now increased thanks to @noisette47 :). The ones I have had for a long time were in herbaceous beds and I can't say I thought they looked that good in amongst lots of other varieties of plants and did tend to get swamped which they didn't appreciate much. So despite me saying I would not make any more flowerbeds i have decided to make just 1 more before I am completely passed it and plant all my Iris in it. I will have it slightly raised and augment the soil with as much gritty type stuff that I can lay my hands on to create very good drainage.
    What I can't make my mind up about is whether to purely have Iris in the bed which will then look a bit grim post flowering or better to add something else. I am tending towards the something else but what? I could plant Hostas to give some interest for the rest of the season but hoping someone can suggest a good companion/companions?
    Plants here need to be pretty hardy so the likes of Agapanthus would be iffy. I grow them in pots and overwinter them in the greenhouse. I can grow Nerines and there are few herbaceous which I can't grow. My soil is pretty acidic which makes the choices I have pretty well non restricted from that point of view. I know some people grow Iris with Roses, I grow some Roses but they really are not a huge favourite of mine and they are gross feeders while Iris do best in a very poor growing medium so not a "marriage made in heaven" to my mind.Hoping someone can come up with a great suggestion.
     
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    • Ned

      Ned Evaporated

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      Silu, I`ve been thinking about this today (on and off) and I cannot think of anything better to plant with your flags than ornamental grasses. Google some grasses and imagine how the flags would look among them. There are lots of colours in grasses that would enhance the flags a lot I think....
      I found this for example -[​IMG]
       
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      • noisette47

        noisette47 Total Gardener

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        Hi silu:) I've given this a lot of thought over the years. As you say, it's got to be something that won't swamp the iris rhizomes. I settled for various bulbs and Agapanthus.There are evergreen Agapanthus and deciduous ones...the latter are hardier. Then there are the dwarf, species Gladioli, Acidanthera, dare I say Dahlias? They're not all big, blowsy efforts :biggrin:.
         
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        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Hi Silu :)
          A bed purely of iris would not look great after flowering so planting something else there would be good I think. Here they are grown where summer perennials grow up to help hide the iris foliage.
          Grasses, yes, would fit in well. Consider too libertias to continue with the linear effect.
          Veronicastrum too would look good.....it has superb sculpted foliage and flowers from mid summer in white, pink, lavendar and even red. It is delicate enough not to swamp the iris.
          Consider too the amplexicaulis varieties of persicaria......they flower for months, have a light habit and continue with the spikey theme.....Alba, Dikke Foskes, Orangefield are a few I can recommend. these are not the invasive persicarias either; extremely well behaved.
          Sanguisorbas like Red Thunder.....red bobble flowers on swaying foliage....would give you great summer colour and movement. Bees and butterflies like them too. From a distance they look wonderful reflected against the blue sky.
          To contrast, how about acteas/cimicifugas? Superb red/black mounds of architectural leaves and scented spikes of flowers in late summer? Brunette and James Compton are 2 excellent forms :)
          To create an all year round scene, a hellebore would add foliage and flowers from late winter to late spring. A few snowdrops, dwarf early daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and lilies too!:)
          Have fun Silu:)
           
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          • KFF

            KFF Total Gardener

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            Hi Silu ,

            It's recommended that you don't plant anything within 12" or so of Iris Germanica. You need to let the sun bake the rhizomes during the Summer. I think the reason that Roses are known as the only compatible plant is that they are ( should be ) quite open at the bases and this lets the sun shine on them at ground level.
            The picture Tetters has put up is well and truly photoshopped , there is no way they'd flower in that situation.
             
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            • Verdun

              Verdun Passionate gardener

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              I grow excellent iris .....they are planted with other things. Clearly I will have to post pictures.
              Try it Silu :)
               
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              • Ned

                Ned Evaporated

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                FOR THE LOVE OF IRIS
                Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens
                [​IMG]

                Ideal Companions for Your Bearded Iris Beds

                August 13, 2012 by Schreiner's Iris Gardens 34 Comments

                [​IMG]
                Companion plants among Iris add variety of height, shape and bloom time

                The practice of “Companion Planting”, a centuries-old gardening tradition, follows the theory that different plant species, planted close together, assist each other with nutrient production and absorption, controlling pests, attracting pollinators, and other factors necessary for their full productivity. This practice is clearly beneficial in flower gardens as well. When planning your beds, consider water conservation as well as overall aesthetic design.

                Ray Schreiner, quintessential plant-lover, has designed the Display Gardens at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens with these companion planting principles in mind. Some of his choices fix nitrogen in the soil, others attract butterflies and other pollinators, some work to control weeds, and some are chosen simply for aesthetic appeal.

                Ray plants the Display Gardens with a wide range of sun-loving as well as shade-dwelling flowers. He chooses mainly perennials, but adds some annuals for a quick splash of color along the borders. These give the Iris gardens a balanced feel with their varied heights, colors and shapes, and lengthen the display of blooms from early Spring into late Fall. Some of the companion plants our guests can find in the garden during bloom season include Alliums, Peonies, Icelandic and Oriental Poppies, Delphiniums and, of course, the ubiquitous Lupine. Ray plants flowering trees and shrubs such as Dogwoods, Magnolias, Birch, Willow, Heather and Rhododendrons to round out the park-like setting. Shasta Daisies, Rudbeckia, Reblooming Iris, and Clematis brighten the summer gardens here. “I like to have color all year round,” says Ray. “Too bad there aren’t a few more seasons in the year.”

                Some tips to keep in mind as you choose your companion plants:

                Plant in zones: Group together plants with similar light and water requirements. Choose a variety of plants with different heights, colors and textures to create interest and beauty.

                Choose drought-tolerant perennials, such as: Day Lily, Echinacea, Lavender, Sedum, Gaillardia, Rudbeckia, Phlox, to name only a few. To enhance your drought-tolerant Iris beds, choose perennials that require full sun and that bloom around the same time. Choose other perennials, with low-water needs, to continue the display of color throughout the year.

                Did you like this? Maybe your friends will too:

                Related
                Preparation for PlantingIn "Fertilizing"

                Iris Foliage In The Summer GardenIn "bearded iris"

                Summer Around the GardensIn "bearded iris"


                Categories: Companion Plants, Garden Design, Iris Care, Planting | Tags: bearded iris, companion plants, drought tolerant, Garden Design, planting, pollination | Permalink.

                [​IMG]
                Author: Schreiner's Iris Gardens
                 
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                • KFF

                  KFF Total Gardener

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                  It's interesting to note that this is an American site where teperatures are higher so the rhizomes don't have to be baked.

                  Also, I notice all the plants are behind the Irises, not exactly " companion " planting then, just a row of Irises with plants behind them.
                   
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                  • silu

                    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                    Thanks all. I like the idea of Agapanthus but not sure if they will be ok during the winter here. Definitely not the evergreen ones, they struggle IN the greenhouse:rolleyespink:. I have some Headbourne Hybrid which I think is about the hardiest you can get so might try some of those actually planted in the garden rather than in pots. Again I have some Acidanthera but like the Agapanthus not a hope outside here. I grow tonnes of lilies but they seldom do well out of pots:wallbanging:. However, I have plenty of Sanguisorba and Cimicifuga which don't have lush lower foliage so perhaps quite a good idea and hadn't thought of Persicaria again which I have and might look good.
                    I love the photo @Tetters of the Iris and Lupins......in my dreams:lunapic 130165696578242 5: and probably everybody elses! See that Foxtail Lillies are featured. i planted 3 of those some years back which I never saw again:rolleyespink:
                    I grow dahlias but not the small daintier ones many of which have nice coloured foliage so might do a little purchasing I think. Good idea @noisette47 but not so sure about grasses. I grow a couple but many of the really lovely ones don't "do" here. I have tried but they seldom look good after a winter here and I'm getting past the stage of having to cosset plants, they have to get on with it! , well most of them anyway.
                    You have all given me lots of food for thought so again many thank for all your useful suggestions.
                     
                  • Ned

                    Ned Evaporated

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                    Yes, and some little short ones in front as well - don`t they look great :) - especially those veronicastrums ! I usually either plant stuff singly, or else in groups, so groups of grasses and other perennials in the same bed as a group or three of flag iris seems like a good idea to me.
                    @silu it will be interesting to know what you do decide to plant - I hope you let us know.
                     
                  • Ned

                    Ned Evaporated

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                    Woops Silu - both posts at the same time :smile: Just where is Igloo?
                    PS... would hardy ferns work?
                     
                  • "M"

                    "M" Total Gardener

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                    Would daylilies fit the bill for you @silu ? They would flower after your irises and continue to flower for much of the summer. Don't need heaps of attention either.
                     
                  • Verdun

                    Verdun Passionate gardener

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                    Silu, you can plant to your heart's content with your iris. :) My own garden is full of companion plants, incl rhizomatous iris, and all perform well.
                    Nice picture Tetters:)
                    I think we should all post more pictures this growing season to show how we use our plants.
                     
                  • Ned

                    Ned Evaporated

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                    Jolly good idea, `specially as I have my new camera nowupload_2018-2-21_19-11-53.jpeg
                     
                  • Verdun

                    Verdun Passionate gardener

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                    New camera Tetters? What sort?
                    I need one ......can I have yours?:snorky:
                     
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