Rainbow Iris Walk
By MG Calla Victoria
Irises should be planted in the fall, but April is the time to enjoy their unique beauty and variety. You can find them in bloom everywhere right now. The Longue Vue House and Gardens and the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at City Park held their Annual Rainbow Iris Walks recently. If you love irises and would like to grow several varieties, this is the time to view most of these amazing flowers at those public gardens that label all of their iris species. That way you can write down the names of the ones you like, and in October when Iris societies have their sale you can pick up what you like and plant them. In January you will start to see the long strap-like leaves coming up, and by April you will have gorgeous blooms. During the rest of the year when the irises are not in bloom its bright green strappy foliage adds texture and movement in the garden.
I love all plants the readily multiply and irises do just that, so every couple of years you can separate them to sell or share with friends. Most iris varieties like wet feet so you can grow them in pots with no drainage holes, the more water the better which is why you will find them living happily near ponds. Walking iris (Neomarica gracilis), on the other hand, prefer a drier well-drained soil. They are called “walking” irises because their blooms are not upright like other irises but drape over and wherever they touch the ground a new iris plant will grow. My walking irises are now in bloom and fabulous.
The fleur-de-lis symbol which is the adopted symbol of New Orleans is based on the shape of iris plant. According to the history of the fleur-de-lis from the French "fleur," meaning flower, and "lis," meaning lily; the iris plant was the inspiration.
This article appears in the April 18, 2015 issue of Data News Weekly.
Remember, never get too busy to stop and enjoy the beautiful flowers!