Season 2 • Episode 10 - May 19, 2023
May is a busy month for local
blooming plants. The leading plant for most of May is
the iris and we are lucky to have the leading iris
grower in the country at
Schreiner's Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367).
Schreiner's not only grows iris, they also host the
public at their huge display gardens every spring, and
this year they are really putting on a show! The warmer
weather that finally arrived has the blooms going crazy
and that has meant a full garden. It's a busy time for
the Schreiner family, but irises are in their blood. In
fact they have been growing iris as a family for nearly
100 years, growing award winning irises. We met with Ben
Schreiner in the display gardens to learn more about the
irises and some of the other plants they propagate. We
talked about the bearded iris and the various types of
iris. The bearded iris have a 'beard' on each of the
falls (lower petals) of the blossoms. They also have a
huge array of colors to choose from. The non-bearded
iris, like the Siberian iris, don't have beards. They
have smaller blooms and a more elegant foliage.
Everyone knows about the tall bearded iris. They are the
stars of the late spring garden. You may know that
Schreiner's is famous for the tall bearded iris that
they grow, but they also have a selection of dwarf iris
available through their catalog. The dwarf iris are one
of the first irises to bloom in the garden. These are
followed by intermediate and then by the tall bearded
iris that we all know and love. The taller varieties are
just starting to bloom as the little ones are finishing
up. If you have all three types, you could have blooms
for up to two months or more! They all need the same
type of growing conditions to thrive in our area. Well
drained soil, no over-watering and not planted too deep.
If you follow these simple rules they can be one of the
most trouble-free plants in the garden. If you currently
have iris in your garden the things you should be doing
are baiting for slugs and watching for leaf spot, which
is the browning of parts of your leaves. Problems can be
avoided if you use the right baits and sprays (organic
and/or synthetic) at the right time. You don’t need to
fertilize now, but you can once the blooming phase of
your plants has passed.
The number one tip for iris was about watering. Bearded
iris are the perfect plant for areas with water
restrictions. Iris are drought tolerant! Once they are
established they can survive on very little water. You
should also look out for slugs. Bait for them regularly.
Fertilizing your plants should be done before they bloom
and you should use a light fertilizer.
Iris are also VERY fragrant! The scent in the display
gardens is intoxicating. People forget that most iris
have a wonderful smell. Each bloom will remind you of
candy, sugar, bubble gum or some other great smell.
Schreiner’s even has a fragrant collection that you can
order for your own garden. The flowers in the garden are
also wonderful because they are all labeled and are easy
to see even if you have limited mobility. Iris also make
great cut flowers and Ben told us how you can make them
last longer in your house. He also walked us through
some growing tips. In fact, irises are one of the
easiest flowers to grow in your garden. They like full
sun, have little or no disease and, other than slugs,
they have no pest problems. If you want to see the
fields or the display garden you have plenty of time to
do so. They will be looking good until the middle of
June. Stop by and check out all the colors!
A couple of years ago the gardens were closed due to the
COVID-19 crisis, but this year they are open once again.
However, this year you will be required to have a timed
ticket to enter the garden. Once inside there will be
lots of blooms and the gift shop will be open, with
additional events scheduled for the weekends. To book
your time for this annual tradition check out their
website. While you are at the garden you can pick up a
catalogue to see all of the great iris that they
hybridize and grow. They will also have cut flowers for
These next two weekends are always big ones at the
display gardens. This coming weekend is the Memorial Day
weekend which has special events scheduled every day.
Stop by this weekend and you can see artists displaying
in the garden. There are lots of activities happening so
you can check their website for details! This isn't the
end of the blooms though. The cold weather of the late
spring means that things may last longer than you
expect. Of course we recommend that you check out their
website and social media sites for updated information.
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