Six weeks of irises

One iris or another has been flowering since early in May, first Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus) and Blue flag (Iris versicolor), then a succession of Japanese irises with the last blooms of the splendid ‘Lion King’ (Iris ensata ‘Lion King’, below) fading in this third week of June. 

A sturdy Japanese iris seedling appeared earlier in spring in a dense clump of rushes at the edge of the koi pond. In recent days there have been two flowers (below), one opening as the other faded. The flowers are not fancy in coloration compared to ‘Lion King’, but I’m happy it’s here and hope that it survives the competition of the rushes.

Certainly, it is near impossibility to extricate the iris from the tangle of rushes. The mass is planted into small river gravel placed between small boulders in several inches of water at the pond’s edge, and beyond the precarious positioning at the edge of the pond there is the family of Northern Brown water snakes to consider. And, if the probability of capsizing into the pond and being attacked by snakes is overlooked, the tangle of roots is likely to be too thick to successfully tease apart to extract the iris. It must fend for itself.

The Yellow flags have become too vigorous in parts of the pond, partially displacing several clumps of more desirable Japanese irises. In another year the less robust Japanese iris might not survive, and the same complications apply in separating one iris from the other. I will try to cut foliage off the Yellow flags, but many of the thick clumps are cover for our expanding family of snakes, so I make no promises.  

In the gravel filled filtration area of the pond, another favored snake habitat, vigorous Yellow flag irises are losing in competition with even more vigorous Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata, above). But, Pickerel weed does not wander to the far reaches of the pond, so I’m not concerned at all that some or all of the Yellow flags will be lost in the process.

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2 thoughts on “Six weeks of irises

  1. You may have already answered this question but I’m curious: Did you put in the pond or was it already there? I’m interested in adding a small water feature and would love suggestions as to whom to talk to about putting one in. Thanx!

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