By Leslie Finical Halleck
Gardening in Texas is all about selecting plants suited to your local climate and soil conditions. What’s not to love about a plant that will take just about any form of gardening abuse we can throw at it and still produce stunning blooms?
Bearded irises, Iris germanica, are one of the easiest and loveliest perennials you can grow in Texas. There are other Texas-tough species as well, such as Louisiana and Spuria Iris.
If you’re a “plant collector” like I am, then it’s easy to be tempted by the dizzying array of colors and forms of bearded iris. There’s one to suit just about any taste out there. Sometimes it can be hard to make space in the garden for all the new acquisitions, but that rarely stops me from trying new varieties.
There are many online venues and local garden centers from which you can acquire both loose and potted irises. Chances are you typically buy Iris rhizomes when they are dormant and plant when they are out of bloom. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a look at your new beauties in bloom at the same time you buy? If so, a trip to a Texas iris farm may be in your near future.
Angel Iris Farm in Sherman should be on your travel agenda for April. They currently have 700 iris varieties, including 135 that are historic. The owner, Janice Thompson, says they are open to the public during the month of April, from 10 a.m. to 6 pm. Friday through Sunday. But, she says if you give her a heads up, she’ll probably welcome you for a visit most any other day of the week. That’s Texas hospitality for you!
Dell Perry of Seandel Iris Gardens warns that irises are blooming early this year, but you’re welcome to visit her Plano iris garden any time during bloom season; usually late March through the first week of May. I’d say go on the early end to make sure you catch as many blooms as possible. Call Dell at 972.816.3418 in advance to schedule your visit.
Good to know: Both the American Iris Society and Society for Louisiana Iris are hosting conventions in North Texas this spring. If you’d like to join some of the many iris tours going on in April, visit www.irises-dallas.org for more information and registration.