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Iris … Like I’ve Never Seen Them Before

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Shreiner’s Iris Gardens

Tall Bearded IrisTrue confessions time: I’ve never been a big fan of irises. However, my view changed considerably when I visited Shreiner’s Iris Gardens last week. The display was spectacular: bed after neat bed of statuesque irises, a riot of color that was matched only by the brightly painted, comfortable Adirondack-style furniture that rimmed the garden’s perimeter.

I was captivated by the tall bearded iris that were most certainly the stars of each individual bed, but what was equally impressive was the great design scheme of companion plantings. Columbine, lupine, peonies and poppies amiably shared the beds, their vivid colors both complementing and contrasting with those of the iris.

These garden standouts have been valued for thousands of years. They were named for the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. The fleur-de-lis, a symbol of the French monarchy beginning with Louis VII, is a stylized iris. Painters throughout history have tried to capture the beauty of the iris on canvas. Some iris rhizomes are processed as orris root, used in the manufacture of perfume and liquor.

Today, irises are most valued for their beauty in the landscape. Countless varieties have been hybridized for specific color, form and height, so there’s an iris for just about any garden application. Irises flowers will thrive in any space with ample sun, adequate moisture, and loose soil. They are extremely easy to grow, hardy and vigorous. Those are all of my criteria for the perfect plant!

Shreiner’s Iris Gardens is located just north of Salem, Oregon. May is the perfect time to visit, for both the best blooms and the best weather. If you can’t get there, see the stunning iris varieties featured in the Breck’s catalog, or online at!

About Annette Coppess

Annette Coppess has written 2 post in this blog.

June 3, 2014
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