Flower garden and landscape

Irises in the garden - classification and use in design


Garden irises. Watercolor favorites, reviving paintings by the impressionists in the garden, amazing in form and nature of the plant, which is impossible not to fall in love with flowering ... With all the variety, irises are easily recognizable. Fans of these unique flowering perennials collect hundreds and thousands of varieties. From miniature and touching bulbous irises to favorites among designers of bearded and unpretentious Spartans irises, Siberian irises - all of them, the killer whales, as they are sometimes called, are special. In the garden they will find a place in the mixborder and on the flower bed, in the curb and on the lawn, and even on an alpine hill.

Irises in the garden - classification and use in design


Description of garden irises

Representatives of the Irises family are not by chance considered one of the most diverse garden perennials. These are unique plants with trembling, delicate, special in structure and texture flowers, which, despite the different forms of growth, characters, sizes and timing of flowering, still remain strikingly similar to each other.

Irises, of course, are one of the most ancient flowering crops. The history of their cultivation and selection is estimated at two millennia, while the irises have never survived the period of their oblivion. These are plants that are not losing popularity, valuable not only for landscape design, but it is in it that they reveal all their diversity and talents.

The name Iris sounds the same anywhere in the world. These beloved plants got their name back in the days of Hippocrates, who, according to legend, compared the various shades of the color palette of plants with a rainbow (from the ancient Greek "iris" - "rainbow"), although you can associate the name of irises with the goddess Iris, who informs the will of the Olympians (which is the messenger of the gods).

The myths about the foundation of Florence and many traditions of the ancient world from Egypt to Japan are also associated with irises. We like to call irises kasatiki, but still the botanical name of the plant is much more popular.

Irises are not at all uniform in their characteristics. Most irises (and their most famous varieties) are rhizome herbaceous perennials. They stand out already by the nature of their growth. Vegetative shoots in the form of rhizomes, consisting of annual links with bunches of leaves and additional roots, are located on the surface or immersed in the soil. They are combined with generative shoots - annual peduncles.

Special rhizomes, each year increasing individual links, determine both the characteristics of care and the specifics of planting. Flower buds are laid in the plant in summer, their quality depends on the number of leaves in the link.

Leaves of irises are one of the most recognizable on flower beds. It’s hard not to recognize green opaque “swords” in fan-shaped bundles. Flat, double-row, arranged at the base of the peduncles in a fan, linear, xiphoid and hard, with a unique wax coating and a light color, the leaves of irises look spectacularly, strictly, brightly, stand out in any company, bring graphics and structure into ensembles. Stem leaves in irises are very rare, and even in species in which medium-sized leaves develop on peduncles, they are strikingly few.

Irises look perfect in a mixborder and in a border, on a lawn and even on an alpine hill.

Flowering irises

Despite the beauty of foliage, irises are valued primarily for flowering. And it’s really amazing for them. Single flowers or small-flowered inflorescences, in which the flowers bloom in turn, look inimitable. Strong, thick, tough, stable shoots are crowned with simple large flowers with a structure that is difficult not to recognize.

The perianth is divided into six lobes - the three upper ones, which are called standards in irises and the three lower falls, forming a unique flower of irises and differing from each other. Perianth lobes are fused into a tube, more or less pronounced in different species. The upper petals that turn away upward are smaller in size, sometimes reduced, the lower ones are larger, horizontal or bent downward, wide, tremulous, most often they are decorated with unique details in the form of a fringe, border or beard, spots, patterns.

Most of all, irises are famous for beards, which are not typical for all species, but they have become the hallmark of the plant - these are strips of soft, thick spikelets located along the central vein. It is on this basis that irises are divided into bearded and beardless.

Assess the structural features of the pestle only after the flower withers. It is divided into three lobes, crowned with crest-shaped outgrowths, which protect the stigma from getting wet and in some species look very impressive. But the three-nested boxes, ripening on the peduncles, do not look very decorative, they are rarely stored in private gardens to receive seeds.

For irises, a striking fragility of flowers is characteristic: in some species, they unfold literally for one day. The unique tenderness of the texture of the petals is combined with an amazing ability to unfold the perianth lobes almost by magic and with the same almost elusive wilting with a change of texture to translucent. Iris flowers last a maximum of five days. Due to the fact that the plant opens flowers one by one, from top to bottom, the entire flowering period is stretched.

The flowering period of irises lasts the entire first half of the garden season. From May to early July, and for new late varieties - until mid-summer, different species and varieties delight with a unique watercolor parade.

Bulbous irises, unlike their rhizome counterparts, form a small bulb with mesh-fibrous outer scales, filamentous dying roots and surface faceted leaves. Single-flowered peduncles are quite strong, crowned with an elegant, typical for irises flower with a diameter of up to 7 cm.

The six-parting corolla-perianth consists of internal lanceolate, upward-directed lobes and oval or ovoid three external lobes - with a short fingernail and a lanceolate blade-scapula with a comb-like protrusion. Dissected columns and lanceolate anthers do not distract from the beauty of the colors of the flowers.

The color scheme of irises is difficult to describe. All the subtlest nuances of colors from snow white to pale blue and cream, shades of blue, lilac, lilac, purple, purple, dark red, ink, cherry, beige, brown and even yellow and orange colors - you can find unforgettable varieties of irises colorings.

Pure plain colors among irises are a rarity. Spots, washouts, strokes, stripes, contrasting beards or details, borders, rims, specks in two-, three- and even multi-color combinations, from contrasting and bright combinations to subtle and almost elusive shades - plants are inimitable in the game of watercolor halftones. And the texture of quivering and tender petals of irises, as if shining with mother-of-pearl, silk-satin, velvety, only emphasizes all the nuances.

A group of bearded irises is difficult to confuse with any other.

Simple difficulties of classification of irises

Irises offer a choice between plants with such different characteristics that sometimes it is very difficult to understand their classification. Bearded irises, the visiting card of the whole family and the main favorites of all gardeners, are familiar to everyone. But besides these favorites among the irises there are many plants that you may not notice in the shadow of the main stars.

In the botanical classification of irises, more than 200 plant species are distinguished. The number of varieties and hybrids of bearded irises is measured in tens of thousands. As with most stellar flowering perennials, the approval of AIS, the American Iris Society, which maintains a register of varieties and is the most significant authority among fans of this plant, is considered decisive in the classification of irises. It was this organization that developed the main garden classification of rhizome irises.

The main division of all irises, as well as the main debate about their classification, occurs according to the type of rhizome and the form of plant growth. In world gardening, bulbous and rhizome irises are considered as two groups of varieties of the same plant, related and with equal right called irises.

In domestic landscape design, plants were previously divided into different genera and still have not come to a consensus. Since the majority of onion irises on the market are Western breeding, and the variety palette is expanding mainly in the West, these not quite irises appear in catalogs under the name Iris, and in the registers old generic names are now considered only as one of the synonyms of representatives of the Iris genus.

So, all were re-qualified to irises xyfiums (Xiphion), iridodictiums (Iridodictyum) and almost everything juno (Juno), and, accordingly, all hybrid plants obtained from them by the best world centers.

Garden classification of rhizome irises is quite complex and in practice it is almost never used. Two different versions of the general classification distinguish 15 classes of irises. It is not difficult to recognize plants, the principles of their separation are obvious, but a huge number of additional symbols, abbreviations, international standards and marks makes deciphering the characteristics of varieties a very difficult task.

A large classification of irises, as well as those terms in which fans of these plants need to be oriented, deserves a closer and separate consideration.

A simplified classification according to the main criteria allows even novice gardeners to navigate in a variety of irises. Popular plants in landscape design represent only two groups:

  1. Bearded irises are the famous luxuriously flowering group of varieties with beards on the lower petals, among which eight classes of irises are separately distinguished - retro, dwarf, medium-tall, high, etc.
  2. Beardless irises are varieties that lack a fluffy strip of hairs and are much more unpretentious. Within this group, separately consider:
  • Siberian irises - varieties and hybrids obtained from Siberian and blood-red iris;
  • Japanese irises obtained on the basis of the xiphoid iris and varying in size and shape of the flower;
  • spuria irises - amazing varieties of irises with an orange-red color scheme;
  • there are six groups of irises that are almost never found in the gardens, which can be admired in the collections of loyal fans (Evans irises, remontans, Pacific, aryl-irises and aryl-breds, Louisiana).

The botanical classification of irises is not used today even for registration of varieties, because it is so vast and diverse that only experienced specialists can navigate it. According to it, irises are divided into subgenera, sections and subsections (such as the subgenus Iris, Limniris, Xiridion, Krossiris, Tenuifolia, Eremiris, Regelia sections, etc.), using the presence of a beard and its features, origin and drought tolerance, winter hardiness, and much less obvious characteristics.

Siberian irises. Japanese irises. Spuria irises.

Irises in garden design

Irises are classic herbaceous perennials from the group of flowering plants. They can not boast of an unusual duration or abundance of flowering. In most species, the flowers stay at all, at best, for several days, but this does not prevent the irises from remaining absolutely irreplaceable. In the ranks of beautiful blossoming favorites, they are proudly credited along with roses, tulips and peonies. This plant, without which it is impossible to imagine almost any garden.

In fact, all irises are seasonal plants. They retain the beauty of the leaves for most of the garden season, but flowering remains the highlight of only a few weeks, an unforgettable touch and the long-awaited peak of a magnificent garden show.

The seasonality of irises has traditionally tied them to spring and its riot of colors. Delicate, watercolor, bright, touching, original, irises allow you to place special accents in compositions or create special palettes from early spring to the beginning of summer heat.

From the first irises, which are only slightly inferior to primroses, to the main parade of handsome bearded men and much more modest, but no less beautiful beardless species - in the first half of the season, it is difficult to remain indifferent to the appearance of blooming irises.

Despite the fact that flowers attract all the attention of irises, the effect of foliage on compositions - a potential tool for playing with visual effects - cannot be ignored. The xiphoid leaves of all irises look strict, neat and with their lines give order to any chaos.

The foliage of irises shows an amazing ability to contrast even with the xiphoid leaves of other plants. For all neighbors from the category of grassy crops and ornamental shrubs, she is one of the most beautiful contrasting partners. The leaves of the iris adorn the ensembles not only during the flowering period, their character, graphic, rigor can be used to create any decorative ensembles.

Irises are called watercolor or pictorial plants for a reason. They inspired Monet and Van Gogh, are considered an exemplary example of a watercolor palette of colors - not just multi-colored, but “blurry” transitions of gentle halftones, unique shades and almost magical effects, which only emphasize the special texture of the petals.

Watercolors of irises as if created for a natural style - natural compositions and pastoral landscapes. But irises are plants not only for a landscape garden or projects with elements of imitation of nature. They are indispensable for romance and nostalgic styles, thanks to the xiphoid foliage used in graphic contemporary projects, strict regular design. They can become a classic touch, a solemn element or a delicate spot - it all depends on how they are planted and how they approach the selection of partners.

The beauty of irises in all their unique diversity is helped to reveal iridaria - a special type of mono-flower garden, designed to stretch the flowering time as much as possible, to create a harmonious collection of varieties and species with a thoughtful or variegated color scheme.

Iridariums, like rosaries, require special care and are more often found in large-area gardens. This is an entertainment for fans of irises, those who can allocate both a place and time for their beloved perennials. Today, mini-iridariums and container iridariums are particularly popular - compiled according to more narrow criteria, compositions that are easier to care for.

Irises are plants whose beauty is enhanced in groups. The more irises planted in one place, the better. This rule applies to tapeworms and complex compositions. It is believed that the most spectacular spots of irises occur with a combination of at least 15 plants. But if we are talking about flower beds and discounts, then irises are used in groups of at least 5 bushes.

It is believed that the most spectacular spots of irises occur with a combination of at least 15 plants.

The use of irises in the design of the garden in height

Plant height is the main factor determining the scope of use of irises in garden design.Low and dwarf irises play slightly different roles than mid-tall and tall varieties.

Low irises (both bulbous and rhizome) - stars are not so much the foreground of compositions as ensembles with a focus on decorative dumping of soil, front or ground flower beds, rockeries and alpine slides. They can also emphasize where low spring spots are needed, but most of all beauty is shown surrounded by stone chips, decorative mulch and boulders. Dwarf irises shine in the spring surrounded by groundcover and seem to be touching treasures against the typical vegetation of rock gardens.

Ordinary medium and tall irises are used in the design:

  • classic rabatok;
  • mixborders;
  • blooming spots or seasonal islets;
  • flower beds of any type and size;
  • massifs and landscape groups;
  • mono-groups, a series of mini-rings or spots on the lawn (one variety or several plants of different varieties);
  • as a tapeworm, single accent (large varieties are good against the background not only of lawns or “flat” areas, but also near shrubs, hedges, in boring places, suitable for emphasizing sculptures, etc.);
  • rockeries and rock gardens in the company of large boulders.

Irises are one of the best plants for planting trees and shrubs, especially those that are afraid of gardening in near-trunk circles. The short rhizome, which does not compete for resources with the main large plants, allows irises to create a charming fringe under their favorite apples or cherries.

Among the irises, there are plants that adore wetlands and are suitable for designing not only various water bodies, but also wet beds or natural filters. Irises are yellow and smooth - the constant stars of the coastlines of ponds and streams, a charming addition for mobile ponds and a plant that can bring the tenderness of irises to even the most atypical places for this culture.

Many irises are suitable for designing not only various water bodies, but also wet beds or natural filters.

Selection of partners for irises

Irises with their picturesque pastorality and rigor at the same time are plants that can easily stand out against any background. Significant restrictions on the selection of partners are imposed by the features of the required growing conditions, and the perfect unique beauty of irises is far from every neighboring plant in a favorable light, which should be taken into account.

In the selection of companions for irises in the garden, observe several important rules:

  1. Always take into account the low competitiveness of bearded irises, the risk of suppression by powerful plants with deep-lying and voluminous roots, the need to leave enough space for the free development of irises and to control composition changes over time.
  2. Choosing color combinations, they avoid the combination of fawn, pale irises with any bright partners - both other irises and other perennials.
  3. The contrasts in the compositions of irises are built on a game of light and dark shades, and not on a combination of pale and saturated colors.
  4. Dark-flowered irises are combined only with plants with light, variegated or originally colored foliage.
  5. At least one plant with a non-standard leaf color is always introduced in the compositions - blue, blue, silver, golden, bronze, purple, etc., adding nobleness to the texture of greenery in the same way that iris flowers and their leaves enrich the composition as a whole.

When choosing companions for irises in the garden, first of all, you need to consider classic combinations - with those plants that have the same status as a flowering classic or no less than watercolor perennials. Poppies, peonies, roses, lupins are the obvious choice for most rhizome irises.

Usually, at least one classical partner is introduced into any ensemble with irises, and then they are played with textures, contrasts and effects, creating the desired character, catchiness and style of the composition.

Irises are often combined with daylilies, asters, and delphinium. Bergenia, variegated hosts, Byzantine cleanser, milkweed, oregano can also be excellent partners for irises.

Of the shrubs, an excellent background for irises will be not only roses, but also lilacs, spirea, barberries, euonymos, cinquefoil. Of the groundcover and pillow-shaped perennials, the best partners for irises are saxifrage, periwinkle, European hoofed and phlox bristly. Irises can be supplemented with bulbs with an earlier or later flowering period to create more stable compositions, including combining with lilies, daffodils and tulips.

For irises near water bodies, in shading or in humid areas, astilbe, primrose, calendula, bathhouse, forget-me-nots, hosts, ferns, aquilegia are considered classical partners.