a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Let’s here it for Iris

Over the years I have come to appreciate irises more and more.

I have them planted along the wall of an outbuilding.

I have planted them on the outside of our garden wall.  This is not an original idea.  I adopted it because our area I saw so many irises planted along the outside walls of houses blazing into colour at this time of year.  It seemed such a lovely way to brighten the roads and share your flowers with any passer-by.

Shortly they will be scorched by the sun and stay in the dry earth throughout the summer and re-appear triumphant next May.

There cannot be many plants that will thrive on such rough treatment and yet look so beautiful and elegant.  All my iris are bearded iris that have been acquired as bits broken off from the roots of friend’s plants or bargains in end of season sales.  However, there are many varieties to suit almost any site from shade to full sun, from dry sites to places that are boggy all year round.  My iris are all tall and can get blown over in the wind but my garden is very sheltered so that is not a problem.  You can find shorter varieties for windy sites.

The range of colours available is enormous and there are so many different hybrids that you can choose which is best for your requirements.

I have been told Bearded iris like sunshine on their rhizomes but I have planted them in shady places under trees and the spring sunshine through the light canopy seems to be sufficient to allow them to flourish and flower.

Iris grow wild in France and  these wild iris grow in water and around the water close to our house.

The wild iris is no quite as “flashy” as some of the hybrid iris but is still beautiful.  It is certainly a tough survivor and wins my respect.

This iris completely amazed me.  It is flowering on steps leading to the beach at St. Palais-sur-Mer in the Charente-Maritime close to where I live.  It has made its home in a crack between the wall and the steps and has braved winter temperatures this year which stayed below freezing for two weeks.  It has braved the harsh salt winds and survived several long periods with no rain since last May.

There are not many plants that could take that sort of treatment and look so good after it!

A good choice for the gardener who doesn’t like fussy plants?