Iris count has begun

When we moved here in late May 07, I really didn’t have time to keep track of what was blooming. However, I did notice we had several different bearded irises. Evidently one of the previous owners was an iris lover who has blessed us with some beauties and also started me on the road to iris counting and collecting.

Yesterday the very first iris bloomed. Yipee!!

Miniature Dwarf Bearded Iris - First iris of the season

She is a beauty! She’s 8 inches tall. She’s so special being the first to bloom here at Happy Acres.

Since the previous owners had not liked yard work, most of the landscaping, fruit trees, blueberries, and flower beds had not been taken care of for several years.  In the main iris bed so many of the irises didn’t bloom because they were packed in so tight from years of being neglected. I was sure there were more than a few dozen varieties on our property. So in 2008 I started digging up the main iris bed. After cleaning up just a third of the bed, I replanted that area with 12 of the irises I had removed.  The remaining irises, numbering around 100, were potted for the May 09 plant sale, given away, or planted in my iris holding area.

May 09 iris holding area

My whole idea of the holding area was to give the irises room to grow and once they all bloomed I’d be able to identify them and move them to other areas of Happy Acres or pot them for the annual plant sale.

Last May it was so much fun to see my holding area come alive with a variety of different irises. However, since only about half of them bloomed and due to working on other projects including coordinating the biennial master gardeners garden walk, I didn’t get around to labeling all of the bloomers.

In Spring 09, I worked on the second third of the iris bed and added more irises to the holding area. The last third I still need to work on. However, it looks like that area is just full of these sweet early ones!

For the past two years  I’ve taken one picture of each variety, numbered it, and recorded it in my iris journal. Last year my count totaled 27. However, there were some irises I had purchased or were given to me that didn’t bloom.  My goal this year is to identify every one of the irises that blooms.

So yesterday marked the official start of my iris count. I can’t wait to see who shows their beards this year!