Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Iris Farm Wonderland (This is a small rewrite of the entry I wrote two years ago; the garden will be in full bloom around May 1)




A Wonderland of Iris

My irises are coming up better each year. 

Several years ago when I first returned to Winston-Salem, I drove by Meadowlark Road  and noticed a field with many small signs. Thinking that it might be a day lily farm, I was even more curious when I began to see the plants growing. It occurred to me that this might be a nursery of some sort, but there were no signs or other indication of what it might be. On May 12, my friend Patsy called to say that she was going to the Iris Farm so let's meet there. Since I wasn't able to go on that day, I really forgot about it. I had no idea that this was the same field I had been observing for some time. That afternoon I decided to call Patsy about something else and she was IN the iris field selecting iris for her new garden. Her excitement indicated to me that now I HAD to go to the Iris Farm and SOON before the iris had stopped blooming. Although they had already reached their "peak", there were still still plenty to enjoy.

It turns out that the iris in the field below was created  by the 86 year old  mother of Faye Short  (she's the one in the photo below). Visitors were welcome anytime. I couldn't believe what I saw. Purchases are possible from the 2000 varieties available; yet, it seems that the main purpose of this garden was the sheer joy it brings to the community. Mrs. Short's sister  described it as their  mother's obsession gone wild.

TIPS on iris cultivation from these experts:

Iris need full sun, don't care much about the soil type (and grow well in our dense clay soil in western NC). When planting these iris (as soon as possible), plant them with the rhizomes near the top of the soil (in another words plant them high), cut off the folIage to about 5". This will encourage root development and a clumping effect, if done every fall.

I came home with twelve new iris, all different colors. I went with the idea of getting maybe 12 of the same color; forget it! Hopefully, I'll get some bloom next year, but it maybe be a little later. Meanwhile, I have these wonderful photos to encourage my anticipation of the future bloom in early May.

IT'S APRIL 2009 NOW AND MY IRIS ARE COMING UP ALL OVER MY YARD; ONE HAS A BLOOM JUST GETTING READY TO OPEN. PHOTOS TO COME AS SOON AS THEY BLOOM.

IF YOU ARE ANYWHERE NEAR WINSTSON-SALEM, NC GO TAKE A LOOK AT THE FARM. YOU WILL BE AMAZED.

Oh, if you want to see this Iris Farm, it's approximately 920 Meadowlark Rd. in Winston-Salem, NC. Go in early May to see the peak of bloom.

David Bare, the garden columnist for the Winston -Salem Journal wrote and extensive article about the iris farm in the Friday, May 6 paper (see Journalnow.com).

3 comments:

jimpfeff said...

Ellen, your blog is really wonderful. I'm going to email you a picture or two of my sister Dianne's Giant Hostas. She lives there in W-S on Carolina Avenue, and her hostas thrive there. Your garden looks delightful. We're just getting ours going here in Columbia, SC. I look forward to seeing and reading more in your neat blog. Jim Pfefferkorn

Patsy said...

ek, after i read your iris update, i ran outside to check mine. i have 2 buds on one variety and one on another. i wasn't sure we would get blooms this yearso am excited. the ink disappeared on my sharpie on white plastic markers so will have to re-identify from my sales receipt. i need to find that receipt anyway because i wrote sold out varieties that i wanted to buy this year. thanks for the update.

Lori at Jarvis House said...

Living on the North Shore of Long Island, where there is an over abundance of ground covers, I had to give my sister , living on the South Shore all of my Iris. She did really well with them because her house is sitting on a lot of sand! The only Iris that do well are the Yellow Flags, and the Japanese Iris. The flat Japanese Iris do well too. When they bloom I will post them on my blog.