Two garden must-haves.

An article by our feature writer Christine Walkden

 Two collections of plants on offer this autumn that should be included in every garden are the easy-to-grow and reliable Day Lilies and the magnificent Bearded Irises.

 

Both of these plants grow in a wide range of situations and soil types providing they are in full sun and well drained.  They will also tolerate long periods of dry weather without deterioration.

The Day Lily is so called because the individual flowers only last a day but don’t be fooled into thinking they are sparse flowering, as with numerous flowering stems being produced on a daily basis, the plants look like they are in full bloom for many weeks. The flowers may also be eaten and look and taste great in salads.

When used in the border their strap-like foliage contrasts really well with grasses and plants such as Phormiums, Cordylines and other plants with architectural foliage, and their flower colour contrasts with plants such as Heucheras. Add plenty of organic matter into the soil to keep both the Day Lilies and the Heucheras happy.

Have a look at the beautiful varieties of Heuchera, such as Plum Pudding or  Chocolate Ruffles, and plant them next to Hemerocallis Bonanza so that the golden yellow and burgundy flowers of the Hemerocallis complement the purple foliage of the Heuchera. The variety Bonanza grows to 60 cms and will spread up to 60 cms so do allow it room.

Hemerocallis Lusty Leland produces flowers up to 13cm across in a rich red with a golden centre, growing to a similar stature as Bonanza. Frans Hals is a variety that will attract butterflies into the garden so position it where it can easily be seen.  Its golden yellow and red flowers can get up 13cms across on plants which can grow up to 70 cm tall.

All of the Day Lilies have foliage which in the main remains green over the winter, so do not cut them back as you would your other herbaceous perennials.

All of the varieties of Iris in the collection are  hybrids of Iris germanica, and are called the Bearded Iris.  They are easy to grow but will not tolerate bed partners so they are best planted on their own where other plants will not compete for space or cover their surface roots with foliage. Coming from the Steppes of Asia they need as much sun as possible.

The soil should be well drained and on heavier soils the incorporation of sharp grit will be needed to ensure good drainage. The rhizomes should be planted to face the sun and they should be only half buried with soil.  Do not cover the roots fully with soil as this will reduce growth and may result in rotting. The ideal soil pH will be either neutral or slightly alkaline making these irises an ideal choice for chalk or limestone-based soils. Ensure you keep them well watered for the first three to four weeks so that new roots grow into the soil and establish well in their new positions.

The collection offers varieties which will flower from May through to July.  Varieties such as Red Zinger and Rajah Brooke are scented so have them in a position where you can appreciate them and not stuck away at the back of a border.

These Iris are ideal cut flowers but please remember the obvious, that if you are growing the plants in the border and then you cut them for use in a vase, the border can then look very thin

 

 

 

 

I always feel that if you are growing Iris for cutting then grow them in the kitchen garden or out of the main display area in your garden so that the main display is not depleted once the flowers have been cut.


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