of various colors and heights look lovely in any garden.
According to Roman mythology, Juno, queen of the gods, sent
her messenger Iris to earth to bring good news to humanity.
Upon her arrival, she went to work spreading glad tidings.
It is said that from each of the rainbow goddess's earthly
footprints sprang the extraordinarily beautiful flowers we
Irises belong to the family Iridaceae. They have a
single cotyledon (seed leaf), long, strappy leaves with parallel
veins and flower parts in sets of three. Some grow from rhizomes
(fleshy underground stems), others from bulbs. Their flowers
each have six tepals - the three that droop are called falls
and the three upright ones are called standards. The standards
surround three more petal-like structures that form the plant's
Some irises prefer to be planted or uprooted in late summer,
others in spring. Either way, they need to be lifted every
three to four years to renew performance and productivity.
After lifting, cut away rotten or damaged parts, clean and
dry the healthy parts and cut back the leaf blades to 15cm
to 22cm. Excavate the site to a depth of 15cm and remove all
old plant residues. Provided there is no evidence of borers,
the old soil can be mixed with new soil, compost, bone meal
and a small amount of commercial fertilizer (5-10-10). Leave
the mixture to settle for a few days before replanting. Position
the irises in groups with fans pointing in the same direction
and rootlets spread neatly around the rhizomes. Pat down the
ground around them.