Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oregon Iris: Native Spring Herald

It seems that spring has finally arrived in Portland.  One sure sign of this fact, in my native landscaping, is the blooming of my Oregon Iris (Iris tenax), also known as Oregon Flag.  One of my favorite plants in the yard - definitely an eye-catcher.

 I purchased my plants as tiny bare root starts, from the native plant sale held annually by the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD).  These particular plants have only been in the ground a little over a year now.  Some of them (probably not the ones pictured) could already be divided.

These plants are in full sun.  I've provided water during the hottest summer months, but after my landscape is well-established, I hope to wean the whole landscape down to very little water use.

Other than that, these plants require very little care.  I remove the spent flower heads after they wilt, in the hopes of generating more flowers, and it seems to work.  In the winter I remove any dead flower stalks and leaves.

I would highly recommend Oregon Iris to anyone looking for a little, native color spot in their northwest garden.
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