Nature Friday ~ June 3, 2022

Ranch HandsWelcome to this week’s edition Nature Friday  where we join the blog hop hosted by our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Norman: Since I kind of took the last word from last week’s post, I’m giving free and full reign to the Ninja because I’m a proper gentleman. Elsa: More like I threatened you, you gigantic heap of fur. I don’t consider this much of a gift-it’s more like acquiescence in the face of harm. I still think you owe me but mom said I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. So with that, let’s take a look at a springtime lovely, otherwise known as the Bearded Iris.

Beardies, as mom likes to affectionately call them, are hardworking and easy to grow. They like full sun and tend to prefer well-drained soil to keep the rhizomes from rotting. Since our soil is more claylike, we tend to water them less and they’ve done fine.

Twenty years ago before either me or the Oaf moved in to the Ranch, mom found an iris farm in the heart of the city shortly after moving in. “Iris Bob” has been in the business for years, and grows more than 400 varieties of tall Bearded Irises. Sadly, they’ve been closed to visits since the panDAMNic. We’re hoping next year they’ll reopen. It’s a real treat to wander through the rows of gorgeous flowers. For a bird’s eye view of the farm, check out this short YouTube video.

Isn’t that something?! I’m gonna see if we can get a drone so I can spy on squirrels better-it could give me an edge on those doggone tree rats! Norman: Umm, let’s stay on point, shall we? Elsa: Growl. While mom’s garden is nowhere near the extent or scale as Iris Bob’s, it became the foundation for her garden. Happy now? Norman: Indubitably.


The house mom owned before had one nearly black iris and she dug it up and brought it with her. It was the start of her obsession of bearded irises. While her garden has mostly blue or deep purple, she as a large border of the traditional purple but they have variegated foliage. Their flowers aren’t particularly exceptional, but the striped leaves provide interest all year long.

View from the ground at the Iris Farm

Did you know the irises take their name from the Greek word for a rainbow (also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris)? Some suggest the name refers to the wide variety of colors found among the many species. The “beard” refers to those short hairs that look like a furry caterpillar, and are found toward the back of the lower petals. Its purpose is to a path for pollinating insects toward the reproductive parts of the plant. Bearded irises now tend to have larger blooms than they did a hundred years ago.

While growing beardies is fairly easy, according to Iris Bob (and taken directly from his website), here are some rules that can ensure good results so you too, can enjoy these springtime beauties.

Rules of Thumb for Tall Bearded Iris:

  • Minimum of 6 hours of sunshine per day.
  • Good drainage
  • Plant 7-12 inches apart.
  • Divide every 3 to 4 years
  • Fertilize late summer with a LOW nitrogen fertilizer, 14-14-14 (or something similar)
  • Fertilize in the spring with a high phosphorous fertilizer, 0-48-0 (triple super phosphate for root development)
  • Don’t overwater.
  • Don’t plant too deep [this is one of the biggest mistakes people can make]
  • Remove dead brown foliage and bloom-stalks when last flower folds.

So let’s see a few of the pretty ones from around our garden. Mom has always loved the super dark irises. They are unusual and she likes that kind of stuff. It’s probably why she adopted Norman. They don’t get anymore ‘unusual’ than him. Norman: I beg your pardon…I would never say unkind things about my sister. Elsa: Umm, Fathead…I thought you were going to butt out of MY post. Norman: Umm, sorry…go on. {Sigh}

As I was saying before being so rudely interrupted, here are a few pics of some of mom’s favorite irises blooms.

Black bearded iris being crowded out by the variegated irises (note to mom-make sure you divide those guys this year)

Another showstopper is this speckled iris. It’s like Mother Nature got the hiccups. Tee-hee.


Here Mother Nature decided to compete with Picasso with a ruffled variety. What do you think…Yay or Nay?


Here’s a peach colored one from a walk this week that looks so bright and happy. I tried to sniff it but mom pulled me away since a bee was enjoying its dinner.


And finally, this delicate looking one that always makes mom smile.


Notice the spots of moisture? We actually got a couple of days of showers this week-something we rarely receive. Mom was happy, but my crybaby brother can’t stand getting wet so I have to hear him winge on about it. Norman: I do not winge. I simply observe. Elsa: Whatever.

Anyhow, we hope you enjoyed our my post on bearded irises. Do you have them in your garden?

We hope you are able to get out this weekend and see things blooming now. Luckily, I’ll get a free day tomorrow while Norman goes to an Old English Sheepdog Rescue benefit as an ambassador for rescued dogs. For me it means I can destroy play with the toys by myself. Yay! Have a great weekend.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

55 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ June 3, 2022

  1. Norman, if Elsa gets too mean and nasty, you can always pop over for a visit here.
    I loved the black bearded iris. So striking.
    Wish I could grow something like that without killing it.
    Best wishes,

    1. You might surprise yourself. Irises are nearly indestructible-maybe give them a try. They do so well here, especially with our lack of moisture and the foliage is striking enough once they’ve finished blooming and provides lovely texture to the garden.

  2. Wow, never heard of Iris Bob while Iived there…bummer! I love irises too, and planted a bunch of dwarf irises in my Arvada yard, kindly given to me by a Colo. Master Gardener when I first moved there. When I lived in NJ the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens was a favorite place to visit.

    1. I don’t remember how I came across him but he’s just off Dartmouth and Federal so reasonably close. He really knows his stuff too.

  3. Mew mew mew Elsa did you call mee Sweet Norman “a gigantick heep of fur??”
    Elsa Sweet Norman iss not a heep….must bee s Ssitur/Brothur thing rite???
    OKay on to Irisess…they are BellaSita Mum’ss FAVE flower….
    Shee siad Iris Bob’ss iss a slice of Parrydice!
    An yore irisess are gorgeeuss! Speshelly THE Black Iris an THE Deep Purple (liek tHE band?)
    An wee leerned what IRIS THE name meenss…..
    Mee-yow Iris iss part of BellaSita’ss Sue-do-nym when shee ritess fore reel…..
    Wishin efurryone there a sunny Iris filled weekend…….
    ~~~head rubss~~~ an **paw kissess** BellaDharma an {{{huggiess}}} BellaSita Mum

    1. Thanks dear kitty. That black iris is my favorite too. Elsa is always razing her big brother. He takes it in stride.

    1. They are such an elegant beauty in the garden and have loved them since I was a young girl.

  4. That iris garden is incredible………and your iris are just as gorgeous! That black one is – well – spectacular. Loved the YouTube of Iris Bob’s beautiful flowers. I’ve never tried growing them but things that are deer resistant would be great as we have a “herd” that comes through here every evening eating whatever they can find. I have things they don’t like just about everywhere – bleeding hearts for instance – but would love some colorful bulbs. WONDERFUL POST!

    Hugs, Pam

    1. Thank you! I will not lie, the black ones are my absolute favorites. Irises are so easy to grow and provide such beauty. The fact that the deer resist them is a lovely bonus.

  5. I have a few of the plain purple ones and a very few of darker purple ones. And a few large white ones and then there are some others that are yellow and brown…they are pretty for a few days and then they fade. The tall ones here seem to fall over a lot too. I wish they would bloom longer. I didn’t plant any of them…they were all here before ‘us’ happened!

    Yours are all so very gorgeous!

    My lupines have begun blooming! Wonder of wonders!

    1. I have a couple of rebloomers that are quite stunning but a tad unreliable but suspect they are because they are in some afternoon shade. I should relocate them to enjoy them more than once a season. Next to peonies (yet another short blooming flower), they are my favorites.

      What exciting news about the lupines. So happy for you! Congratulations.

    1. I could hours walking through all the rows and listening to everyone oohing and aahing. Such beauty you don’t exactly expect to find in the city. Have a wonderful weekend, hopefully sans any chicken antics 😉

  6. WOW!! Our Mama’s eyes look like saucers after seeing all the beautiful Irises! We don’t have any in our yard, but saw that our next door neighbor has beautiful irises, and there are even wild irises that grow out here in New Mexico too!!
    Great post Elsa(and Norman)!

    1. Glad you liked the iris show. If you’re in our neighborhood, I’ll happily donate some to get you started. Have an ‘enchanted’ weekend in NM.

    1. Thank you Eliza. Glad you enjoyed the pics as well as the perspective from the Ranch Hands. Enjoy your weekend.

    2. You’re too kind, Eliza. Thank you. The irises are like princesses in the garden. So lovely, so demure. The “Queen” (peonies) are getting ready to soon steal the show.

    1. Thanks. I love bearded irises-they so beautiful and so easy to grow! Have a great weekend.

  7. So beautiful. I would drive a long ways to see this beauty.

    It’s also good to see the pups and Elsa made me laugh out loud with the gigantic heap of fur.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches to the pups, a smooch to handsome Norman and a hug to mom. ♥

    1. Thanks Sandee. I do wish she was kinder to sweet Norman. She never was that way with Sam but she seems to take particular umbrage to the big guy. Luckily for her, he’s too easy going. That iris farm is a fun place to visit. I’ve spent a number of years walking up and down the rows of incredibly beautiful flowers.

  8. I love irises. I wished they bloomed longer. At my last house I had a clear lemon yellow (no brown) and a mid blue variety. They were spectacular! It didn’t take long for them to take over the garden. They grow in weird places too, like against a hot stone wall and a macadam driveway where anything else burns out.

    1. They do indeed favor sunny spots. I have a couple of rebloomers (they bloom in spring and autumn) which are a nice treat but have to admit, seeing a delicate white iris in September seems strangely odd. Have a marvelous weekend!

  9. What a lovely post, Monika… I mean Elsa! I have to agree, these are beautiful and I never realised there was such a variety.
    Have a fantabulous Friday!

    1. Thanks! Bearded irises are such an easy bang for your landscaping buck. And in mass plantings, they can’t be beat. We even are finding more and more rebloomers so it’s double the beauty. Have a super weekend and enjoy a cool one by the pool.

      1. Taking note for my eventual front garden 🙂
        And, the weather is not promising to be pool weather, but that’s ok, I’m my mother’s date at a surprise 50th anniversary party on Saturday. Sunday and Monday are supposed to be good enough with a chance of rain but hey… beats not coming to work!

              1. I would prefer zero days working but apparently, according to my financial adviser, that is not the ideal at this particular time 😏

                  1. I did suggest to him that he recalculate 😉
                    LOL! I’ll never understand those who intend to work until they drop dead. Work is now getting in my way of doing stuff I actually WANT to do!

                    1. You’re right…besides, it would be more fun to actually be in good health and vitality to enjoy life. Work is so overrated.

                    2. Way overrated. I just don’t love the whole working doing something I really don’t love thing.
                      And yes. Too many people retire and then drop dead. Not part of my plan. At. All.

  10. Mom agrees with your mom, she loves the black one best. Hey Elsa, that peach one looks like it’s sticking its tongue out at you, BOL! We would like to romp through Iris Bob’s garden, but then we’d probably all be in trouble. BTW, you and Norman are, like, the Denver twinsies (in interaction) of Chia and Lucy, but Chia’s much smaller. XOX Xena, Lucy, Chia and Riley

    1. Yup, the opposite interactions with these two are pretty ‘entertaining.’ I feel badly for Norman having to endure the strong personality of his little sister. Have a lovely weekend.

          1. Yep. Until they aren’t, LOL! I realized tonight what part Lucy’s tolerance of Chia played in Chia almost getting herself killed this week. What a week it’s been!

            1. Whoa, that’s quite the surprise. Lucy is so sweet. Perhaps Chia’s energy was a tad too much. Hope all are well.

  11. I love irises! They do well here, and the deer leave them alone. I’ve slowly been adding more irises, and daffodils (deer leave them alone, too) here over the years.

    1. When there are deer in the neighborhood, daffodils and irises are a very good deterrent.

    1. They really are. I learned Iris Bob has a location in Germany (though I think he’s Dutch…maybe?). So pretty and so easy to grow. Have a super duper weekend.

Feel free to bark your thoughts...but no growling please.

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