Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Flowers: Wild Iris

Wild Blue Flags in my garden

June is the month for Irises and they have been quite spectacular this season. Last year I bought some Wild Blue Flags from an Old Order Mennonite vendor at the market. I was delighted to see how well they established themselves in my garden this spring. They are smaller in size than bearded Irises and have withstood the heavy rainstorms we have experienced in the past couple of weeks. Blue Flag Iris (iris versicolor) is native to Ontario. In the swamp near our home, large clumps of them are in bloom in the shallow water.

Wild Blue Flags in local swamp

Another Iris species is non-native and considered to be invasive in much of Canada and the USA. Last year I wrote about Yellow Flag Iris but in all my walks I found only a small group growing along the river. This year we have had more rain and the water is higher. I have seen more Yellow Flags than ever before.

Yellow Flag Iris in Hospital Courtyard

Yellow Flags are often sold as ornamentals for gardens and ponds. Around this part of the river, old orchards stand and plants from deserted farm gardens have naturalized in the flood plain. In the hospital courtyard, these flowers are blooming in a man made pond. Once they escape a cultivated setting, they become invasive, crowding out native flora.

Yellow Flag Iris (invasive) along the Grand River

The website for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario has a number of interesting pages in invasive plants. Links to the pages are found here. I am harbouring a number of invasive aliens in my garden and should make an effort to remove them soon. My husband is redoing the garden borders and it would be a good time to do some "weeding". I have to be careful how I dispose of them, making sure they do not re-establish themselves in our natural areas.


  1. Such beautiful pests though. :c) I don't think I've ever seen the yellow ones here.

  2. Anonymous7:17 am GMT-4

    What a pretty blue.

  3. Anonymous7:43 am GMT-4

    Iris's are a beautiful's just to bad that the blooms don't last long. But then I wish all blooms last longer then they do. Lovely shade of blue...looks almost purple.

  4. It must be hard to remove lovely flowers and destroy them, no matter that they shouldn't be there.

    Good for you. More of us need to do that.

  5. Anonymous9:53 am GMT-4

    Thank you for the pictures of the wonderful flowers it certainly brightens up my rainy day.

  6. The Wild Blue Flag reflection in the swamp is beautiful!

  7. I too, love that picture with the reflection of the blue irises in the lake. Gorgeous.

  8. Your link is full of info - I,too, best do some permanent weeding.

  9. Somnetimes I wonder if plants that we consider native were once invasive.-Nice flowers either way.

  10. Anonymous9:54 am GMT-4

    How lovely!! The Iris is one of my favourite flowers. Pretty colours and reflection in the pond. I always look forward to your 'Friday Flower' posts.

  11. Ruth,

    The blue iris is fabulous and the yellow are pretty too. I didn't realize the were an invasive species, but have seen them in water gardens - never in the wild.

    I'm not sure how you could dispose of the invasive species in order to assure they will not re-establish themselves.

    Have a wonderful weekend. It rained here this morning but that has stopped and it's going to be humid. Not great weather for doing renovations.


  12. Iris is such a classic beauty.
    Yours are lovely.

  13. Thanks for all your comments! Cheryl, they really are purple. Larry, the link describes the alien flowers that have naturalized vs being invasive. Naturalized is OK because they share space with other species. Invasive plants choke out everything else in the vicinity. Mary, I cannot burn the plants in the city. I probably will leave them our on stones to dry out and die, then chop up the roots. If I had a plant mulcher, that would work too.

  14. Where I live it is quite dry, and the irises I have planted still manage to multiply and spread out, although nowhere near so lushly as those in your photos. The photo with the yellow irises all clumped together is quite intriguing. Here in California, I don't think I've ever been out walking and found wild irises growing in water like that. Usually we have solitary plants, and they grow on dry terrain in the spring.

  15. It must be a treat to see them in the wild like that. I also love the flowers when they bloom in a garden, but I wouldn't use space for them in a small garden. They don't bloom very long, and the plant itself is not very appealing -- to me. But they are gorgeous flowers.


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