About five years ago, my family took me down to Winston-Salem, NC, to visit the Boose Family Farm. It's a city farm - a brick ranch home sitting on about a 2 acre lot. But it's what's on the 2 acres that has iris enthusiasts coming from all over the country to see.
In the 1940's Thelma Boose began collecting irises. When she died a few years ago in her late nineties, she had amassed an 1,800 variety iris garden that spanned decades. A stack of binders features torn (original) catalog pages featuring the name and description of each variety.
Last week, I traveled to the farm once again. Thelma's daughter Faye runs the garden now. At 73, she's been working out in the garden since she was seven. At the time of my trip, nothing was in bloom. However, I did pick up some historic varieties and Captain Jack, Dutch Chocolate, Christmas Angel, Red Rose, Dark Night, and Carved Cameo are now acclimating to their new home.
I've included a link to an article that has been written on the farm as well as a few pictures from my trip. Enjoy! :)
The 2021 Open House is in the books! I had so much fun and I hope those that came out had fun as well. Our bloom percentage was very high - nearly every variety I have bloomed.
For the most part, bloom season has ended where I live (Central Virginia). So what do you do with the dead blooms and stalks? I recently recorded a video on the subject.
You can access the link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQQ6sPYoCMo
I typically let my leaves go wild until early July and then I trim them back about 8 inches. If I notice leaf spot, I trim right away (and treat if necessary). In the fall, I trim my leaves back to 6 inches.
As always, keeping a clean bed is important. Rhizomes should be uncovered where they/the plant can at least get 6 hours of sun. Old leaves and debris should be removed. And weeds - they're a struggle to keep up with, but weed removal is a must.
Bloom season is my favorite time of the year. I love to see the stems shoot up and buds appear.
Last week, I noticed a large amount of irises had iris leaf spot. This is a pretty common fungal infection that usually occurs when the garden has had a lot of rain, but I normally notice it later in the season. You'll know your irises have leaf spot when you see brown spots on your iris leaves. The best thing you can do when you see iris leaf spot is to act quickly by clipping off the area of the leaf that is infected (I clip below the last spot). If not, you'll likely lose the leaf anyway, as the spots work their way down the leaf.
Once clipped, administer a fungicide treatment. The choice is yours, but remember, you want a fungicide, not an insecticide.
I look forward to seeing you at Open House! Tours start May 6th-16th. Please use our scheduling service to book. It can be accessed here: