20/06/10

plant focus - Andy Sturgeon's bearded irises

a very Scottish planting solution

Bearded irises LOVE to be planted in sunny, warm, well drained soil.

This can be quite a challenge in our cooler wetter Scottish climate.

In his Chelsea Show garden this year Andy Sturgeon had planted beautiful, burnt orange bearded irises in circular handmade dishes. They not only looked fantastic - architectural, mediteranean, striking- but they also provided an interesting planting solution for Scottish gardens.

Andy Sturgeon's bearded irises at Chelsea

Container planting gives us the flexibilty to plant in very free draining soil. And we can position our planters in sheltered sunny locations where they will benefit from all the summer sun we have available.

Bearded irises really don't like to be challenged to their space by other plants which can make them difficult to integrate into mixed planting schemes. A planter will give them all the solo space they need to thrive.

And furthermore, as bearded irises like to be planted with their rhizome above the surface, we can take another tip from Andy Sturgeon. Match the gravel top dressing to the colour of the rhizome and no need to see it sitting ugly on top of the soil.

From now on we'll be planting all our bearded irises in beautiful containers.