Complementary plants in this small space

rockydog101April 19, 2013

Hi all,

So I have this small area in my back yard. It's on the north side of my house in zone 9. It gets "full sun", but is somewhat shaded by the house, but no trees, etc. It's full of these flowers now, which I think are either iris or some type of lily. (On the far left is easter lillies.) My wife loves the flower that comes out of this plant, but it seemingly will flower once, and then the flower lasts a few days then dies. The rest of the year it's these kind of harsh looking tall blades of grass.

My question is what kind of flower/plants can I put in here that will complement these, and give flowers all year around (or at different times of the year.) I was thinking that I could put a variety of daylillies, or perhaps some other types of plants/flowers. I'd just like it to look a little more interesting for most of the year.

Thank you for any suggestions

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Here is a close up of the plants.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:31AM
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amanda_m(z7 MD)

Those are iris. And as you said, they bloom for a short time and then are just green blades.

I would find some billowy perennials that will bloom after the spring iris and plant among the iris. If this were mine, I'd also dig up some of the iris.

Oh, who am I kidding - I hate iris, I'd dig them all up and replace with mixed perennials and annuals with a very long bloom season.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:04AM
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I actually do like irises, but not a monoculture of them like you have here. I would remove about 2/3 to 3/4 of them and replant them elsewhere or Craigslist them. I would not be a fan of lilies in the newly open spaces, as their foliage is similar in structure to the irises. I would like a little more diversity of leaves, flower and color. Add in some yellows and whites. How about some yarrow, sage, and phlox?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 12:43PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Yep, I'd get rid of about 1/2 of these iris. They don't have a very long blooming season, maybe 2 weeks, leaving these plain fronds all the rest of the year. Then I'd plant something different, interspersed in the iris. Something with a completely different form - maybe a rounded mound with softer leaves and a long blooming season. You need some variety in height and form.

I don't know your zone, so I'm not sure what would work for you. Here in Missouri, coreopsis would be great.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 6:16PM
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Do a search for Bahia on this forum. He is a long-time poster here and a professional garden designer with lots of awards. He is in the San Francisco area and genuinely loves working with the plants that do well in all the different pockets of the CA plant range.
If you search for his name, you may stumble across posts he has started and those he has responded to with recommendations.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 9:30PM
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The iris foliage is not unattractive. But doesn't it seem from picture 1 that there are large blank spaces at both sides of the window that need something? I know if those were in the living room, we'd be hanging a picture on each side of that window. Given the narrow planting bed, it seems that you might consider an espaliered plant fastened to a well built, attractive trellis at each side--or at least one side--of the window. Any number of blooming plants could be fasted to a trellis so as to be kept out of the way of the walkway.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 9:50PM
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