It's been a long time since I lived in the mountains of southeast Kentucky, and a very long time since I transplanted wild Blue Flags from the side of one of those mountains into my great Aunt Bett's back yard. To me they were beautiful, to her, they were medicinal. Some things are not meant to be forgotten.
Blue Flag iris is normally used to describe Iris versicolor, an iris that grows wild in much of the US. But in some places it may refer to other irises, such as Iris virginica. In the deep south it is often used to describe Louisiana irises, usually Iris giganticaerulea.
But the iris Sharon and Aunt Bett are referring to is Iris versicolor.
Iris versicolor is an easily grown garden plant, loving just about any garden conditions, with soil from wet to dry. It has an elegant flower, with up to nine blooms per stalk, with colors ranging from lavender to soft blue purple, on slender, arching, well branched stems.
Medicinally, it is still used as a drug to purge the liver and intestines.
Some very successful hybridizing has been done with iris versicolor, often crossing it with siberian iris.
To find out more about iris versicolor, and to see some of the hybridizations, please come visit our irises cubit.
There's always good, and there's always bad.
But we are talking about 60 years ago. I don't remember the iris borer from those days. Probably now, but not then.
Even so, Lucy, it was the perfect intro for me into the world of gardening and the world of herbal/plant medicines. I place a lot of value on that alone.
Sorry to say I haven't had much success with it here in western KY. Too hot, too dry for it here. But I will always see it as beautiful. And with every iris that blooms in my yard these days, I remember the old Blue Flag.
Lucy, I have never seen a borer, probably because I spray for aphids and thrips, but I have quite a few versicolors around. Guess I'm lucky, huh. I don't think I have any of the straight versicolors, but have many of the hybrids. maybe they don't draw the borers as much?
Name: aka GardenQuilts Facebook, NGA and the beloved Winston the pug
I love iris, my favorite flower. I haven't tried to grow versicolor, but am glad that you grow it successfully in NY.
I haven't had borers, thankfully, but I had troubles with some rhizomes getting soft last year. Last year was one of the wettest, coldest springs. I took out the iris, cut and treated any soft ones, and planted them in slightly raised, amended area at the sides of the gardens. they are doing much better this spring.
I have had a terrible winter, so I am playing catch up inside and out, lately. Everything is blooming early this year, lifting my spirits. I have to get these wintersown plants into the garden so that I can use my patio again!
Thank you!! I get hooked on some of your stories too, ya know! And when you talk about your garden, I starve.
I've just been back home to the mountains for a week or so, and oh it was good for my soul. I went on a 4 wheeler and followed many of those trails that Aunt Bett and I walked. I thought I could climb instead, but decided I could cover more territory on the 4 wheeler. That was very fun, but it took a day or two to recuperate.
Anyway I brought back some wild irises that grow only a few inches tall and spread like wildfire there....I'm wondering what they'll do here. I guess we'll see. They might live in a pot for the time being, it's almost too hot and dry here to plant right now.