The Danford Iris

Yesterday I photographed my first Danford iris (Iris danfordiae) out in the gardens although I saw them blooming almost 2 weeks ago in other garden areas.  Thin foliage emerges with the flowers and goes dormant by mid May, well after the flowers have disappeared. The timing of the blooms for this iris correspond to snowdrops (Galanthus sp.).  Native to Turkey and hardy to zone 5, this bulb is planted in the fall about 3″ deep.  Larger groupings (like directly above and directly below) can be very effective with that yellow catching the eye a good 2-3 weeks prior to the first daffodils (Narcissus) even showing any color.  This bulb prefers dry summer soils when dormant which is part of the reason our colonies of Danford iris have diminished in areas with summer irrigation.  This bulb, while preferring full sunlight, blooms early enough to be planted in deciduous woodlands and “bulb lawns”.  It is also deer resistant, fragrant and can be grown under black walnuts!  This blog is a tribute to this colorful early bulb which is in full bloom at the gardens right now.

We had a busy day at the gardens yesterday (Tuesday) with Kathy P. and Cindy B. out tidying in the gardens.  Urban came in for some pruning and Jim H. and I did a “walk about” in the Japanese garden to come up with some plans.  Jenny E. and Kay both spent time tidying up their areas.  Nancy N. and Ruth Ann P. both were painting and Chuck made a recycling run.  Janice was in for spring preparations in the office. Peg continues with great progress on updating our plant records.  Maury ran errands and we also saw Bill O. and many others.


Today (Wednesday) saw Kathy P. out collecting debris while Vicki and Steve painted and then went out to spread mulch in the main parking lot.  Ruth Ann and Sandi were also painting.  Kristin was in to tidy up in the Japanese garden. Ron P. continues repairs on our Holiday Light Show strands that need his attention before processing and storage.  Larry O. worked on some odds and ends and we also saw Bob C., Dick H., Janice, Mark S., Firefighter Kathy, John J., Steve L. and Bill O.  I’m almost done with all of the spring ordering…yay!  It was a cooler day than yesterday but at least the sun was shining!