Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Peony Companion Plant Bearded Iris

Peony 'Lovely Rose' and Bearded Iris 'Harvest of Memories'

Okay. So maybe this one is an obvious choice, but peonies and irises not only grow well together but bloom well together. I just couldn't resist snapping the photo below of my Peony 'Goldilocks' blooming alongside by 'Bewilderbeast' irises last year. I have a small collection of broken color bearded irises growing near my garden bench along with several special peony selections. Peony 'Goldilocks' is a rare yellow colored herbaceous peony. There are several varieties of yellow intersectional peonies and yellow tree peonies, but yellow herbaceous peonies are much less common. For some reason the broken color 'zebra' irises appeal to me personally, but you can use any solid, bi-color, or multicolored bearded irises you choose. Since the peonies and irises bloom at the same time, you may want to consider complimentary or contrasting colored irises as companions to your peony varieties.

Peony 'Goldilocks' and Bearded Iris 'Bewilderbeast'

This year I caught a few other peony and iris beauties hanging out together. The contrast of the bold coral pink herbaceous Peony 'Lovely Rose' and the bright golden yellow blooms of the 'Harvest of Memories' bearded iris play nicely together. Another bonus that comes with the 'Harvest of Memories' bearded iris is reliable reblooming. This golden yellow iris' first blooms are in early spring, and it gets a second set of blooms again in fall. This bearded iris was still blooming through our first frost and beyond! I am really amazed with its flower power. :-) Peony 'Lovely Rose' is also a Southern Peony Best Performer. It was selected as a Southern Peony Best Performer in 2014, 2014 Peony 'Lovely Rose' Best Performer - Week 3, and has bloomed reliably every year since!

Peony 'Lovely Rose' and Bearded Iris 'Harvest of Memories'

No matter which bearded irises you choose to grow, you can be sure they will look great with your peonies. The heights of the standard German bearded irises are usually pretty close to the height of peonies, which will provide you will beautiful views and plenty of photo opportunities. With so many color combinations to create, the possibilities are almost endless. Now is also a great time of year to think about changes and additions you'd like to make to your garden next year. While you're stuck inside with the cold weather, there are so many catalogs of beautiful flowers to peruse online. If you already grow bearded irises as a companion plant to your peonies, I'd love to see what color combinations you've come up with. Feel free to send me any photos of peony and iris combos that you grow and would love to share. Happy Gardening!

Bearded Iris 'Tiger Honey' and Unknown Pink Herbaceous Peony

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