Last year I had driven by Meadowlark Road a few times during the year and noticed a field with many small signs. Thinking that it might be a day lily farm, I was even more curious when I began to see the plants growing. It occurred to me that this might be a nursery of some sort, but there were no signs or other indication of what it might be. On May 12, my friend Patsy called to say that she was going to the Iris Farm so let's meet there. Since I wasn't able to go on that day, I really forgot about it. I had no idea that this was the same field I had been observing for some time. That afternoon I decided to call Patsy about something else and she was IN the iris field selecting iris for her new garden. Her excitement indicated to me that now I HAD to go to the Iris Farm and SOON before the iris had stopped blooming. Although they had already reached their "peak", there was still plenty to enjoy.
It turns out that the iris in the field below were managed by 86 year old Faye Short and her family (she's the one in the photo below). Visitors were welcome anytime. I couldn't believe what I saw. Purchases are possible from the 2000 varieties available; yet, it seems that the main purpose of this garden was the sheer joy it brings to the community. Mrs. Short's daughter described it as her mother's obsession gone wild.
TIPS on iris cultivation from these experts:
Iris need full sun, don't care much about the soil type (and grow well in our dense clay soil in western NC). When planting these iris (as soon as possible), plant them with the rhizomes near the top of the soil (in another words plant them high), cut off the folIage to about 5". This will encourage root development and a clumping effect, if done every fall.
I came home with twelve new iris, all different colors. I went with the idea of getting maybe 12 of the same color; forget it! Hopefully, I'll get some bloom next year, but it maybe be a little later. Meanwhile, I have these wonderful photos to encourage my anticipation of the future bloom in early May.
IT'S APRIL 2009 NOW AND MY IRIS ARE COMING UP ALL OVER MY YARD; ONE HAS A BLOOM JUST GETTING READY TO OPEN. PHOTOS TO COME AS SOON AS THEY BLOOM.
IF YOU ARE ANYWHERE NEAR WINSTSON-SALEM, NC GO TAKE A LOOK AT THE FARM. YOU WILL BE AMAZED.
Oh, if you want to see this Iris Farm, it's approximately 920 Meadowlark Rd. in Winston-Salem, NC. Go in early May to see the peak of bloom.