06/04/10 1:04PM By Charlie Nardozzi
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I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. The Greek Goddess of Rainbows is named after this plant. Vincent Van Gough and Georgia O'Keefe loved to paint it, and poets Mary Oliver and Robert Frost wrote about it. What flower is this? The Iris. There are hundreds of iris species growing around the world. It's a common symbol in Western culture and is the flower in the French fleur de lis. While most gardeners are familiar with the popular German bearded iris, lesser know iris species offer some interesting variations.
Siberian Iris grow in clumps that are virtually pest free. The Japanese iris has flowers that look like butterflies floating on the stems and thrives in moist, acidic soils. And reblooming bearded iris, such as Immortality, offer iris lovers a second flush of flowers in late summer.
Most iris are easy to grow - just divide them every three or four years when you notice fewer flowers and the plants are overcrowded. One threat to bearded Iris is the borer insect. It tunnels through the leaves to the roots - called rhizomes - leaving yellow streaks. Cut off and destroy infected leaves, clean up the foliage in the fall, and remove any rhizomes with holes in them.
For this week's tip, pinch off the first blossoms of your sweet peppers to get a better overall crop. By removing the first flowers on newly transplanted peppers, the plant will send more energy into growing a bigger plant that will produce more fruit this summer.
Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about poison ivy. For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!
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