Planting iris for impact

By Margie Habraken
on March 11, 2019

Planting iris for impact

I was fortunate enough to visit some open gardens last spring around the Tumut area, and was very impressed with the thought that went into the layout of the gardens and choices of plants. 

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Stepping into spring - Preparing your irises for spring

By Margie Habraken
on August 26, 2018

Stepping into spring - Preparing your irises for spring

We are all undoubtably looking forward to our irises blooming, so with the warmer weather not too far away, we thought it might be a good time to offer some suggestions to maximise your spring flowering.
During this unseasonably drier weather many of us are experiencing, its important to keep the water up to your irises.  Be careful not to overwater as the rhizome will rot if it stays too wet.  It might be a good time to add a light mulch to your irises.  This will not only lessen evaporation, but will assist in weed control as the weather warms.  
Our irises are looking quite scraggy at the moment.  Gently pulling off the dead leaves and carefully trimming spent flowers will enhance their appearance, ready to show off their blooms in the coming months.  The old leaves can even be used to create other works of art if you're that way inclined!
It's good time to fertilise your irises now to get the best spring show.  We recommend using a fertiliser which is lower in nitrogen to make the most of the blooms.  Yates suggest one called Thrive Natural Roses and Flowers.  They advertise it as a special combination of organic ingredients boosted with fast-acting fertilisers, designed to enhance the growth and development of flowers. 
Follow the instructions on the pack and don't forget to water well after applying to get the maximum uptake.
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Keeping your irises happy over the summer

By Elissa Strong
on January 22, 2018

Keeping your irises happy over the summer

Summer seems to be really heating up over these last few weeks, with more to follow for us here at Sunshine Iris Nursery.  To ensure our irises are not too stressed over these hot days, and to maintain our high standards, we follow a few simple processes that may help your irises in the garden also.

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Why grow median and dwarf irises?

By Margie Habraken
on December 11, 2017

Why grow median and dwarf irises?

Medians are less prone to wind damage and are easier to display in vases. They will provide a spring feature amongst shrubs and mixed perennial gardens.

Dwarf irises are excellent edge plants and require little maintenance. They are very resilient, handle dry summers well and are easy to move around the garden when clumps increase in size.

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Anatomy of a bearded iris

By Margie Habraken
on May 23, 2017

Anatomy of a bearded iris

When describing iris, we often talk about ‘falls’, ‘standards’ and ‘beards’.  Here is a brief explanation of these terms and a few more.

Falls are the lower three petals of the flower.  They can be adorned with veining, lines or dots and are usually narrower at the top, expanding gracefully downward.

Standards refer to the upper three petals of the flower.  They are often markedly different to the falls and ‘stand’ upright.


Anatomy of an iris

The spathe is found below the petals.  It has a papery covering around the emerging buds, and protects the ovary, turning brown as it develops.

The beard is the fluffy ‘caterpillar’ at the top of the falls, giving bearded iris their name.  They often provide a startling colour contrast to the petals of the iris.

A rhizome is a storage part consisting of a more or less horizontal underground section of the plant from which roots grow.  They are potato-like and should be planted just beneath the surface.

If you are interested, the American Iris Society has an article about the colour terms used when describing tall bearded iris – check it out here

Landscaping With Iris

By Mandy Strong
on May 08, 2017

Landscaping With Iris

Recently one of our customers has mentioned she will be using her iris purchases to under plant roses. What a great idea!

Although some sources recommend keeping the beds under roses clear, others indicate there may be some good reasons to use iris together with other perennials. Underplanting, and indeed all mixed plantings should be chosen with care, taking into account the plant's water, nutrient and light requirements.

By choosing plants with similar requirements, caring for the beds becomes simpler. Iris, like roses, requires full sun, are drought tolerant, prefer good drainage and have few fertiliser requirements. They are a great choice for under roses, and with the wide variety of colours available, many colour combinations are possible.

Perhaps the best iris to choose are the dwarf varieties as many are rebloomers which will flower in autumn and spring, complementing your roses.  They will readily multiply forming a great display and are shallow rooted, offering less competition for water and nutrients from the deeper rooted roses.

Your iris plants will also attract pollinators and may control pests – a true companion plant for your roses!

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Tall bearded iris

  • Swerti - Tall Bearded Iris
    Swerti - Tall Bearded Iris
  • Gratuity - Tall Bearded Iris
    Gratuity - Tall Bearded Iris
  • Dream Of You - Tall Bearded Iris
    Dream Of You - Tall Bearded Iris
  • Dads A Pirate - Tall Bearded Iris
    Dads A Pirate - Tall Bearded Iris
  • Vibrations - Tall Bearded Iris
    Vibrations - Tall Bearded Iris
  • Golden Panther - Tall Bearded Iris
    Golden Panther - Tall Bearded Iris

Can we help you?

Looking for more information or a certain plant?  Want to buy wholesale?  Can't decide which iris?  Contact Mandy on 0429 857 085 or email us

From the Blog

Planting iris for impact

Planting iris for impact

March 11, 2019

I was fortunate enough to visit some open gardens last spring around the Tumut area, and was very impressed with the thought that went into the layout of the gardens and choices of plants. 

Read more →

Pick Pack Post - by Kerry Anderson

Pick Pack Post - by Kerry Anderson

February 04, 2019

Usually it is the children that are encouraged to take on the family business, but in the case of Sunshine Iris Nursery near Lockhart in New South Wales, it was the opposite. What started as a logical step into the business world for agronomist trained Elissa Strong became problematic when she went back to study in 2017 leaving her mother Mandy to pick pack and post.

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