As beautiful as they are, Iris can be hell on a garden and the gardener. The rhizomatous (or tuberous kind) constantly need to be cut back and divided and then they don't last very long - flower-wise. The trick is to prolong the season by planting several kinds and crowding them all in together. Start with the great Japanese roof iris, this one multiplies faster than any octo-anything you can imagine and blooms first. The next to bloom is the big show off bearded iris (get the Schreiner's Iris catalogue http://www.schreinersgardens.com/). Discipline yourself by choosing from the exceptional panoply of color of the flamboyant family of German iris (and don't forget the yellow and white combinations - so chic). Round out the season with the gorgeous Iris kaempferi or ensata, the beardless flat floating heavenly last-to-bloom. More about Iris another time, and don't forget that our English garden tie is fine enough to tie up those flopping bearded iris stalks after a hard rain...see it almost disappearing in the upper left of the photos. And you know I've discovered the best stakes are free - the old bamboo stalks relieved of branches and cut to size (easy to do with your Japanese clippers).