Horticulture Supervisor, Kyle Cheesborough
Irises of Wild Wood Valley
Blue flag (Iris versicolor), is a wetland iris growing along shorelines or in a few inches of standing water. The blue flag can cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals, so be sure to wear gloves when dividing the rhizomes.
Yellow flag (Iris pseudacorus),is another wetland iris growing in boggy, water-logged soils. However, the yellow flag does well in average garden soils, though it grows less aggressively – this can be a good thing, since yellow flag is often considered aggressive to the point of weedy. The seeds have been utilized as a coffee substitute, and the rhizomes have been used as an emetic. The plant can serve as a water treatment, with the roots being able to absorb heavy metals.
The Judy Watters Iris Collection
Just north of Garden of Angels, on either side of the road, as well as around the Hawthorn Gatehouse, you will find the Judy Watters Iris Collections. Judy Watters was an active volunteer for the Butterfly House, MO Botanical Garden, and Greater St Louis Iris Society. She bequeathed over a thousand irises from her personal, award winning Iris collection to Bellefontaine Cemetery. They display spectacular shapes, colors, and scents. The Iris beds serve as a memorial to Judy, who passed this past winter and is laid to rest at Bellefontaine.