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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Growing Iris Home Study Course

"A detailed course for identifying, growing and harvesting irises"

This is a valuable course for anyone with a serious interest in irises either as a commercial grower or an enthusiastic home collector.










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Learn about identifying, growing and harvesting irises

You will gain an in-depth appreciation of the iris, how to grow them to achieve optimum results and the identification of different varieties of irises. Significant sections are included on landscaping with irises, hybridisation and propagation, harvest, post-harvest treatments, achieving and assessing quality, and exhibiting the flowers.

There are 8 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification
    • Physiology
    • Information sources
  2. Culture
    • Planting
    • Staking
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Feeding
    • Pruning, etc.
  3. Propagation and Hybridisation
  4. Review of Major Types of Irises
  5. Pest and Diseases
  6. Irrigation and Hydroponics
  7. Landscaping with Irises
  8. Harvest, Post Harvest, Exhibiting and Quality

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Duration:  100 hours

What Do You Know about Irises?

There are thousands of different types of iris that are cultivated around the world.

These plants vary in appearance, generally having grey-green to deep glossy green sword-shaped leaves usually arranged like a fan. The flowers usually have three outer petals called 'falls' and three inner petals called 'standards'. Bearded irises have hairs on the falls. Given the complexity of this genera, Irises have been categorised in different ways. Botanists tend to classify them into various genera, subgenera, and sections. Gardeners often place them in two groups of bulbs and rhizomes. These groups may be divided further so the bulbs include Dutch and English Irises (Xiphium), Junos Irises (Juno), and Reticulata irises (Iridodictyum), and the rhizomes include Bearded Irises (Iris), Beardless Irises (Limniris and Xyridion), and Crested Irises (Crossiris). 

Most grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. The optimal soil pH is 4.5 7.5 and the ideal pH is around 6. Most do not tolerate lime. In hot climates they should be planted deeper. In wet situations plant them shallower or on mounds. Irises are generally heavier feeders than other bulbs and rhizomes. 

The bearded iris seems to be more susceptible to diseases than some of the other groups. Generally, rhizomatous species are prone to rust appearing as reddish brown lesions, leaf spot (usually caused by damp conditions), cucumber mosaic virus and arabis mosaic virus which cause chlorosis of the leaves and distorted growth, and rhizome rot which reduces rhizomes to slime. The bulbous irises are prone to iris mosaic virus which causes chlorosis and distorted or stunted growth, ink disease which results in black spots and lesions, grey bulb rot which is a fungus that hinders growth from the tip of the bulb, blue mould which is a fungus that destroys stored bulbs, leaf spot which causes foliage to decay, and iris scorch which causes leaves to redden and decay. Pests include narcissus fly larvae which attack the above ground parts of bulbs, aphids which are more of a problem with bulbs in storage, eelworms, slugs and snails which attack both bulbs and rhizomes, and some caterpillars which are partial to bearded irises. 





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Meet some of our academics

John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing Flowering BulbsContaining 187 pages of great facts on growing bulbs and stunning colour pictures, the Growing and Knowing Flowering Bulbs ebook is an essential read for students, professional horticulturalists, hobby gardeners and anyone who is interested in knowing more about flowering bulbs.
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Garden Design Part 1The Garden Design ebook part 1 is an essential handbook for students and landscape professionals. A foundation guide to garden design, this book provides stunning full illustrations to demonstrate tips and examples on garden design, functional uses and aesthetics. Some topics that are covered in this ebook include 1/ Introduction to Garden Design, 2/ Appropriateness of garden design, 3/ Creating an impact, 4/ Designing to a budget, 5/ Choosing plants, 6/ Using the garden, 7/ Where the garden meets the house, 8/ Making the winter garden more comfortable, 9/ Gardens for children, 10/The secure home and garden, 11/ Lighting a garden, 12/ Dealing with shade, 13/ Garden Art, 14/ Pots and planters, 15/ Colour in the garden, 16/ Applications for colour and 17/ Garden furniture.
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