Why did Suzan Kosch develop an affinity for irises and join the Fredericksburg Area Iris Society?

“I love flowers that come back every year,” she said during a preview visit to her garden at 802 Wolfe St. in Fredericksburg earlier this week. “I’ve loved flowers forever.”

Suzan and her husband Jim Kosch will open their gardens for the society’s annual Open Garden Day tour for the first time this year. The tour will be held on Mother’s Day, May 12, and feature six Fredericksburg area gardens. The gardens will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so the tour is a great opportunity share some quality time with mom on what everybody hopes will be a beautiful spring day.

Suzan Kosch has made her garden a great example of what people can do with the front and backyards of a typical city lot. Not only does she like flowers that come back every year, she chooses varieties that will give her blooms almost all year round.

The front yard is entirely planted in flowers and covered in mulch, so no lawn to worry about here. Roses may be her first love, she said, and the Knockouts are looking good already. In addition to a collection of irises, especially the tall bearded variety she’s most fond of, there are clematis, columbine, azaleas and the low-to-the-ground candy tuft that is blooming now with mounds of little white flowers.

There are some hostas too, another of Suzan’s favorites, and a small solar-powered fountain that adds visual interest.

An eye-catching red and creamy-white iris that’s already out in Suzan’s front yard is known as Raspberries & Cream, a tall bearded variety that recalls a previous garden visit. Doug Chyz, a longtime FAIS member and the membership chair, recalled that Raspberries & Cream was the favorite of the late Jack Loving, a veteran iris gardener who once had as many as 1,000 iris varieties represented at his King George County property, known as Edgehill Gardens.

Loving passed away in March 2018, but his family opened his garden one final time to honor him and his late wife, Rosalie, for last year’s Garden Day tour.

Following the flagstone path toward the backyard of Suzan Kosch’s home, it’s evident that she’s managed to fill every nook and cranny along the way with irises and other plants.

At the gate to the backyard is an arbor covered with Cecile Brunner climbing pink roses. Out back is a wide variety of irises, from dwarf to intermediate bearded to tall bearded. There are Siberians and Louisianas that round out her collection, which is bound to expand in the years to come.

You won’t want to miss Kosch’s Slovac Prince specimen, a stunning tall bearded iris with deep purple beards and white standards rimmed in gold. As always, the names of the iris varieties are part of the fun. By the time tour day rolls around, Kosch’s Ricochet Romance, Red Thumbprint, Magic Palette and Voltage tall bearded specimens should be in bloom.

And as she did out front, Kosch has lots of plants mixed in among the irises, like peonies and periwinkle.

Not only is Kosch looking forward to showing people around her own garden, she also plans to take the opportunity to visit the other gardens on the tour, looking for varieties that she’d like to call her own.

“I’ll be taking a notepad,” she said.

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Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

ramrhine@freelancestar.com

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