May 1, 2011

My Iris Obsession

I love all types of Irises, and am slowly becoming a collector of different species of these unique flowers in the garden. Iris is the Greek word for rainbow, referring to the myriad of colors of the flowers occurring in the wild. In Greek mythology, Iris is a messenger of the Gods, connecting humanity to the divine through rainbows.

Iris pseudoacorus (Sweet Flag Iris)
 I have Irises in many areas in the garden, in both the front and back yards. The Japanese Sweet Flag Iris (above) is one of my favorites, and thrives in a tough spot where the clay soil floods in winter. After the flowers fade, seed pods appear that, when mature, can be collected for new plants. I germinated a dozen seeds in the greenhouse last fall and had 6 new plants for this spring... not too bad. German Bearded Irises are also a favorite, and I am always amazed at the new color choices every year.  I can put these plants anywhere, even on a side of a ditch, and they thrive. The foliage is semi-evergreen here, and some, like 'Immortality' and 'Well Endowed' are reblooming, flowering in early May and giving another show in late summer.

Above, the jet black buds and rich blooms of Iris germanica 'Gypsy Romance' (German Bearded Iris)

Another unknown cultivar of Iris germanica is blooming at the end of the vegetable bed. A mid-afternoon shower provided a great opportunity for dew-covered pictures.

A great rebloomer with outstanding evergreen foliage worthy of the front landscape, Iris germanica 'Immortality' is pure white, with a yellow "beard".

I also have started a collection of Siberian Irises, Iris siberica. These beauties have a thin, sword-like foliage and delicate flowers. I purchased I. siberica 'Caesars Brother' (left) and 'Butter and Sugar' on clearance last fall and just discovered the beauty of these in the last few days!

A grouping of Japanese Irises (from left to right):  Iris pseudoacorus 'variegata' (Varigated Yellow Flag Iris) yet to bloom, Yellow Flag Iris, and  Iris versicolor (Blue Flag Iris)
Irises have always been one of my favorite, and I remember them growing in our yard as a child. Now they have secured a solid place in our garden. They look beautiful in a border or solo, and make wonderful cut flowers (although the blooms only last a day or two). I always think of these as Mothers Day flowers, as they seem to bloom around that time. This year they are a little early... but I'm not complaining!

 "Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest, who, armed with golden rod and winged with the celestial azure, bearest the message of some God." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Iris


  1. I enjoyed the walk through your garden. I also love iris. They are a great complement to other blooming flowers.

  2. Irises are my favorites too. I've recently planted my first ireses (a few varieties) and am now waiting paitenly for our spring to see if they bloom! Yours are all beautiful!!

  3. I haven't grown Irises before this year, having received three different varieties from a local collector who didn't like these or had too many. I don't really like the foliage unless there are lots of plants together, but the flowers are much more satisfying than I thought they would be. (The second of my three varieties has just started blooming, so I'll be posting about that tomorrow.)

  4. I love irises and yours are beautiful!

  5. love nice to see some finally although mine won't be up for weeks...

  6. Great post! I've never grown irises but I like how you tied in a quote and a little mythology to get me thinking about them differently. The black-tipped irises are very cool.

  7. I love irises. Your clump of purple ones is beautiful. Great pics!


Thanks for taking a walk in our garden.
Your comments are always appreciated.