Iris Season

May 8, 2009 021 (2)Gardening is about seasonal changes. As time moves along, stopping for no man nor beast as my father used to say, plants step into the spotlight, then fade away into the background as the next star begins to shine. So it is with the iris here, mostly Iris germanica, but a few others as well. Like so many flowers, there are early, mid and late of these. Right now is the bloom time of one of the latest, Superstition.May 8, 2009 054 (2)Beverly Sills decided to bloom between the post supporting the standard trained Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora, Peegee and its trunk.April 29, 2009 016 (2)This maroon with orange beard was one of several that were purchased at a flea market up route eleven. They were in a stand growing along the highway and the guy dug whatever one you wanted and threw it in a grocery bag, a buck a piece.May 3, 2009 076 (2)This is the best year for the iris blooms since they were moved from the shed bed down to the flat area and divided into very small pieces with one fan a few years ago. There are still way more fans with no blooms that remain unidentified, but as the flowers show themselves, we are attaching plastic labels with twine to the stalks. It is hope there will be a cohesive color scheme emerge from this action. Already the three clumps of Cinnamon Girl have been moved to one area, amidst the dark foliage of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’.May 4, 2009 010 (2)Lacy Snowflake has been with us for three moves. Notable for the very large flowers and elegant presence, it is a strong bloomer.May 3, 2009 009 (3)There are several passalongs from our dear neighbors in the collection. This orange has always been the favorite of that group. Offspring Semi and I were on a mission to identify some of her iris by checking out online catalogs and discovered this is actually Tennessee Volunteer, for the orange color. We might always refer to it as Mae’s Orange however.April 28, 2009 008 (2)Another passalong. The orange beard is striking on this one.April 28, 2009 031 (2)
~April 24, 2009 126 (2)Tiger Honey and Champagne Elegance were featured in their own post, but the bee was the star. Click here to see ‘Little Dreamer And Tiger Honey’.April 24, 2009 062 (2)One of the first iris to bloom, and the highest population density is this passalong. Does it smell like grape juice? Added: no. Added in 2011: Yes it does.April 21, 2009 095 (2)Native Iris cristata has long since finished showing the small blue flowers. This is the best shot we could manage.May 11, 2009 new 036 (2)This is a surprise iris. A gift from offspring Semi, discovered by the heater at the side of the house among the herbaceous peonies. Possibly Dutch or Siberian iris? Does anyone know this one?May 11, 2009 new 061 (2)Wrapping up with another passalong, this one from a mountainside in North Carolina. The faire Bulbarella, mother of Outside Clyde’s cabin building, garden creating, and all around good guy, Christopher was kind enough to share these by the bagsfull. They are happily growing in all the offspring’s gardens too. What a beautiful flower from a beautiful lady. Added: this has been identified as Lorelei, sometimes spelled Loreley.
Sadly the iris season is coming to a close for this year, with several cultivars missing in action, again. A promising new iris, a gift from Chickenpoet for Christmas, Cherub’s Smile had a bud that was broken off during a fit of weeding madness. There are no buds showing on any of the other clumps so it is assumed there will be no blooms from them either. Same time, same place, next year. Hope to see you then.

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33 Responses to Iris Season

  1. Janet says:

    Gorgeous Irises Frances. Mine were beaten down by the rain. Not a good showing this year.

    Hi Janet, thanks. Mine were also and many photo ops were a rain out. We were lucky to have these few decent looking blooms of the later varieties, opening after the rains.

  2. gittan says:

    Hi Frances,lovely, lovely Iris. They are truely survivors. I’ve som lying on the ground, been there since last fall and still alive and growing. Have had others like that before and they just seem to acept the treatment no matter what I do. Yours are real nice ones hard to even pick one that’s more beautiful than the others / gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. What a testament to the toughness of the iris, to grow while unplanted. We have had some things do that, like the lamb’s ear. There are several of my favorites that did not bloom this year for some reason. Now I remember why they were dug up and moved from their prominent position. I want more reliability. 🙂

  3. Brooke says:

    Oh I am in love! I have about 5 different ones already, but went to a garden club sale and bought a whole box of “mixed bearded” 10 for $5.00, I love them. I especially love the guy who dug them up for a buck! Great post! ~Brooke

    Hi Brooke, thanks. What a fabulous deal on those mixed iris. What fun it will be to see what you end up with too.

  4. Dave says:

    Beautiful! Most of ours are the passalong variety but they got pretty battered by the rain and have lost much of their beauty. Yours look great!

    Hi Dave, thanks. Remember the camera lies. Well sort of, these photos are not showing the slimy battered ones, but there are plenty of those too.

  5. Lovely irises! I can’t believe that one of my Siberian is blooming (Butter & Sugar) and that one of the Japanese is budding — usually June for the ensata, but there has been a lot of rain and they love the rain garden location.


    Hi Cameron, thanks. We have one siberian, Ceasar’s Brother, that came with the property. I can’t get a decent shot of it. I have steered away from the ensatas, we don’t have a wet enough spot for them, but I admire them greatly.

  6. Rose says:

    Beautiful irises, Frances! Beverly Sills looks as if she just stepped out of the shower:) Mine are not blooming yet, but there are buds–if last night’s storm didn’t beat them all down.

    Hi Rose, thanks. I do hope your iris survive the hard rains. We would have had a much better show without the deluges we have had lately. We were lucky to get a few pix of the later ones.

  7. Several commenters mentioned rain or storms beating down their irises. I wonder if irises in full bloom attract such weather?

    Hi Carol, maybe it is the time of year? We are having so much more rain, it is hard to compare it to other year’s blooms. I know the rain really does a number on a blooming iris though, sadly.

  8. ourfriendben says:

    What a wonderful display, Frances, and with such delightful memories attached! I especially love your flea-market iris. I think your Plantus unknownus is definitely a Siberian, but don’t know which one. My brother’s birthday gift of heirloom irises are in bloom now, and I’m anticipating the rest of the show as the others catch up. Bad weather beats down my peonies but doesn’t seem to faze the iris! Looking forward to your show next year.

    Hi OFB, thanks. Siberian is a good start. Maybe Semi can find the tag, maybe not. I had wanted Butter and Sugar, she cannot remember if this is it. Good for you with the iris standing up to the rain. Our herbaceous peonies are laying low for our downpours, but there may be some late bloomers that will allow for a photo.

  9. Tyra says:

    Hi Frances and thank you for brighten up my day! Your Parade of Irises are truely stunning. I just cannot choose which one is the favorite, thay are all gorgeous. I’m still waiting for mine…
    Take Care / Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks, what a nice thing to say! I look forward to seeing your beautiful iris too. 🙂

  10. Frances, one of my bearded has one bud, everybody else is waiting. I love the passalong oranged bearded one. Noogie!!!!

    Hi Monica, noogie received and passed along. It is very deserving of it too. Waiting for the iris to bloom seems like a long wait. Even waiting for the buds can take forever it seems. I am trying to remember if some of the ones that have not bloomed are just really really late. It is possible but who can tell. I do know that all of them never bloom the same year for some reason. Aggravates me.

  11. Kanak says:

    Absolutely beautiful–each and every iris.

    Hi Kanak, thanks. Each one is unique.

  12. Gail says:

    …and does it smell of grape juice? Thanks for the shout out! Your iris are beautiful Frances…I especially like the Outside Clyde iris that you kindly shared with me. It is blooming now, in pretty fair shade I might add. Btw, it looks fantastic in your photo…sharp and the colors are bright! It’s hard to beat the germanic iris. The big new showy boys and girls seem to need full time sunshine….which isn’t happening at C&L! But even with the rain we’ve had this has been a stellar year for iris. Those cristatas are beautiful little iris. Is your tiniest iris, Blue Eyed Grass blooming? gail

    Hi Gail, no, it doesn’t. It looks so much like yours that does, unless I smelled it at the wrong time, early morning? The big iris do need full sun, but Christopher’s yellow and purple was growing in quite a bit of shade there. I forgot about Blue Eye, it is never open when I go to check with the camera, ever! It may never get its portrait made at this rate.

  13. Randy says:

    Oooooooooohhhhh! I don’t have to tell you that this has been one of my more favorite posts! I loooooooove Iris! I tend to think Semi’s iris is either Siberian or Japanese. The dutch don’t usually have flat leaves do they?

    Hi Randy, thanks so much. Semi’s iris is Japanese, it must be Siberian then, someone else thought so too. That is a good starting point. She has both Dutch and Siberian and all kinds of other stuff. Her purchases are random, like her garden. She is sweet though. 🙂

  14. April says:


    Thanks, April, glad you liked them. 🙂

  15. Tatyana says:

    What a great collection of irises you have Frances! I love that maroon one, what a steal – a buck for such beauty! And the one below it – wonderful! Thank you so much!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. I was with my girlfriend who had no iris at the time. She bought one of everything he had, no names, but they were all in bloom so we could tell what was what. It was quite a bargain.

  16. Frances, these are simply perfect. I’m particularly struck with Lacy Snowflake.

    I’ve had a quick look at Outside Clyde’s. I love the woods!


    Hi Rob, thanks. You have a good eye, Lacy Snowflake is magnificent, very large bloom. Christopher’s saga is quite gripping!

  17. Darla says:

    I have decided that I over water mine! Beautiful Frances..

    Hi Darla, thanks. Over watering would be very bad for these. Do you have the Japanese iris, ensata, they love water?

  18. easygardener says:

    What a beautiful display of Irises. They are such rich looking flowers and I’m amazed at the selection of colours. I wish I had space for them!

    Hi EG, thanks. They are quite a sight. The don’t play well with others, however and when the bloom is over the leaves can get yellowed. I had to move these from a high profile spot in the main view from the house, for I wanted more color there during the off times of the iris. I think they are happiest in a bed of all iris. Mine are in drifts of just that and seem to like it okay for now.

  19. Wow – stunning! There are so sumptuous and exotic.

    Hi Happy, thanks. The blooms are really unique.

  20. Catherine says:

    They are all so pretty, but I really like the last one!
    How long does it take a newly divided iris to bloom? I planted some last year that my sister was getting rid of. The iris’ around here haven’t bloomed yet so I was wondering when I should start seeing buds this year, or if it’ll be another year still.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. Your question is one I would like answered as well. It is said that it takes three years for a divided clump to bloom, and they need divided every three years. Sounds like a recipe for disappointment, doesn’t it? I have given up on growing iris several times, then they have a good year and I relent. A new iris will eventually bloom, but after it gets really overgrown, it will slow down. They like to be fed too, in late winter here. High phosphate.

  21. Brenda Kula says:

    I didn’t realize there were so many lovely shades of irises! But if iris season is coming to a close, that means I’ve only had one single bloom of iris! Surely that can’t be so! I think I need to buy more big clumps of it.

    Hi Brenda, you should see how many colors there are, like daylilies, the breeders have been busy. I only have a small fraction of what is out there and mine are oldies. I would buy them in bloom, if you can find them.

  22. DP says:

    Look at your beautiful irises. I also had no idea they came in so many shades and colors. I am sorry to see that iris season is no more! I do love that mystery iris. The white is very pretty. It looks so dainty!

    Hi DP, thanks. There might still be some blooming in your area. The consensus is the little white is a Siberian type, very easy to grow.

  23. Racquel says:

    You have some gorgeous varieties of Iris in your garden Frances. I really love the colors in ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and the last pass-a-long photo. Iris Season is something to really look forward to!

    Hi Racquel, thanks. Cinnamon Girl has been a really good bloomer over the years too. So nice that it is so pretty too. It looks great with Husker Red.

  24. Robin says:

    Such pretty irises! I couldn’t select a favorite either!

    Hi Robin, thanks. No need to pick a favorite here, we love them all! 🙂

  25. Rusty says:

    What a great collection of Irises, unfortunate they don’t do well in my climate. I can’t pick a favorite.

    Hi Rusty, thanks. I am sorry you can’t grow them, but know there are plenty of things that do very well in your area. 🙂

  26. tina says:

    Hi Frances, I like your irises very much. The orange one has to be my favorite. We share a few of the others. I think that blue one smells a bit like vanilla here, no grape juice for sure. I’ve been marking mine and getting rid of them and editing. Also identifying like you. You probably already know this, but last season a friend of mine gave me several irises. In order to differentiate them she used a marker to write on a leaf. I am doing the same this year for the ones I am donating to a plant sale. It is easy to figure out the colors and no lost tags at all. The markings did not hurt the plant and of course the leaves go away in the winter-after planting is done. It worked well. Tomorrow is a garden day for me-finally. More iris to dig for sure.

    Hi Tina, thanks. The orange one is a standout, very different in color than all the rest. Your method sounds like a good one, losing the tags will be the worry now when the plants die back in the fall. So glad you will get to be in the garden once again, where you belong! 🙂

  27. Sorry Frances. No name other than the “yellow and purple iris” from Bulbarella. That has been the most prolific one of all the iris here, doing well in not quite so much full sun. Hence no troubles giving them away by the sack full. There are still more of them she wants to get rid of. At first she was disgusted and finished with iris altogether, but the last two years of bloom have been so good, now she is ordering more.

    She even saw one at the church she had given away for their relandscaping, having no clue what it was, and wants a start of it back now.

    Yes it is iris season.

    Hi Christopher, love that Bulbarella! Such spunk! My kids were calling me saying where did this iris come from, even my friend Gail had a bag full of them shoved off on her! They are blooming like mad here, no problem from rain or hail or high winds. I love them!

  28. Meems says:

    What a beautiful showing of Irises. So many gorgeous colors. I wonder if all the rain you’ve had helped them? The faire Bulbarella is so unique. Flowers are so dreamy and your garden is so dreamy, too. Very, very nice display.

    Hi Meems, thanks. I do think the rain has had am impact on most of the lush foliage and blooms this spring. Bulbarella is one we should all aspire to being when we grow up. 🙂

  29. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, thanks for leaving a comment at my blog, makes me so happy =) But I did’t understand BTW??? Sorry! You know even if my english is ok I sometimes have problems, particulary with abbrecations like that. BUT I love to learn and that’s why I ask what it meens =) Have a great spring day. I’m heading to town to fetch some more bricks for that wall of ours. That store have a great possition next to a huge Garden center. I might end up going in there to (do you think so?) /gittan

    Dear Gittan, please forgive me. Your English is so good, I forget. BTW means by the way, like an aside to the sentence. That store with the bricks next to the garden center sounds like a frequent destination! Wish I could join you. 🙂

  30. Sweet Bay says:

    Ah, iris season. It’s so wonderful isn’t it? Cinammon Girl is gorgeous and Tiger Honey and Champagne Elegance are beautiful too. Someone may have posted this already but that last iris sure looks like Loreley.

    Oh Sweet Bay, thank you so much for the id! I checked it out and believe you are absolutely correct in the name of Loreley, or Lorelei, or whatever, that’s it! All the iris are wonderful, but they seem to be done blooming now. On to the lilies.

  31. cheryl says:

    Irises, the most wonderous flowers. Beautiful photos June. These give me hope into me own blooms in o maybe a month or so 😀

    Hi Cheryl, thanks. They are truly wonderful. I hope you have a good bloom year for yours as well.

  32. It is Iris season here too Frances. I just love this flower. You have some gorgeous iris for sure. I reallly like the deep red one. I have a white one too but the beards are not as yellow as yours appear.

    Hi Lisa, that’s wonderful. Ours our done now, all but one new one with a bud. Lacy Snowflake is an elegant white with ruffled falls and an almost bluish tint, huge blooms too, a good one.

  33. Peggy says:

    That NOID iris is: Loreley, by Goos & Koenemann,1909
    A nice historic iris.

    Thanks for that Peggy, I believe you are right.

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