iris chronicles

mahogany & blush

The mahogany in the foreground is the last of my tall Siberian irises to bloom. The blush, behind it, is the first, but since it is atypically long-blooming, the two bloom cycles overlap to create this stunning combination.

‘Beverly Sills’ (?)

A closer look reveals the orange beard, a little surprise that sets off the blush tones perfectly. I would be happy to find more, besides Alstromeria, utilizing this color combo. This may be ‘Beverly Sills’, but there is a problem with names when it comes to irises. I ordered a collection and was careful to label each rhizome as it was planted. Only one, a white, came true to the picture in the catalog.

a white (’Immortality’)?

It may actually be ‘Immortality’ or it may not, but by any name it is stunningly pure white, opening from an ice blue bud. The collection was also billed as reblooming, and I have not found that to be the case. Oh well…


‘Champagne Elegance’ was supposed to have a pale blue/lavender tint to the standards (upright petals). Guess I will just call it champagne with a little c.


I’m calling this one brass, because the shading of yellow, brown and white give it a shining, brassy look.

two-tone purple

I have lots of these two-toned purple irises. I suspect that after having been tampered with to produce ever more unusual colors, the iris wants to revert to this basic color. I have no concrete proof of this theory, but how else am I to explain the preponderance of purple in a bed that began with many colors represented?

small, deep purple

The first iris to bloom in my garden is this smaller, deep purple bearded, in early May. Now, only a few of the tall ones are left, but the month and a half-long parade has kept things lively. I try to divide just one or two clumps per year, as described here. I use the fence line as a kind of testing ground, to see what colors I will get and where they might work in other beds. The fans of sword shaped leaves make a nice statement, and contrast with other foliar textures. When first transplanted, the blooms can be top-heavy and pull the whole rhizome out of the ground when they fall over. I would suggest staking the bloom stalk in the first year. After that, the rhizomes will begin to form a mat to anchor the flowers. A hard rain can still knock some over: perfect opportunity to cut them for an opulent bouquet to enjoy indoors. They can also be used to great effect singly, in Ikebana style arrangements. The scent is quite delicate and non-perfumy.

I will not be ordering any more irises through the mail, and why should I? We have some of the best growers right here in the Pacific Northwest. Scott did a post on his visit to one of those growers. Go there for more iris love.

7 thoughts on “iris chronicles

  1. I love all those peachy/bronze Iris . I don’t know want has happened to the one you gave me, must be having a rest this year, It’ll pop up next spring.

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