Irises Short and Tall

Quickly following on the heels of wisteria-blooming season, it’s iris time! Our garden is glorious with so many varieties. First the California native Douglas Iris emerged.  Relatively small, standing a scant half foot, the flowers are a saturated purple color with brilliant yellow-gold striations.

Douglas iris

Then the Pacific Coast hybrid irises began to open. About the same height as the Douglas Iris, this one has a much flatter broad blossom, with a complex mix of colors.

Pacific Coast hybrid iris

For sheer showiness, you can’t beat a bearded iris. No shorties, these. This blue bearded iris stands about 3 feet tall, and there are three or four flowers on each stalk. The “beard” is white with a dusting of brilliant yellow on top.

Blue bearded iris

The bearded irises in the front garden have grown up alongside a large cactus – I love the contrast of thorned with soft, plain with dazzling, basic green with brilliant blue. George tells me the cactus is an opuntia that Luther Burbank experimented with to be thornless, although this plant has a few thorns.

Blue bearded irises and cactus

Another bearded iris – this one with light brown upright petals or standards and white/light yellow downward curving petals or falls. The beards are bright yellow.

Brown bearded iris

This one has several flowers blooming at once on the same stalk. Other flowers will bloom serially when these fade and curl up, so we’ll have flowers for several weeks.

Brown bearded irises

Most irises don’t have much scent to them, but the large bearded irises we’ve grown, of all colors, have a faint distinctive smell that George and I describe as being like Pez candy.

Are the irises in your garden blooming? What’s your favorite?


4 comments on “Irises Short and Tall

  1. Love them! Bearded irises are my favorite . . . the deeper the blue, the better.

    • Heidi Rand says:

      Tamara, yes! I also love the really dark dark ones. We had one that looked almost black, in sunlight there were shades of deep purple. Amazing. It hasn’t grown back though.

  2. julie says:

    Not only is a Heidi a most accomplished craftswoman, but she takes gorgeous photos. Thank you, this is gorgeous!

  3. Heidi Rand says:

    Oh Julie, you sweet talker! I gotta blame George for growing them, it’s hard to take a bad photo of an incredible flower. And he reminded me that he grew the Douglas Iris from seed — which I gather from his humbly boastful tone is not very easy to do. 🙂

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