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?

Crazy about irises!

My mom loved irises – they were her favorite flower, and I share her passion for them.  George finds me the most wonderful assortment of different irises, and many of them just started blooming. The tall bearded irises showed themselves first.  Here’s one of the pure white, just starting to open.

Bearded iris

Bearded iris

And voila! The luxurious white petals are fully open, just a tinge of yellow on what I recently learned is called the beard, hence “bearded iris” (or one official source I found called it “the fuzzy line”) …

The yellow bearded irises started opening next.  Oh, I have to tell you that these bearded irises have the most interesting scent. George and I think they smell a bit like Pez candy. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, a little powdery and with a tinge of bitterness.

Bearded iris

Bearded iris

And a closeup of the interior petals, intriguingly striped, and the fuzzy beard, a more saturated yellow.

A very tight closeup side shot of the wonderful beard – have you ever felt one? They’re so soft!

Next the Douglas Irises started blooming.  They’re natives and are much smaller than the bearded irises.  This is one of my favorites, the purple and gold leaves are very distinctive.

Finally, this dutch iris is still bundled tight.  It’s a cold but sunny morning, so maybe it will warm up and I’ll be able to show you the bloom later this weekend.

Dutch iris

Dutch iris

Whoo-ha! It bloomed, and so here it is ..

Some more photos to add! This is one of my all-time favorites, it’s a Pacific Coast Iris.

The outer petals are the most amazing rich burgundy color, with veining of dark gold.  Here’s a closeup of the flower.

Any irises coming up in your garden?  Tell me your favorites!