Northern Shade Gardening

Iris Flowers

Thursday, June 24, 2010 Category: Perennials

The gorgeous Iris flowers add a colour boost to my garden in June. Although the bloom time is brief, they make a multi-hued splash when they appear. I cherish the classic shape of their flowers and the delicate look of the petals with ruffled edges. These are the tall bearded Iris, rising above many other plants, and commanding attention. All of my Iris are mysteries, or a cross between mysteries.

Iris yellow and purple collage

Iris yellow and purple collage

Here is a collage of my unknown yellow and purple Iris. This Iris is very adaptable, and so I have divided and planted the rhizomes in many different beds around the garden. It grows well in any light from shade to sun. I have it in bloom for about six weeks around the garden because of the different light exposures, starting in the warmest sunny area, and ending in the shadiest. The original plants were one of the few in the garden when I moved in, so I don’t know the name of it, but it came in handy early on when I would be making a new bed, and needed some plants. I took advantage of this accommodating and fast growing perennial by planting it with many companions in new garden beds.

The falls (lower petals) are a maroon purple with white lines, and the standards (upper petals) are a beautiful butter yellow. It is not my favourite colour combination, as I would have picked a different shade for the falls, but it is now the most plentiful in the garden, because of its easy nature. The yellow and purple petals create these large displays of blooms in June, and turns the area around my deck into a sunny coloured garden patch. When I look out the window, I see all these blooms rising above the deck, and catch my breath.

The iris on the end of the bed are surrounded by some tall Campanula glomerata (clustered bellflowers) that are just opening their buds, as you can see in the top photo above. The bottom photo in the collage shows  some annual blue lobelia that grow on the right. The Campanula glomerata are gorgeous when the flowers open to bloom with the iris, but are not attractive when they are done flowering. This bellflower is too vigorous as well, so I make sure to deadhead after flowering.

Iris blue flowers

Iris blue flowers

This second Iris has a solid blue flower. Again, it is an unknown, and just appeared in my garden about six years ago. The falls and standards are the same colour, a slightly purplish blue. It has a golden beard at the base of the falls, with some white around the beard. The standards are a little ruffled, with a delicate network of veins showing on the petals as the light shines through. In the morning, as they catch the light, they appear to glow from within.

Iris bitone blue purple flowers

Iris bitone blue purple flowers

This Iris is a gorgeous cross that happily appeared in my garden last year. It is most likely a cross between the other two, but it is not giving its secrets away. This has my favourite Iris colours, dark purple blue falls and light purple blue standards. In some light it is more blue like bottom left  photo, and sometimes more purple like the bottom right picture. The velvety falls have a beautiful pattern of white lines around the bright golden beard. The contrast between delicate, ruffled petals and deep velvety ones is very appealing. I adore Iris in this colour combination, so I’m glad to see that the clump is strong and increasing in size this year. I will be dividing and planting this one around the garden. Last year, the pink peony behind just missed blooming together with this Iris. However the peony buds are large already,  so perhaps the flowering times will overlap  this year. There are more pictures of iris in this previous post, and photos of the bitone iris in this post.

You can see how these iris combine with peony flowers in this followup post. Some flowers bring joy all season, and some bloom for a shorter period. The Iris flowers are sparing with their bloom time, but overly generous with their luxurious petals and beautifully classic shape.

32 Responses to “Iris Flowers” »

  1. Marnie :
    June 24, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Beautiful iris. I just got a new catalog from Wilds with some pretty new iris listed. I’ve been thinking of adding one or two new varieties.
    Marnie

  2. Northern Shade :
    June 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Marnie, I often see some beautiful ones offered, but haven’t picked up any new ones, since I have so many. There are some pretty two toned blue and purple iris that are tempting.

  3. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    June 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Such beautiful pictures! You have the nicest suprises in your garden, I only seem to get surprise weeds. The bottom iris is my favorite too, but the others are lovely and are so nice with the glomerata. I have been thinking of irises this morning too, my first ever germanica bloom has opened and I am awestruck! Such lovely colours in your beds, they are always so calming.

  4. Northern Shade :
    June 24, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Rebecca, that iris was the nicest volunteer I’ve ever had. I only let the C. glomerata grow because I like it with the iris, and then with the pink peony flowers that come soon. I deadhead it quickly after flowering, and then cut it back, or it tries to take over.

  5. Laura :
    June 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Those are some beautiful colours together. The violet blue colour is so saturated.

  6. Northern Shade :
    June 24, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Laura, the newest iris has a very deep velvety texture to the lower petals, because of the saturated colour. I like the violet blue bellflower with them too.

  7. Dave :
    June 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Much to my surpise, I’ve been developing an iris affection too. I suspect German iris were too common when I was a kid, and perhaps a bit too effusive, but they were never my cuppa tea. However, friends keep giving me offsets and they do add such a nice touch for a week or two (if the rain doesn’t batten them down too much).

    My other attempts at iris-husbandry have resulted in nothing like your spectacular German iris displays, but I have planted and enjoyed small patches of Iris versicolor and am among that small clique of black-thumb gardeners that have managed to kill off and miss the weedy Iris pseudacoris (more appreciated for its outstanding grass-like vegetation than its ephemeral yellow flowers). I do okay with the Iris setosa canadensis varieties – very much the wildflower – but otherwise my Iridaceae appreciation has been limited to summer bulbs (crocosmia, ixia, freesia in pots or small, sunny nooks) and vague longings for the far-too-expensive ‘The Iris Family’ by Manning & Goldblatt. Of course, there is the only Edmonton-hardy gladiolus, Gladiolus imbricatus, just getting ready to bloom, but that is just a family relation, not a real Iris.

  8. Northern Shade :
    June 24, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Dave, I have a lot of iris, for never actually having chosen these. I just keep dividing and transplanting them, or they spread, or have voluntarily seeded. I didn’t appreciate the yellow one at first, but it is undeniably cheery and sunny. Planted en masse, it makes a brief but extremely showy display.

    The little Iris reticulata of early spring did very well this year, but they faded out in my last garden, so it will be interesting to see how they do next year.

  9. Kathleen :
    June 25, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Oh my ~ I LOVE the lined falls of the first Iris! I don’t have any like that, all mine are solid colors. They’re also done for the year. boo hoo. Enjoy your gorgeous specimens. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for some like them.

  10. Northern Shade :
    June 25, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Kathleen, I like those striations covering the falls, too. The third iris inherited them, but not as many. Since the yellow iris will even bloom in shade, I have them in bloom for quite a while, and they’re still growing strong.

  11. Joy :
    June 26, 2010 at 5:59 am

    My goodness ! these pictures would convert the most stoic non iris ? gardener ! LOL
    They are absolutely beautiful .. I have that perfect love when the iris near the rain barrel bloom .. they are just little ones but perfection in my eyes being their mom ? haha
    These are gorgeous and YES ! that method of placing them in different parts of the garden with different light values is the trick to seeing them bloom much longer : )
    Gorgeous presentation Northern Shade : )
    Joy

  12. Northern Shade :
    June 26, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Joy, thanks, I love the extravagant petals of iris, so beautifully arranged. Plus, you can choose them in a rainbow of colours, if you don’t just wait for them to volunteer, like many of mine.

  13. waltraud :
    June 26, 2010 at 9:40 am

    wonderful your iris, this beautiful blue color.
    was a few days in Berlin, great weather, we took home with.
    Tomorrow we grill.
    Keep you the thumb, which progresses in its football tonight!

    LG waltraud

  14. Dirty Girl Gardening :
    June 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Those iris are gorgeous! I’ve never seen the speckles like that before…. very cool .

  15. Northern Shade :
    June 26, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Waltraud, the blues are my favourite iris colour. I tend to add some blue flowers to just about every garden bed.
    Enjoy the weekend grill, and good luck to your team in the next football match.

    DGG, the lines on the falls give them a little pizazz. They are like the runway lines leading the bees in for a landing.

  16. Marit :
    June 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

    They are so lovely! I think they are so beautyful with all their different colors. I have many irises in my garden, but I wish they lasted a little bit longer!

  17. Northern Shade :
    June 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Marit, I know what you mean, as I’m always a little disappointed when the bed of iris around my deck stops flowering. Thankfully, that’s when the many Campanula around the garden start to bloom, so there is always the next flower to look forward to.

  18. Köögikata :
    June 27, 2010 at 2:44 am

    This your first iris is newcomer in my garden. I like it very much too! I have one very big one, what I love even more. As bequest from mother-in-law I earlier had only violet low early iris (it might be Dorothea) and now blooming light yellow one. Later got from friend early yellow too (Sun Fairy should it be). And that’s all. But I’d like much more too. ;o) Tough as I have only few small and very crowded flowerbeds near flat-house. Luckily I am gardener in very big garden and can admire and plant some beautiful flowers there. This spring bought for him 2 new irises: White Knight and Loop the Loop. Am so much looking forward for seeing them blooming soon. :o)
    I’m glad I found your blog, so interesting to read about gardening in other countries. :o)
    Sorry about my spelling mistakes.

  19. Northern Shade :
    June 27, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Köögikata, I saw on your blog that we have the same yellow iris. About half of my iris are done blooming, and I was busy deadheading, removing the flowers that were done, yesterday. I have over a hundred of the yellow iris. When in bloom, they make a very showy group.

    I’m glad you visited. It’s fun to see what is growing in other peoples’ gardens.

  20. The Garden Ms. S :
    June 27, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I think of irises as such regal flowers. Yours are beautiful. Their blooms are gorgeous albeit fleeting but well worth it because the leaves continue on as a lovely vertical accent in the garden.

  21. Northern Shade :
    June 27, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, I love the classic shape of the curving standards and falls. I must have about 11 m (36 ft) of iris around two sides of my patio and my deck. There are a lot of flowers at their peak.

  22. Marie :
    June 27, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I just love this flower too, they are beautiful :)

  23. Mariana :
    June 27, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Villka vackra iris du har.
    Jag har inte så många ännu.
    Tycker mycket om dina syrener.
    Du verkar vara ordningsam som samlar så mycket information om dina växter.
    Kul att du tittade in till mej så jag kunde hitta hit.
    Mariana
    (Swedish)

  24. Northern Shade :
    June 27, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Marie, they are elegant flowers, poised on top of those long stems.

    Mariana, thanks for visiting. Iris do make a rainbow of colour. I had to cut the last faded blooms off of the lilacs, but really enjoyed them while they were out. Yes, I do like to keep records. I have to measure and record everything in the garden, :)

  25. Sigrun :
    June 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hi, the first Iris I have had in the garden for years, and I have known the name but know I have forgotten it. This Iris is healthy and very good in the garden! Now I have only one yellow Iris in the garden, my soil is too heavy and too wet.

    Sigrun

  26. Northern Shade :
    June 28, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Sigrun, the yellow iris has increased well for me, and I find I can even plant it in shade, and it still gets a good number of flowers.

  27. Marie Rubrich :
    March 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I love these photographs. They are stunning! I am 54 years old and have never seen better! They are very enjoyable.

  28. Zoey Foster :
    March 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOVE THESE PHOTOS! They are astonishing. They inspire me to be a professional photographer. These photographers are very,very,very,talented, of course that’s just my opinion. What led me to this wonderful website was my state project poster on Tennessee. Again these photos are very,very,beautiful,wonderous,and inspiring to me…I love them!

  29. Northern Shade :
    March 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Marie Rubrich, thank you. Iris are very photogenic plants, with such an elaborately beautiful petal structure, and gorgeous colours. The garden really comes alive in late spring when all of them are blooming in waves.

  30. Northern Shade :
    March 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Zoey Foster, thanks. Iris are fun to take pictures of, because they look great up close, and also from a distance when they are in large groups. Up close, you can see the beautiful details in the petals, and delicate colours.

  31. Kathy :
    October 18, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Amazing iris, they just look beautiful, Thank you for sharing.

  32. Northern Shade :
    October 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Kathy, the iris are really the centre of attention when they bloom in the garden.

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