Early May Vignettes And Blooms – Iris

Here is a look at the irises in the first half of May.

An invasive aster overran my iris bed in the northern border many years ago. I had been able to keep it somewhat under control but for three recent years I was pretty absent from the garden and the aster has been strangling the iris. This iris was yanked up last year trying to extricate it from the aster and I was relieved this spring to find it had survived the move to its new location. All this bare mulched border is where the aster has been cleaned up this spring. The iris came with me when we moved to this house in May 2001. It was a gift from my across-the-street neighbor Henrietta circa 1977. It is much smaller than the larger, fancy hybrids available these days. I really like its delicate nature. A similar red one has disappeared, so I’m trying hard to take care of this one.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Passalong from Henrietta-Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Passalong from Henrietta-Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

This next one, also a Henrietta passalong, is blooming in the northern border too and apparently I have moved it to several other spots in the garden. The standards look white in the first photo but in the next appear more distinctly violet.  I’m pretty sure it is the same iris.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Here it mingles with Virginia sweetspire.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris) and Itea virginica ‘Sprich’ LITTLE HENRY (Virginia sweetspire)

It also is thriving in a fairly shady corner amongst hellebores and salvia.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Although the photo is from April 21 this Henrietta passalong is still blooming.  Very tall, with large flowers, normally it is the first iris to bloom each spring—it was late this year.  I relegated it to the side garden soon after the first year we lived here. I objected to the way the bold yellow clashed fiercely with many of the pink peonies and roses in the other borders. Along the side of the house the strong yellow works better with purples of clematis and baptisia, and rosemary.

The next two irises frame the south end of the southern border, passalongs from Cathy, friend and former neighbor in my current neighborhood. The flowers are huge and command attention. The white one is an autumn rebloomer.

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

Iris germanica (Tall bearded iris)

This yellow is also a reblooming iris and came from Ted and Maria through a neighborhood plant exchange.

Iris – A Passalong

Another iris brought from our former home, this pale yellow iris came from my sister-in-law. She referred to it as a Japanese iris, although I’m not sure it really is.  It is a small form iris, gentle and subtle and was the last to bloom this year.

Kathleen’s Japanese Iris

Dutch iris; Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’, ‘Batik’, and ‘Orinoco Flow’; and Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) all finished blooming before before May. A new batch of Dutch Iris Hollandica ‘Discovery’ was planted last week.

15 thoughts on “Early May Vignettes And Blooms – Iris

  1. Kris Peterson

    What a beautiful collection! I’m very impressed that you’ve kept some of them going strong since the 1970s. I had a few in one of my backyard borders which have disappeared, possibly also due to an out-of-control aster. As thankful as I am for decent rainfall we had the last 2 winters, I think it’s responsible for sending the aster, advertised as “manageable” in low-water settings, into hyper-drive.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Kris. The roots on my ill-chosen aster interwine with every other plant in the border. I’ve completely dug that iris border once. There seems to be no way to kill the aster. Hope your aster will be easier to handle.

      Reply
  2. Kristin

    I love your irises! I have the purple/violet one passed along from my m-i-l. I had it in two different beds, but this year it has appeared in a completely new bed, and I KNOW I didn’t transplant anything from either of those other areas. A mystery. I also have a yellow similar to your smaller late yellow, and it smells deliciously lemony. I’m thrilled to see the Spiderwort in a photo, as I have a love hate relationship with mine. Seeing it here makes me feel better about having it.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Kristin, that’s so interesting you’re seeing your iris spread around. Hmm! I do remember planting mine in a couple of places. The only relationship to have with spiderwort is love-hate as far as I can tell. I’ve known it from childhood where it never spread or even thrived particularly. I brought it “on purpose” to my current garden but here it’s become a beast. The bees love it though so there’s that consolation.

      Reply
  3. tonytomeo

    That white iris is rad! I think there are three white iris here, but one is sort of grayish, which is not very appealing. Perhaps someone thought that pure white was too bright. I do not know.

    Reply
      1. tonytomeo

        As you are likely aware, white is not a good color to favor. We are fortunate here that white works will in the darkly forested parts of the landscapes. Otherwise, too much white in a sunny landscape can get rather bland. I leave the selection of color to others. I am just no good at it.

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