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.
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.
Here it mingles with Virginia sweetspire.
It also is thriving in a fairly shady corner amongst hellebores and salvia.
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.
This yellow is also a reblooming iris and came from Ted and Maria through a neighborhood plant exchange.
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.
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.