Garden Photo of the Day

A Rainbow Brought to Earth

A diversity of irises for every garden

Today I thought I'd shade some photos of one of the most beautiful groups of plants out there: Irises! Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, irises live up to their name-sake and then some! These are some of my very favorites.

The reticulata group of irises (zones 5 – 9) is a group of species including Iris reticulata and its relatives that grow from small bulbs and bloom early in the spring, the same time or just after snowdrops. In wet, heavy soil, I find they don't last long, but put them in a raised bed or rock garden with dry, sandy soil and they come back every year and even multiply! I love them in the garden, a vase, or as here, in a wine glass.

Iris suaveolens (Zones 4 – 9) is in the bearded iris group, but not much like your normal bearded iris! This tiny thing is only 4 or 5 inches tall, and half of that is flower! 

Japanese water irises (Iris ensata zones 4 – 9) may be the most beautiful irises in the world. Long beloved in Asia, and, as the name implies, happiest in a wet spot, the huge flowers are works of living art. There are many varieties out there, but this is one I grew from seed years ago as the petals just begin to unfurl.

The name roof iris (Iris tectorum, zones 4 – 9) gives away just how tough this plant is! I love the little crest along the tops of the falls and this plant's cheerful ability to grow just about anywhere it gets plenty of sun.

Iris bucharica (zones 5 to 9) is in the Juno group of irises. Most of them are difficult to make happy, but this is the exceptions. Big, strappy leaves that look like a miniature corn plant are topped early in the spring with cheerful white-and-yellow flowers. All it asks is decent drainage and some sun to make a great show every year.

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  1. perenniallycrazy 01/26/2018

    A toast to you and your divine irises Joseph! All beautiful.

  2. jeffgoodearth 01/26/2018

    Beacons of spring, something to look forward to

  3. tennisluv 01/26/2018

    Joseph, the iris photographs you have shared with us are absolutely beautiful. The clarity of your photos is outstanding; awesome photography. Irises are plants I have seldom used in my landscape but now feel that I will be looking for small pockets where I can pop a few in to add a spot of color. From the posting I submitted and you posted, it is obvious I could use some touches of color. Thanks for sharing these photos and getting my mind moving in the direction of using these lovely plants.

  4. tennisluv 01/26/2018

    Fellow GPODers, I have been in contact with Steve Aitken as has Lorraine Robson. It appears Frank has not been blocked but was not happy with an email he received from Steve. I must admit I am not either but here is the final results: Photo pictorials will probably remain at the new maximum, 4 to 5 per day, as Steve feels that should be sufficient to tell the story. It is possible submissions of more than that could be divided into a two day offering. If we want to be able to post more that than, Steve recommends one of us start a Facebook group where we could post as many pictures as we want. He also stated that he hoped we would continue to post and remain as a group on this blog as well, that includes Frank. Like it or not that is our new world and one I think we can work with. Anyone interested in a Facebook Gardening Group? If so, what would we call it?

    1. Maggieat11 01/26/2018

      Yes, that is VERY disappointing news. I am sure few us agree with Steve. It sounds as though this is the beginning of the end of GPOD.....

      1. Vespasian 01/26/2018

        I totally agree, I rarely bother to check out the full post anymore. It has become boring and predictable compared to how it used to be, sad as I used to love it always fresh and interesting, the first thing I looked at most days!

        1. LaurelEm 01/26/2018

          Amateur Garden Design

          1. tennisluv 01/26/2018


          2. Vespasian 01/27/2018

            How about “Many Green Thumbs”, “ I’ll be in the Garden”, “Just dig it” needs to be fun and catchy!

    2. User avater
      PKKing 01/26/2018

      Call me a dinosaur (I'm sure my grandchildren think I am), but I don't use Facebook so wouldn't be able to join that group. This is the first and only forum of this kind I've ever been involved with and I was so enjoying seeing all of Frank's pictures and comments, as well as Kevin's whom I haven't seen posting recently either. I learn so much from you all. The iris photos today are lovely and cheerful, and I'm grateful for that.

      1. Maggieat11 01/28/2018

        I don't use Facebook either; have heard too many issues with it ... the GPOD was perfect for me and I so enjoyed seeing others' personal gardens, gardens they did for others, favorite plants... it will be sorely missed by me... first thing I liked to check out in the morning when I had time!!

    3. chelleisdiggin 01/26/2018

      Would love a Facebook Gardening Group as it will give us more freedom to post what we love. I am on Facebook as Michelle Ryan Podolak, Sonya. Please include me if these plans move forward. I have learned so much and gotten so much enjoyment from this group of wonderful gardeners.

      1. tennisluv 01/27/2018

        send a friend request on facebook to Lilian Ho, Frank Greenhalgh, or Lorraine Robson.

    4. jeffgoodearth 01/26/2018

      I am already an obnoxious over poster on FB and Instagram, not sure the world could stomach much more from me

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 01/26/2018

        Now, Jeff, when it comes to your sharing pictures of your landscaping on Facebook, your many fans are gluttons! I admire and appreciate your generosity.

      2. User avater
        LindaonWhidbey 01/26/2018

        Never get bored with your postings, Jeff.

      3. cynthiamccain 01/26/2018

        Oh yes we could!

      4. tennisluv 01/26/2018

        Jeff always enjoy your comments and having them in two places would be like Double Mint Gum; twice as much fun.

    5. LaurelEm 01/26/2018

      As far as a facebook page name, maybe call it "Facebook, Private Gardens"? or Personal Gardens or Amateur Garden Design

    6. User avater
      DawnMT 01/26/2018

      Hi Sonya, I am fairly new to this gardening group. I do not know who Steve is, but I noticed right away that Kevin and Frank have not been posting. I really enjoyed reading what they had to say...and especially enjoyed their photos. Please let them know they are missed.

    7. azulverde 01/26/2018

      Garden Gnomes and Fairies? Gnomes are humanoid creatures who live under the ground representing the men who like to work the soil and thus closely related to it. A character in old French romance, "fee", a fairie was a woman skilled in magic and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs. I'm sure the women in this group possess the magic of bringing forth beautiful plants and flowers.

    8. cynthiamccain 01/26/2018

      Never good at coming up with good names or passwords, but count me in.

  5. chelleisdiggin 01/26/2018

    I'm a fan of the 'beardies" my grandmother always referred to as 'Flags". Such charming varieties here, Joseph.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/26/2018

    I, too, am a great fan of iris and these are some particularly lovely photos, Joseph, showing their delicate but intricate blooms. I have fallen in love with some of the fall reblooming varieties. It gives me an extra tickle of delight to see a tall stem start shooting up in Sept. and then have the fun of the glorious flower opening up with fading hydrangea heads as a backdrop.

  7. greengenes 01/26/2018

    Good morning! What a subject today! I love iris and you have given us a few to salivate over! They are such a reminder of past gardens with my grandparents. I do grow bearded, japanese and the reticulatas and look forward to them every year. I do find the bearded ones seem to dont do well here when we have such a wet winter. Thanks for bringing some excitement into this dark and dreary day here in the pacific northwest!

  8. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

    I, too, am disappointed in the new limit of five photos. When I see pictures of lovely home gardens I want to see as many as possible. I can go online and see pictures of public gardens any time, but the joy of this site is being able to walk through the gardens of "real people". The former format of GPOD reminded me of my old favorite show on television - "Gardeners Diary". Two of the greatest joys of gardening for me are touring other peoples' gardens and having them tour mine. Limiting the number of photos to five and eliminating the "story" posted by the gardener has (in my opinion) removed the charm of this site.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 01/26/2018

      Oh, a Gardener's Diary was appointment tv for me. I also loved the show that usually followed it that seemed to "star" a lovely Canadian lady, Kathy Renwald (?). I guess I foolishly thought those tv shows would go on forever because I rarely video taped them. Now I regret that. Sometimes, I would call my husband in to see a particularly special wooden or metal project done by the visited gardener's husband and hoped it would plant a seed of inspiration. Thanks for reminding me of those wonderful shows, Susan. I think I need to check if episodes or clips are available on youtube or any of the other video services.

      1. tennisluv 01/26/2018

        We did not have that particular one available in the Atlanta but we did have a couple of gardening shows that I never missed, even before the garden bug hit me full force. I love the home improvement shows but wish we could have at least one garden show on HGTV, et al, to watch.

        1. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

          Hello Sonya - yes, sadly HGTV is now HTV.

        2. cynthiamccain 01/26/2018

          Amen, that!

      2. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

        Hello Michelle - I had recorded nearly all the episodes of Gardener's Diary when I lived in Florida, but they were on the Comcast DVR and I lost them when I moved. I was so sad. HGTV owns the rights to the show and to my knowledge has not released any episodes to which they have rights. You can, however, find a few on YouTube. The last time I checked Gardener's Diary was not available on any other video service. The hostess of Gardener's Diary was Erica Glasener and she currently lives in Atlanta and keeps very involved with gardening. I attended one of her lectures a few years ago and she was delightful and informative.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 01/26/2018

          Hi, again, Susan. Hmm, HGTV has their world headquarters in Knoxville which is the main city near where I live. Maybe I should march outside with a sign that says "Release the Gardener's Diary Shows" . Oh, and not that it's any big deal but my real name is spelled Michaele (pronounced MaKay'lah) ...not Michelle. You are not alone in thinking it's the latter. And I have the nicknames of Mikey and Mike. Doing yearly Christmas cards is kind of like my own little dementia I remember the name used for me by whomever I am sending the card to. So far, I keep passing the test!

          1. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

            Michaele - I'm so sorry for my mistake. I should have known better by now. I always love to read your comments. It might not be a bad idea to see if you could talk to someone at HGTV in person. If they realized how much and how many people loved Gardener's Diary, they might be willing to air some of the re-runs in the wee hours of the morning. That would be a fine solution since we all have recorders these days.

          2. User avater
            meander_michaele 01/26/2018

            No problem about the name's been the story of my life! I wonder if HGTV is aware of the pent up demand for running repeat episodes of those gardening shows. Erica and Kathy both had such a gentle manner and they generously showed such sincere appreciation for whatever garden they visited. They always let the gardener and the garden be the "star". Your idea about rerunning them in the off hours is a great idea...esp. with the ease of dvr-ing. I wish I knew a bigwig at HGTV.

          3. user-7007498 01/27/2018

            You go girl, Michaele. Maybe we create a march on Knoxville. It is so sad HGTV dropped gardening from their programming.

        2. tennisluv 01/26/2018

          The joy in living in Atlanta is that I occasionally get to hear Erica Glasener on a Saturday morning radio program - The Lawn and Garden Show with Walter Reeves on WSB 95.5 from 7:00 to 10:00 am and she is a contributing an expert advisor on Southern Livings Plant Collection website.

      3. user-3565112 01/26/2018

        Good morning Meander, I believe The Gardeners Diary might be available on a site called I googled a gardeners diary & a youtube site with Ms. Reinwald came up & they talked about that site Gardeners Journal . They have a trial offer at this time..
        Good luck, Joe

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 01/26/2018

          Thanks, Joe. I'll have to check that out.

          1. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

            Michaele - I checked out and it is only available in Canada and offers Canadian and British garden shows. Gardener's Journal with Ms. Reinwald is a Canadian production while Gardener's Diary is an American production.

    2. tennisluv 01/26/2018

      I don't think we should abandon this blog as there is so much joy among the followers. However, I think adding a facebook garden blog will give us another outlet for everyone's gardening bug.

    3. user-7007498 01/27/2018

      Susan, you have brought by fond memories for me of Gardener's Diary. I loved that show so much, and so wish there was a way to see it again. You brought a smile to my face just thinking about it.

  9. user-3565112 01/26/2018

    Good morning everyone, I have no idea about the level of effort required or expense involved with keeping GPOD viable. But, I do believe,, as subscribers, we are at least owed an explanation from Fine Gardening about their future plans. Mr. Aiken's suggestion about the Facebook alternative Is not exactly "Let them eat cake" it indicates further changes are coming. .
    In keeping with today's theme seeing your gardens & sharing the stories you have all posted have been in thte morning "Like a rainbow coming round the bend" (Judy Collins" For me you all came along at a rough time in my life & while I am hopeful this continues ,if not, I am grateful for what I've received from all of you.
    Good luck to you all, Joe

    1. SteveA 01/26/2018

      Hi Joe -- and everyone.
      I suggested forming a Facebook group, or a group on another platform, not as a "Let them eat cake" but as a "You can have your cake and eat it, too." If someone creates a group, they can dictate what gets posted, how much, when and by whom. And you can still be a part of GPOD. You get the GPOD, and then you can go to the group to do whatever it is that you can't do here. I offer the suggestion to be helpful, not to show anyone the door.
      I sent an email to Joseph saying that I don't really care how many photos are posted, and to let the quality of the content as he sees it be the guide. That said, 10 photos is a lot for a daily email. An article in Fine Gardening rarely gets that many. The "3 to 5" thing came from me, and I meant it as a good gauge of how long a daily email should be. But again, we will let the quality be the judge.
      More changes? We are moving to a new platform. Everything should be the same, as far as I know. If you visit the Beta site, you will see what it looks like. The comments aren't there yet, but they will be once the site goes live. No other changes have been discussed or are desired.

      1. jeffgoodearth 01/26/2018

        whew, I haven't seen this much going on since the days of tractor1 :)

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 01/26/2018

          Ha, it's fun to be an "old timer" who remembers the tractor1 hullabaloo.. And, of course, Frank is definitely no tractor1 since the latter was prone to over critiquing other people's contributions. Frank has always been a very positive contributor.

        2. toweringpines 01/26/2018

          OMG I miss Tractor too. whatever happened to him?

          1. jeffgoodearth 01/26/2018

            I don't miss him at all

          2. Meelianthus 01/26/2018

            I think he moved to 'Strangeville'.

          3. sheila_schultz 01/27/2018

            Towering Pines... I have opposite feelings about tractor1. His posts over time were almost always mean spirited in print. He caused many contributors to leave GPOD and most of his comments made me incredibly sad. I don't miss his anger and hatefulness at all.

        3. Meelianthus 01/26/2018

          You are too funny Jeff, guess I must be an 'old timer' too as I remember the old tractor1 guy and his disparaging tongue

          1. jeffgoodearth 01/26/2018

            I was attacked on an almost daily basis

      2. edithdouglas 01/26/2018

        I liked it the way it was, so thanks to all who contributed to that incarnation. It was fun!

      3. user-3565112 01/26/2018

        Hi Steve, I apologize for my comment & want to thank you for of what is going on with GPOD
        Thank you & good luck, Joe

      4. user-3565112 01/26/2018

        Pleas excuse typo in last message...I
        Imeant to say thank you for explaining what is going on with GPOD..

      5. NWAgardener 01/26/2018

        Hello Steve - I think before making changes it's wise to ask for input from your "customers". You could ask those of us who follow the blog daily what we like best about GPOD, what we like least, what could be improved, as well as helpful suggestions. I understand when you serve a large audience you cannot make everyone happy, but people like to feel they have input. I, for one, have suggested that contributors identify the plants in their photos, as it's frustrating to fall in love with a plant you are unable to identify. There are some highly accomplished gardeners that contribute to this blog as well as many beginners. That is the joy - to teach, learn, share! I hope you will take a step back and reassess your decisions so we can keep our current followers and encourage new ones. Thank you

      6. user-7007498 01/27/2018

        Thank you, Steve, for responding to the group. I understand that a print article needs to limit the number of photos, but I disagree that a daily email blog should have that limit. To tell the story well, it is nice to have overview photos, as well as closeups of plants. It is hard to do that with 5 pictures or less.

        Remember, on GPOD, the PHOTOS are the story, while in a FG article, the photos enhance the story (written).

        Thanks for listening.

        1. user-3565112 01/27/2018

          Good afternoon Kevin,I dont't know if you saw my suggestion to Meander. There is a Netflix type service called Hortus TV that features old garden shows. The intro. is by Ms. Renwald of Gardeners Journal. They have a free iintro. offer but I have not been able to connect. My grandson will be here tomorrow. I'll ask him to handle it & let you know what's up if you'd like. Good luck, Joe

        2. Maggieat11 01/28/2018

          Well said, Kevin. Thank you.

      7. [email protected] 01/28/2018

        How does one "visit the Beta site"? Guess I am more tech-ignorant than I realized...

  10. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 01/26/2018

    It’s been interesting reading all of these comments today since I’ve been feeling pretty sad about Steve Aitken’s letter to Frank resulting in Frank giving up on the blog. It’s obvious that FG has no idea how committed all of us are to this blog and the friendships that have evolved around it. It allows us to see gardens from all over the world created by real people and to learn how they solve the same gardening problems that we deal with in our own gardens. Many of us only subscribe to FG to have access to this blog. Have they thought about that?

  11. user-7009049 01/26/2018

    Is there a technical reason for limiting the photos to 5? Sure hope Frank reconsiders and returns to the blog. I've never posted pics. of my Sonoma, CA garden, but read the blog every day. Live to dig in the dirt...

  12. toweringpines 01/26/2018

    I am pretty much a troll, seldom post.
    Steve, please do what you can to get Frank back on board.
    Even if it means a little grovelling.
    Gardeners are nice people and I like to start my day with a BLOG that is fun,interesting and positive before I read the news.

  13. user-4691082 01/26/2018

    I don’t want to join Facebook. I spent too much of my day scrolling. I don’t want to have to look at one more thing in the morning besides my 10000 emails. I miss Frank and Kevin. If there was a blog I could join, I would. Just not Facebook. Too many people posted on my page and I felt guilty if I didn’t respond to them, which you can’t do if you don’t get on. I didn’t mention I was on Facebook, but closed my account due to the above. I won’t subscribe to FG anymore if there isn’t a blog and if there is only one on Facebook, I will sadly say goodbye.

    1. Imagardener2 01/28/2018

      I totally agree, Rhonda. I don't trust Facebook anymore. And I find I spend way to much time on it if I go there. There are too many ads on it.

  14. btucker9675 01/26/2018

    The irises make me happy - had many varieties in my garden in NJ and have started putting them in here in the Charlotte area. Having to amend the soil because it's totally clay. The changes to FG make me sad as this is something I look forward to every day. I am also not a FB person because of all of the "junk" that abounds...

  15. Meelianthus 01/26/2018

    Beautiful iris photos Joseph and the bouquet is just charming.

  16. tennisluv 01/26/2018

    In case you missed it yesterday when Lorraine posted it (I did), please pass this along: "Lilian Ho has set up a "Colour of Plants" album on Facebook to which she, Frank, and I will be contributing. If you and any of the GPOD community wish to see it and/or participate, please send a Facebook "friend request" to Lilian Ho, Frank Greenhalgh, or Lorraine (I'm the one with the pink peonies photo on Facebook)." I have already on and posting. Thanks Lillian for getting it started so quickly.

  17. user-7009050 01/26/2018

    I used to post to the discussion before it went to disqus. I'm an oldie to this blog also and while I don't miss Tractor 1; I do miss Frank and Kevin. I also wish we could have more than 5 photos, maybe 7??? I'm looking for the Facebook group. I'll still continue to read GPOD and I appreciate it, but it seems like the fun is gone out of it; at least for now.

    1. tennisluv 01/27/2018

      Send a friend request on facebook to Lilian Ho, Frank Greenhalgh, or Lorraine Robson.

  18. User avater
    Vel Rhodes 01/26/2018

    Beautiful photos of Iris! I guess I must have missed some of the discussions as I am just now finding out that we have lost some contributors. I hope that we can get back on track as I really enjoy all of the photos and remarks. Can anyone tell me if I have to re-sign up when the site goes to beta? Or will I automatically be included. I will definitely try to join the new FB blog. Thanks!

  19. grannieannie1 01/27/2018

    I'm interested in a Facebook home garden group also.

    1. tennisluv 01/27/2018

      Send a friend request to Lilian Ho, Frank Greenhalgh, or Lorraine Ronson.

  20. caroldt 01/27/2018

    Joseph, I love love the iris photos and your exuberant joy in growing them. My mom always loved irises and the picture of you with a big smile holding a handful of them made me smile.

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