Garden Photo of the Day

Bearded Iris, Part 2

More incredible bearded irises from a California garden

Stuart Boone recently sent in some photos of the many incredible bearded irises in his friend, Mary’s, garden in Red Bluff, California. If you missed the first post, it is here. Today, he’s shared another set of these over-the-top flowers that are so appropriately named after the goddess of the rainbow!

This variety is called ‘Coastal Memories’ and what a perfect name! The nearly white petals flush to purple at their bases, creating a dramatic combination of colors that demands closer inspection.

There are many varieties of bearded iris that are such a dark purple they are nearly black, as here. Often these very dark colors can get lost in the garden, so they can be best appreciated in a vase (bearded iris make wonderful cut flowers). Or one can place them, as here, where they are back-lit by the sun to show off their rich pigmentation.

‘Mary Francis’ is one of the many delicate, pale blue bearded iris varieties.

‘Mr. Moonlight’ has incredible, absolutely pure white flowers. The form and shape of these blooms also epitomizes what we have seen in modern bearded iris breeding. Older varieties tend to have thinner petals with flat, plain edges. Newer hybrids, like this, have thicker, more substantial petals, and extravagant ruffles and frills on the petal edges. Which you prefer is a matter of taste. If you like these ruffled forms, look for varieties introduced after around 1995. For plainer forms, look for historical varieties, especially those introduced before the 1960s and ’70s. Sometimes, the best place to find older varieties is in the gardens of friends, as many of them are no longer sold in catalogs.

‘Over Alaska’ constrasts rich blue falls (lower petals) to the white-veined-with-pale-blue standards (upper petals.)

‘Shenanigan’ is a very unusually colored iris — mixing peach and purple to absolute perfection!

‘Splashacata’ is well named, as the falls look like that’ve been splashed over with a cloud of tiny specks of purple paint.


Have a garden you’d like to share?


Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

Have a mobile phone? Tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

You don’t have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here.

View Comments


  1. Maggieat11 03/29/2018

    Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  2. flowerladydi 03/29/2018

    Gorgeous!!!! Each and Every One!!!

  3. garden1953 03/29/2018

    Very beautiful. Would love an overview of her gardens!

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/29/2018

    Ah, my, with all these gorgeous frills and flounces, I feel transported back to a grand ball in early times... the ladies in their colorful dresses with tiers of ruffles.
    Your photos are spectacular, Stuart, and I'm especially glad you caught the dark purple ones brought so alive by the right lighting.

  5. User avater
    PKKing 03/29/2018

    I totally agree with you Michaele. The lighting in the photos helps you see each gorgeous petal to its maximum and really appreciate its beauty.

  6. cheryl_c 03/29/2018

    Hi, Stuart, great job on your photos this morning, and I appreciate your identifying each of the varieties - you must have many, and I admire your being able to keep track of the different names. The colors of these this morning certainly are fitting for the species name as the goddess of the rainbow!

  7. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 03/29/2018

    Gosh, darnit, Stuart. You're making me regret banishing german iris from my garden. I want to bury my nose in every one of these!

  8. [email protected] 03/29/2018

    I inherited a pile of compost, and now there is iris-type foliage emerging. Can't wait to see what they turn out to be. Hopefully, some as beautiful as these!

  9. btucker9675 03/29/2018

    I am consumed with envy... the irises I put in last fall sent up very robust foliage, but show no signs of any blooms... maybe next year? I'm still in the learning process of gardening here in N.C. versus northern NJ (where it seemed I could just toss irises anywhere and they would be off to the races) and it hasn't been easy!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest