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.
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