Preview: The Other Irises

Look beyond the beard to see the many beautiful faces this genus has to offer

Fine Gardening - Issue 186
Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin'_0806

You know how sometimes at a party or dinner there is that one super-extrovert who so totally dominates the conversation that it is hard to notice or get to know anyone else? In the genus Iris, the role of that ­slightly overbearing, loud personality is played by the bearded irises. Big, flamboyant, and numerous, beardeds can make it hard to get to know the many other irises worth growing. So let’s pause, go to a quieter room, and take a moment to appreciate the other irises. You won’t regret making their acquaintance.

Reticulata irises are the first to bloom

If you hate waiting for spring to arrive and want early flowers, the default option is to plant snowdrops. Please don’t. Yes, snowdrops are early, dainty, and charming, but they’re also tiny and a bit boring. They’re all green and white—or occa­sionally, in what passes for a radical color break in snowdrops, yellowish green and white. I know there are galanthophiles who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for special, rare snowdrops, but let’s be real: The only reason to grow snowdrops is that they bloom so early. If they looked the same but flowered in May, none of us would have ever heard of them.

To read the full article and learn more about reticulata irises, subscribe to receive your digital copy of the newest issue of Fine Gardening magazine. 

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  1. User avater
    DanielTaylorr 02/02/2019

    Good job!

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