In A Vase On Monday: Iris In Bloom

May 4, 2015 garden 031


When the weather finally warms, the Iris spring into action by sending up wonderful thick stalks of fragrant, intensely colored buds.  I’ve loved Iris of all sorts since childhood.  My parents once received several grocery bags full of Iris fans from a friend who bred them.


May 4, 2015 garden 004


He was thinning his patch, and gave us the most wonderfully scented varieties we had ever experienced.  We planted them all around our home, and my parents tried to move a few of each variety every time they moved thereafter.  Some gardens are better for Iris than others, but they left a legacy of beautiful Iris everywhere they lived.


First blooms of Iris established in this new bed last summer.  The golden Iris is I. 'Harvest of Memories,' which reblooms in our climate.

First blooms of Iris established in this new bed last summer. The golden Iris is I. ‘Harvest of Memories,’ which re-blooms in our climate.


Iris need full sun and relatively rich soil.  They want their roots moist but their rhizomes somewhat exposed and dry.  Those rhizomes creep and expand the clumps over time if they are sited where they are happy, and so there is a constant supply of rooted fans to chop off and share or spread to other parts of the garden.


Re-blooming Iris I. 'Rosalie Figge' and I. 'Lunar Whitewash' bloom again each autumn.

Re-blooming Iris I. ‘Rosalie Figge’ and I. ‘Lunar Whitewash’ bloom again each autumn.


I’ve purchased several varieties of re-blooming Iris for this garden from Mike Lockatell, a breeder of re-blooming Iris in the Richmond area.  I’ve also received an old variety of Iris popular around Williamsburg from a gardening friend.


This old variety can be found in Colonial Williamsburg gardens, and in many neighbors' yards around the community.  These plants were a gift from a gardening neighbor.

This old variety can be found in Colonial Williamsburg gardens, and in many neighbors’ yards around the community. These plants were a gift from a gardening neighbor.


Blogging friends have generously sent me clumps of their Iris, and I’ve purchased a few.  I’m working on building a good collection of beautiful Iris plants  in our sunny areas here.


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My partner loves our Iris, and was less than enthusiastic when I mentioned cutting some from the garden for today’s vase.  So I cut only one, and that one where I didn’t think he would notice.  I’ve taken only photos of some of the other Iris in bloom today.


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Also in today’s vase are the last of the ‘Josee’ lilac, some apple mint, more Aquilegia,  a stem of Azalea, and a bit of dusty miller.


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The vase today is actually a handle-less mug purchased last week at Mossy Creek Pottery on the Oregon Coast.  I love the soft blues and greens of its glaze, and the sculpted shape which fits my fingers perfectly.  It also makes a pretty good vase, don’t you think?  It is half filled with aquarium gravel to hold the stems in place.


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I appreciate Cathy’s dedication to her “Vase” meme each week at Rambling in the Garden.    She is away this week, and yet she has given us a bouquet and a post most creatively.

I hope you will visit her blog to see how she has posted a unique ‘vase’ while away from her garden, and to enjoy what other gardeners have found in their gardens in these first days of May.  I am always delighted with the beautiful arrangements she creates and hope you visit to enjoy them, too.

I am settling back into my garden, finally, and am so happy to enjoy these wonderfully fragrant flowers we’ve waited for all winter.  You probably know that it takes a few years for Iris to establish and perform.  What a wonderful experience when they finally come into bloom each May.


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Woodland Gnome 2015

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

14 responses to “In A Vase On Monday: Iris In Bloom

  1. I never used to be much of a fan of iris but I have seen so many beautiful ones on other people’s blogs that I think I need to add a few more to the garden. You have combined yours with such pretty blooms which pick up the colour of the iris perfectly – lovely crystals too, especially the apophyllite of course 🙂

    • Thank you, Cathy. Iris are gorgeous when in bloom, and offer nice structural foliage year round. That earns them a place in my garden. In a smaller garden, I can see why others might want to plant shrubs or perennials which give a longer season of flowers, however. Iris require a fairly large footprint as they mature. Choosing re-blooming Iris gives the beauty of flowers another time or two each year as well. So glad you’re home and had a great trip and a good home-coming 😉 ❤

  2. How lucky, to have iris and lilacs blooming at the same time. They are wonderful in combination.

  3. Your irises, as well as your vase and flower arrangement, are beautiful. If your irises are blooming, mine will not be too far behind. 🙂

    I apologize for not stopping by much lately. Life has been terribly busy and I got so far behind in blogging that I decided to stop posting on my own blog until I get reasonably caught up with others and with life.

    • Wonderful to hear from you, Robin. You and I are both terribly busy and behind with the blogs we follow, then. While away, there simply wasn’t time to visit around. Now those little bits of time are finally reappearing around the cares of the day. I hope you’re well, Robin, and that your life finds its balance once again. And may your garden soon be filled with beautiful flowers 😉 Thank you for taking time to stop by today, giant hugs, WG ❤

  4. How lovely to think irises are blooming in both our gardens at once! You have some real beauties. Here bearded Iris don’t need particularly good soil and mine have no irrigation and thrive on that. But all your mentions of perfume has left me very envious, I don’t think any of mine are perfumed, that really would be an addition to the garden.

    • yes, Christina, I love to think that we are growing the same plants, and they are blooming in our gardens, so far apart, at the same time! Have you read the book, “The Brother Gardeners:” by Andrea Wulf? Makes me feel as though we are “Sister Gardeners” tending the same plants 😉
      I believe that Iris were bred more for their perfume back in the mid-70s, when we received these culled, unnamed varieties. The fragrance was so strong it just transported you- and I could tell one variety from another by just their aroma- let alone the wonderfully intense colors of those Iris. I’ve been looking for the deep purples and burgundies ever since… thus the purchase of this dark burgundy. Maybe the breeders no longer concentrate on the fragrance as much, as with so many other hybridized flowers bred for their color, shape, hardiness and disease resistance more than for their fragrance… ?

  5. I love Iris too, yours is such a rich colour. It looks lovely in the arrangement. I can’ t bear to pick mine, do they last long in water?

    • Thank you, Chloris. Iris actually do last well in water. As Cathy mentions, they may last a little longer cut and in the protection of the house if the weather turns nasty. I add honey to the water in the vase if I’m out of powdered preservative, and it works fairly well to feed the stems and keep the water clear for a few days. These Iris were planted 2 springs ago and this is their first really good season of bloom. They aren’t particularly fragrant, but the color is just rich, like a floral chocolate 😉

  6. Your iris is such a lovely rich colour. Very pretty in a vase too… I know I also would hesitate to cut iris, but they may last longer in the vase than outside if it’s very hot or perhaps rainy!

    • Thank you, Cathy. I agree with you on Iris lasting longer inside. Those golden flowers in the photo were gone by the time I came back to cut yesterday. It has turned hot here mid-week, and of course the Iris grow in full sun. I am leaving the Iris in the front garden that he admires each day, and cutting the ones around back which aren’t as visible from the house 😉 (Thus the infinite value of a ‘cutting garden.’ )

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