It’s time for irises

It has been unseasonably cold for the last two weeks, which gives us more time with our beautiful irises.


Don’t these light blue flowers remind of a painting by Claude Monet?
They are the first to open, along with the variety with dark purple falls and an orange beard seen below.


Some irises are quite fragrant and different varieties have surprisingly different scents, almost like roses. It is worth checking out this lovely fragrance. Sniffing should be done carefully, though. Iris blossoms have brittle stems and can break off easily.

Over the next days, many more flowers will open, showing a beautiful palette of colors from dark blue over almost red to golden yellow. Here is a little taste, but there are even more!


All of the flowers above belong to bearded irises, which are hybrids between several species. There are more than 30,000 varieties of bearded irises! Some gardens are specialized in displaying many of them. One of the World’s largest is Presby Memorial Iris Garden, just across the Hudson River in Montclair, NJ.


photos by Hubert Steed and Karin Kiontke

Who finds bearded irises too opulent may like the Japanese iris (Iris sanguinea) with its more delicate flowers on elegant tall stems. We have several stands, and the flowers are just beginning to open.

Irises and roses go well together. Check them both out during our Annual Rose Walk this coming Sunday May 22! (see previous post)