People always ask "what is your favorite flower?": I'm sure you get that too...when you've grown thousands upon thousands of plants in your lifetime, where to begin? I think I can aver that wild iris have been a pretty ongoing obsession for me since I was a kid. I had tread this ground before vis-a-vis Colorado's native iris. Seeing this largest flowered of native iris blooming in Ernie Demarie's mind boggling garden last week rekindled my obsession (fortunately he sent me home with a rhizome!)...
|Iris spuria v. urumovii|
A few weeks ago visiting Keith Funk I saw THIS exquisite thing. He's promised me seed at least (maybe even a division): it captures the elegant flower form and the wonderful clumping nature of these wildlings. OK, the flowers aren't really blue--but I can live with that faint lavender tint, the soft violet. I think the iris blue is haunting and true. The combo of flower shape, color, the grassy foliage and vase like form--multiply this by thousands in a meadow! Heaven on earth...
|Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Brother'|
I grow several Siberian iris, but this one (with the inspired name: it's magnificent without the name--but makes you think--what would Iris sibirica 'Caesar's Cousin' or 'Caesar's sister-in-law look like?. This happens to be growing in my brother-in-law's rental home garden with little water or care. Methinks I need this one too!
|Iris setosa var canadensis|
One could (and should) dedicate a whole blog post to this delightful Eastern iris I've been lucky enough to see blooming in the wild in Kentucky and Missouri. If you don't know Joe Pye Weed's mail order nursery you have no idea what you're missing in the way of cristata and more!
|Iris sintenisii [photo by John Brink]|
|Iris ruthenica var. uniflora|
I've shown this in the wild: the typical ruthenica has small flowers tucked among the leaves. Fortunately the foliage is lovely--otherwise one might not be so crazy about it...
|Iris ruthenica (tall form)|
Laporte Avenue nursery sold this upright form of the same species: easily one of my favorite plants this spring. It set lots of seed which I'll send to the NARGS seed exchange...