Reprinted from: Flower Grower magazine, June 1952


Many iris names are in italics
When you move your mouse to them the photo will change to that variety.


If you want a rainbow in the garden in late May and early June, plant plenty of tall bearded iris. until recently, these iris have not been used as a means of introducing a definite color note. Gardeners bought tulips in quantity, and often some flamboyant annuals, but reserved the tall bearded iris for stately majesty and quiet beauty.

This tread of thinking has been changed rapidly. Although iris fanciers have known for some years that their favorite flower could be just as colorful in a garden as any other, this quality is just beginning to be appreciated by the gardening public. The reason, of course, is that the colorful new varieties created some years ago and purchased then only by fanciers have just recently come down far enough in price to be within the scope of even a limited budget.

Time has wrought many changes in the iris through intensive hybridizing by scores of breeders, and perhaps the most notable of all improvements of varieties is their enlarged range of colors. No longer must the gardener accept the magenta purple, the tepid lavender blues, grayed whites, muddy yellows and dull blends that were once synonymous with the very word iris. Now this elegant, stately flower can preen itself with a wardrobe of colors such as clear, cool light blues, rich dark blues and purples, luminous yellows, delicate coral pinks, luscious warm browns, deep maroons, startling bicolors, and bright colorful blends in tones of yellow, tan and coppery red.

Improvement in the form of the blossoms - the falls (lower petals) of most of the new varieties are flaring or semi-flaring - has added a jauntiness which perks up the color at the same time. In the past, a large number of iris were marred by prominent lines (called reticulations) on the fall near the haft (center of the flower). In the course of selective breeding, these have either become inconspicuous or disappeared all together and their absence has given the flowers added clarity and richness of color.

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