Early Irises – Ephemeral as Mayflies

I so love irises and lament the brevity of flowering that several varieties exhibit. The majestic bearded irises that come in early summer don’t stay around nearly long enough and you don’t get a second flowering either.  But that loyal friend Iris unguicularis brightens winter borders right across the winter months.  I have had clumps of this early bloomer since I first started taking gardening seriously.  For one thing it blooms in February which is the month of my birthday.  It is MAUVE which is the best colour ever.  And it has a charming habit of pushing up lots of slender leaves which in relation to the more reticent flowers are long long long.  Tucked within their bowers, the short stems of iris flowers reach for the light.

This year I have been thrilled to find that the Iris reticulata bulbs that have been tucked into troughs and containers are fine and delicately upstanding.  I had quite forgotten about the deep purple variety that I had planted and the little blue character with vivid yellow splashes and indigo ticks that form the signals along the falls.  A darker blue flower has narrow falls and spiky style arms and standards.  I have a pot of a pale flowered variety, gift of Pam Tompsett, for which I need to find a corner.  Next year I would like to have some yellow ones.

Other charmers in flower are the Hellebores and a mid-pink crocus in the Yucca bed.  Crocus is a topic of conversation that Joel and I share whilst we are making Lamb Biryani.  I explain what saffron is and when we look on Wikipedia I learn that it is the stigmata of certain Crocus that yield the saffron.  Not all Crocus have stigmata but they all have stamens……. which is what I had always thought saffron was.  Perhaps I will try and source some saffron Crocus to try growing in St Vaast.



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