Iris time

My poor iris have had a tough time. Dug up several years ago and brought to Ireland in bin bags, potted and left in pots for years and finally planted in a bed that was barely cultivated. It was all rather hopeless. I used to have hundreds, buying some every year from the top US breeders. And I did some crossing myself and those I brought with me were a random mix of what I could grab. I missed them.

But a few have done OK. A couple have flowered that must be my seedlings because they are awful. The worst thing is that all the labels are lost.

I can make a few educated guesses about what they are but I dare not name them.

But I can enjoy them as they are. I think the black one above is ‘Midnight Oil’ which I had, but the foliage is too good – I remember it being a devil for leaf spot.

I do know that this is ‘Afternoon in Rio’ which always sticks in my mind because both the flower and the name are so wonderful.

And I am delighted to say that one of the survivors is ‘Conjuration’. This is an outstanding iris bred by the late Monty Byers who ploughed his own furrow and was one of the most important breeders of reblooming and space age iris. I had the delight to visit him in California in the late 80s (I think). This is probably (with ‘Thornbird’) his most important cultivar. It is very tall, has elegant flowers that are not too huge, are beautifully coloured and have white fuzzy horns. It was introduced in 1988 and received the American Dykes Medal (the best you can get) in 1998. The fact that it survived all the bad treatment alone is testament to its vigour.

The bearded iris season is overlapping with the Siberians. Most of my plants are small and only have a few flowers. ‘Uncorked’ has interesting blooms.

I have had ‘Kita-no-seiza’ (possibly not the right name) for some time and have divided it and tried to plant drifts. It is not at all uncommon and has ‘double’ flowers in an attractive, if not ground-breaking, lilac and looks great against a viburnum. I am glad that the garden is starting to get of an age when there are notable combinations starting, not just plants in isolation.


5 Comments on “Iris time”

  1. Anonymous
    June 17, 2021 at 1:29 pm #

    Iris ‘Conjuration’ – wonderful photo and plant combination as well as colour of the Iris. You seem to have quite a bit of that dark Jacobs Ladder. Sadly it died out with me although the bog standard one reseeds a bit. They seem to make a good combination plant. A few of my comments recently don’t seem to have appeared – they certainly weren’t “iffy” !

    • thebikinggardener
      June 17, 2021 at 1:54 pm #

      Thank you Meriel. I have never spammed any of your comments! I will collect some seed of the polemonium for you – it is a useful thing.

  2. Paddy Tobin
    June 17, 2021 at 2:10 pm #

    ‘Conjuration’ is certainly a very beautiful bloom.

  3. tonytomeo
    June 18, 2021 at 3:46 am #

    ‘Midnight Oil’! I have not heard that name in a long time. I needed to relocate mine also. The important ones are separated, and reasonably easy to identify. Others are mixed, but can be identified as they bloom. I believe that ‘Midnight Oil’ is in the mix.

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