I am starting the Fs with an old iris again, one of the oldest of all. ‘Faustine’ has the colour pattern that is called ‘neglecta’ which is dark blue falls and paler standards. The term comes from Iris neglecta which was thought to be a species but is probably a primary hybrid between two species. It was raised in France by Jean Claude Lemon and introduced in 1859. It is not as tall as Tall Bearded iris and looks very much like what we now call MTBs (Miniature Tall Bearded). The flowers are small but so cute and the value of this (and its kind) is that it never need staking and has plenty of vigour. Jean Claude Lemon raised about 100 iris.
This delightful bloom is a rather subtle reverse amoena with darker standards than falls. Raised by Keith Keppel and introduced in 1997 it may have subtle colouring but the large flowers and tall stems ensure it has garden presence. It is also sweetly fragrant.
With thousands of iris already introduced, it must be a problem for breeders to think of names that are as distinctive and new as their new iris. So a lot of liberties are taken with names – nothing new – and iris often have amusing or bemusing names. ‘Fangnificent’ is appropriate for a Space Age iris with long, fuzzy horns but I trip up over it whenever I say or type it! This bold, toothy fellow is from Paul Black and was introduced in 2003. Definitely an eye-catcher.
Perhaps it is because of the beauty and history associated with the common flag iris (Iris pseudacorus), the probable origin of the heraldic Fleur-de-lys, that I particularly like bright yellow iris. Bearded iris are in bloom when the garden is at its best, with flowers everywhere and yellow iris are so sunny and bright. ‘First Interstate’ is a Schreiners introduction from 1990 with yellow standards and beards and white falls edged in the same colour. Literally as bright as a daisy and scented too.
Another Keith Keppel iris (2000) which could loosely be called red though descriptions usually call it dahlia purple. My photo looks more red than it may actually be but those incendiary beards certainly add to the fiery look. It has been known to rebloom in warm climates.