Iris A-Z: K

‘Kinkajou Shrew’

We begin a small selection of Ks with Brad Kasperek’s 2000 release with its distinctive name and colouring. Not only do you get a very flashy flower it is also fragrant.

‘Keeping up Appearances’

Completely different, with bold, solid blooms in a gorgeous old rose that Patricia Routledge would be happy to wear, this Paul Black (2000) introduction has real class. It has won several medals and is deservedly popular.

‘Kitty Kay’

This 2002 introduction from Keith Keppel is another pink, but this time more flamingo pink, though I have seen it described as ‘opera’ pink, whatever that is! Not being an opera buff I don’t know. But she is an exquisite flower of a gorgeous colour and fabulously ruffled, like a chiffon nightie. Just as I can’t see the flower above without thinking of Hyacinth Bouquet, this one reminds me of Barbara Cartland. It has won a few awards and was placed No 84 in the 2010 poll of the most popular iris.


Another ruffled beauty, this time from the prolific Graeme Grosvenor from Australia whose hybrids have dominated the Australian Dyked medal for 20 years. Described as raspberry pink, and with orange beards, it is a beauty in the garden and sumptuously ruffled.

I embarked on this series of iris because it is relatively quiet out in the garden but there are things stirring and it would be remiss to ignore them.

We have had some windy days and I noticed, at the end of last week, that the reticulata iris I planted last autumn were sending up some fat flower buds. Not all my autumn plantings have been successful and I am worried that some batches may have been eaten by rodents. I have sprinkled chillies round the crocus that are up, but I may have been a bit too late to save some. I was worried that the winds at the weekend would smash any little iris that dared to unfurl its blooms but yesterday the first opened its blooms. ‘Frozen Planet’ is a delicate bloom and I confess that I find its flower a bit too icy and aloof to love it. But I should be grateful for anything other than snowdrops I suppose. I will be happy if it settles down. The soil in the raised beds is acid so I will sprinkle on some lime which reticulatas prefer.

On the other hand narcissus ‘Mary Poppins’ has now been in the lawn by the drive for three years and is settling down well. Each bulb is now producing a good cluster of blooms and the ten original bulbs are making a lovely show that is putting the snowdrops, in the same part of the lawn, to shame. They even escaped the stupidity of a van delivery driver who ran over the adjacent ‘Snow Baby’ narcissus which I hope were sufficiently tardy and may still recover.

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