The story of the Iris flower dates back to Ancient Greece, when the Greek Goddess Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, acted as the messenger between heaven and earth. This rainbow goddess carried messages for the gods Hera and Zeus and back to earth by the arc of the rainbow, hence the Iris flower is the symbol of idea and messages. The rainbow refers to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. There are some 300 different species of iris and their flowers come in a wide variety of colours such a yellow, white and purple, pink and orange, coppery browns and even almost black.

Siberian Beardless Iris
Siberian Beardless Iris

There are bearded and beardless and crested irises. Bearded irises are called such because they have ‘beard’ of fine hairs along the centre of the ‘falls’, beardless irises often have crests and no beard. Crested irises have a ridge instead of a beard  and prefer damp woodland in temperate climates. Water irises flourish in a bog-like garden.

Bearded Iris
Bearded Iris

They also come as Rhizomes or bulbs.  The Reticulata group are dwarf and flower early from bulbs and are beardless, they are especially good in containers. Spring Dwarf bearded  irises grow from rhizomes and are only a few inches tall and then there are the tall Dutch irises used for cut flowers. So if you want to grow irises then choose the right plant for your location.

Crested Iris
Crested Iris

So, the list and the possibilities seem endless.

Please click on an image to scroll through the gallery to view.

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26 thoughts on “I is for Iris

  1. Hi Jude, I’m glad I found you through your comment on my post! I love flowers (though I am not at all good at keeping them alive if they need my help) and will be very happily following your posts!

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  2. Hi Jude – when I lived in Michigan, it seemed that iris were revered as a beautiful, but difficult plant to grow. I never attempted them. Then I moved to Colorado and, surprise, they grew like weeds in everyone’s alleys! Now I love these hardy buggers; have them in my flowerbed; whack ’em every year or so to separate; and bask in the blooms for as long as they last.

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    1. Not sure what type of soil they prefer, I guess it depends on the type, but my rhizomes grew well in a very sandy, well-drained soil and I left them in the ground all through winter. Sorry I left them behind when I moved.

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  3. Stopping in from A-Z. I am part of the Unconventional Librarian Alliance. I LOVE THE IRISES! They are one of my favorite flowers.

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  4. Wow. gorgeous pictures of iris! Here in NJ, I can’t wait to see my iris bloom in my garden (not until May). Have you ever been to Florence, Italy? There is an amazing Iris garden there and an annual competition held in May – an iris gardener’s delight!

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  5. I found the first spring flowers in my yard today upon arriving home from work. Then I found the stunning collection of Irises here on your blog. Must be fate, especially since the Iris is sort of a flower symbol fro where I live. via A to Z Challenge

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  6. I was hoping that you would do Iris for I!! So happy to see this post- it’s my favorite flower. I have all the colors you mentioned above (although some do better than others). I transplanted some of them last autumn so I am anxious to see how they do in a new place. Thanks for this lovely post!! 🙂

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    1. Hope they do well Laine! If you click on Iris in the categories you’ll find a few more colours and the reason why Irises are a favourite of mine 🙂

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  7. I have a very weak spot for Irises! 🙂 Lovely contribution, with a great gallery, Jude, the history was unknown to me. Have a lovely weekend, Dina

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    1. Well I am sure that one day KB and the bookfayries will need your help to write a post on purple – and then you can use some irises 🙂
      Enjoy your weekend too Dina, love to all xx

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