Iris is the flower of the Greek goddess ‘Iris’ who is the messenger of Love and uses the Rainbow to travel.
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A herbaceous perennial from South Africa that will form thick clumps of evergreen, iris-like sword-shaped leaves year round, which stand upright to 1.5 meters. The bright indigo blue flowers are fragrant and each are about 1″ wide with purple stamens and yellow anthers. They are pollinated by bees, attract butterflies and only appear in spring, followed by attractive dry flower stems.
(Seen in the garden on St Michael’s Mount)
Dietes is a genus of rhizomatous plants of the family Iridaceae, first described as a genus in 1866. Common names include Fortnight lily, African iris, Morea or Moraea iris, Japanese iris and Butterfly iris, each of which may be used differently in different regions for one or more of the four species within the genus.
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.
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.
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.
So, the list and the possibilities seem endless.
Please click on an image to scroll through the gallery to view.
Iris may be rhizomatous or bulbous perennials, with narrowly leaves and erect stems bearing flowers with 3 large spreading or pendent fall petals, alternating with 3 erect, often smaller, standard petals, in late winter, spring or early summer