Wednesday, 4 July 2012

All the colours of the rainbow

The iris is a flower whose history extends far back in time.
The word is from the Greek, meaning rainbow, but their actual colour spectrum is even wider.

Purple bearded iris

It is possible that the lilies of the fields, which the bible asks us to consider, were in fact iris rather than lilies. The iris has been known for at least two thousand years and the flower has inspired artists and poets alike.  Much loved by Monet at Giverny, blue irises were a favourite subject for Van Gogh.

Mostly grown from rhizomes, irises are well adapted to the British climate and are mainly disease and pest free. The British Iris Society is celebrating its 90th birthday this year, proof positive of how much esteem the plant is held here.

White bearded iris

The plant is very adaptable and there are types that grow in conditions ranging from deep dry shade, even growing underneath trees (iris foetidissima) to full sun (the blowsy bearded variety). Where would spring be without the delicate iris reticulata  and early summer without my personal favourite, the  elegant iris sibirica,  grown in Elizabethan gardens and ponds without the yellow flag iris.

Iris sibirica

The Dog Days begin on 3rd July, and last until 11th August. 

Garden lore tells us that they are linked with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, and that these are the hottest days of the year!

Pablo is hoping this is true and keeps looking longingly at the summer house …

Enjoying the summer house ...


  1. Oh for some dog days!

    I love irises. From childhood I remember the yellow flag irises that grew in the stream at our favourite picnic spot. Later I came to admire my mother-in-law's beautiful bronze irises - although I never knew their name or managed to accquire any for my garden.

    1. The only bronze irises I know are the bearded type. They do look spectacular. Sadly, I don't have any or I would have given you some!

  2. I have always liked the name Iris for a girl. Tall and stately and just a bit exotic. Liking the pictures of Pablo. Wx