Monday, October 10, 2011

My Best Performer: 'Total Recall'

'Total Recall' is my best iris.  It was created by Ben Hager, who hybridized just about every kind of iris you can think of.  He contributed many beautiful reblooming irises to the world, and I grow a number of them.  But 'Total Recall' beats them all.  

 'Total Recall' has wide, ruffled falls and does not mush up under sprinkler water.  The buds have double sockets, so the bloom period lasts a long time.

Each fan produces a stalk with flowers.  The rhizomes grow out a bit from the mother rhizome, so the plants do not get crowded and the fans do not grow sideways.  I have not divided this clump since it was planted in 2008 and I won't need to do it this year.  

'Total Recall' is a blooming machine: almost an ever-bloomer in Southern California.  Here it is in spring,

in early summer,

and in fall.  It will bloom into January.

In a display with other irises before the roses bloom,

and again after the roses.

It looks good in mixed plantings

or all by itself.

There are fancier irises in my garden, but none gives me the cheerful year-round happiness of 'Total Recall.'  

Which iris is your best performer?


  1. Hello there, beautiful pictures.

    In the fourth picture down, can you identify the orange iris in the background? It's absolutely gorgeous!

    Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Polly. The orange iris in the fourth picture down is a Border Bearded iris called 'Maid of Orange.' It seldom needs to be divided in my yard, and this year it rebloomed, even though it is not listed as a rebloomer. The foliage is nice and slim and upright, and the flowers are above the foliage and get tall for a Border Bearded iris.

  3. Thank you so much, Renee. And thank you once again for the lovely pictures. I look forward to seeing more.

    I will search out that iris, for sure!

  4. Renee, great tribute to 'Total Recall.'

  5. How beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  6. My pleasure, Remontant. Great moniker!

  7. Wow! Thank you - this is a great site! I just happened to buy one of these for my new garden. My question is, what do I do in spring/fall? Is there any pruning required or do I just let it be? When should I cut off dead flowers and how far down should I cut them? Right now, it's just the green leaves, so not sure if it'll bloom this year or not. Thank you! Jacki

    1. Hello Jacki,

      If you live in California, your Total Recall may bloom this summer and/or fall. It can bloom right into January here. The reblooming irises perform differently in other climates, and in some cold climates they can get frost damage as they try to bloom in the late fall or early winter.

      You can snap off dead flowers right at the place where the flower meets the stalk to keep the stalks well-groomed and fresh looking, but there's no need to do that. If you like, you can cut off spent stalks right at the rhizome. That's what I do. Some people cut off the iris foliage to about eight inches tall in the late fall, some people do nothing. I pull off the brown and yellow leaves,since the green spiky foliage looks lovely year-round here. For the best bloom the following year, it's a good idea to leave as much green photosynthesizing leaf intact as long as possible. Enjoy your new iris, and don't be shy about trying more!


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