Monday, March 26, 2012

My Earliest Bloomers

Spring came early to Southern California this year, as it has in many places in the country. Although it may seem hard to believe, these photos of the tall bearded reblooming iris 'Recurring Dream' (Hager, 1992) were taken on March 13.

The next iris to join the party was 'Lady Friend.' It was moved to this spot last year because I expected it to bloom next to the red Japanese Blood Grass and the pinkish-red gazanias nearby. They may catch up to her, but they had better hurry.  

I did not expect 'Recurring Dream' to bloom at the same time as 'Lady Friend,' and I have not adjusted to this color combination. Perhaps it will grow on me.

This is another unexpected bloom.  A neighbor grows 'Superstition,' an almost-black iris, and I thought it would look fabulous next to my new pale yellow Austin rose 'Symphony' with almost-black violas.  I went over after it was done blooming and dug up a few rhizomes- of the wrong iris.  A nice, tall NOID (no identification) now blooms in 'Superstition's' spot.

Here is a photograph of all three of my earliest bloomers.  I eliminated all purple from my garden two years ago.  Purple is invasive.

Early blooming iris varieties are a wonderful sight in the garden.  Iris foliage in the early spring is a beautiful sight on its own, and stands up well to other non-blooming perennials as a statement in the garden.

I had no idea what to put around this pond, and it sat there looking sad and barren until I hit upon the brilliant idea of putting in plants with my favorite spiky foliage.  Louisiana iris 'Spanish Ballet' (a gift from my friend Judith Gasser) is in the foreground and a historic iris that has been on the property since, oh, maybe the 1940s, is planted in the clump at center.  I'll be sure to post photos when they bloom, but they are there for the foliage.

From the other direction:

And from the other side of the pond.

Spuria irises purchased at the San Fernando Valley Iris Society plant sale wait for me to finish the masonry on a new iris bed in front of the plunge pool.  I planted them in coffee cans with the bottoms removed.  The plastic lids underneath have holes poked into them for drainage.  When I remove the plastic, the irises will slide right out without too much trauma (she says with great confidence and no experience).

Other irises are ready to bloom within a week or two.  Hager's 1992  'Total Recall,' Keppel's 2002 'Telepathy,'  Holk's 1995  'Rose Teall,'  Gibson's 1994 'Frequent Flyer,' Gaulter's 1976 'Persian Berry,' Burseen's 1992 'Fashion Passion,' and Begley's 1988 'Tennison Ridge' are all getting ready to roll.  'Northwest Progress' (Schreiner, 1997) is a good sport; it will be blooming at the same time as the ajuga I put in to match its colors.

In other parts of the country, standard dwarf bearded irises and species irises are the first to bloom.   Which are the first in your part of  the world?  Do you grow any early bloomers in your garden? 


  1. Your garden is always lovely, Renee. Thanks for the early visit.

  2. Renee -- Your garden is marvelous. We can not only appreciate how much work goes into it, but the imagination that lies behind it. What a joy it must be to relax in the midst of it!

  3. Fantastic, Renee. I agree the amount of work and imagination that lies behind your gardens is amazing. Now in the third picture you have the new rose foliage matching the irises. I think that's real planning, LOL.

    I just love seeing your photos!

  4. Beautiful photos Renee. Spuria 'Imperial Bronze' will come back to you in the same can you gave me earlier with another spuria in it. Great technique for moving plants around and not holding your breath to see if they come out of the pot in one piece, instead of falling apart. Great technique to show on a post?

  5. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally I'm satisfied to search out numerous useful information here in the post about Work Order, thank you for sharing. . . . .

  6. Thank you for the kind words. You noticed, Polly!
    Andi, I'm glad to hear the trick worked. I think we need a post about tricks of the iris trade!

  7. Love your garden Renee. Thank you for sharing the photos and tips!

  8. Always a pleasure to peek at your garden and read your thoughts on our favorite flower! Thanks Renee!


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