Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sweet Violet Rebloomers

By Renee Fraser

My mom Wendy passed the gardening gene to me, but I infected her with the iris virus. She is a master of color coordination, and her small flower garden is filled with violets, magenta-purples, pinks, peaches, and pale yellows. She has recently planted a number of reblooming irises, and a few have bloomed for the first time in her Southern California garden this year, and I thought you would enjoy seeing some first-rate reblooming irises used in coordinated beds.

This is 'Violet Turner'.  It blooms three times here in Southern California:  in April, again occasionally in the summer if it's not too hot, and again in the fall.  The colors are very intense and stand out well against greenery.  Wendy has it planted with alstroemerias, 'Yves Piaget' (magenta) and 'Perdita' (pale peach) roses.

Just on the other side of a small flagstone path is 'Mariposa Autumn', a prolific reblooming iris hybridized by Rick Tasco.  This iris stays short, which is perfect for the front of a border.  It blooms from late March through April, and then intermittently all summer, with a big flush again in the fall.

Off in a corner with flax lily and ferns is 'Double Agent'.  This is its first bloom, so we shall see how it does as a rebloomer this summer and fall.  It has red-violet falls and goes well with the oxalis just emerging from winter dormancy.
'Double Agent'

Over near an arbor, Wendy grows the rebloomers 'Cantina' and 'Total Recall'.  'Cantina' has rebloomed in the fall, but not prolifically like 'Mariposa Autumn'.  It's a fun iris to play with, and one year Wendy found violas in exactly the same colors.  No luck this year, so she used purples instead.

The newest reblooming addition to the garden is 'Tennison Ridge', which Wendy chose specifically to complement 'Darcy Bussell' and 'Twilight Zone' roses.  It should be a spectacular clump by next year, when this new part of her garden grows up a bit.  'Tennison Ridge' reblooms very well here in the late fall.  It is truly lovely when backlit.

'Tennison Ridge' with 'Darcy Bussell' rose in the background

All of these irises were in bloom at the same time, in late April.  They bloom so much they give the daylilies and the roses a run for their money.  If you live in a warm climate that does not suffer from early frosts, you might consider growing some reblooming irises in your garden.  

Do you grow any reblooming irises?  Which are great performers for you?  Please share in the comments section below.


  1. I loved viewing these groupings---absolutely gorgeous!! Sadly, I have never had an iris re-bloom here in the top of Utah. I have several, but I guess it's just too cold for the early start you have, which puts it too late/cold for a rebloom. GREAT article, Renee--you and your mother's gardens are wonderful!

    1. Aw, that's too bad. We can't wait to see the irises that do well in your climate, Susanne!

  2. Magnificent photos!! This garden came from Heaven.

  3. Thank you, Debbie. I'll tell my mom you said so!


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