by DAWN MUMFORD
'Stairway To Heaven' (Larry Lauer, 1992)
I know there have been others who posted articles about blue irises but I would like to have my chance to sing their praises. I am hoping you will be tempted to plant a few if your garden is lacking blue.
Over the last 30+ years my color tastes have changed almost every year. One of the first years I started ordering I was drawn to the rusty orangey brown irises like 'Carnival Time', 'Copper Classic', 'Brindisi', 'Starburst', 'Astro Flash', and 'Copper Mountain'. One year I was drawn to blacks, some years I concentrated on Dykes Medal winners. For a while I saw blues in the catalogs and it was as if they stood out more intensely than the other irises. Some years the pinks and reds look tempting to me. The last two years I've been attracted by the blues again and have placed orders with several companies who have offered them. Here for your viewing are some of my favorites, but by no means all of them. I have many irises that are from different decades because we have been growing them for such a long time. You will find that some of my blues are *historics and others are more modern.
'Silverado' ( Schreiner, 1986)
This iris has perfect form as far as I am concerned. In some light it looks almost white but it is a pale blue. It grows well for us here and needs little or no care except it has to be divided often because it grows so well.
'Babbling Brook' (Keith Keppel, 1965)
This 50 year old iris is such a stand-out in the garden. It has very clear, clean blue color and photographs pretty true to color in my opinion.
'Praise The Lord' (J. Boushay, 1971)
The contrast between the deep blue and the white beard is striking. Even without ruffles and lacing it is simply elegant.
'Honky Tonk Blues' (Schreiner, 1988)
One of my top 5 blues. I love the fading and the *reverse *bitone coloring.
'Blutique' ( Virginia Messick, 1998)
Even though this one was included in my *broken color blog it is still also one of my favorite blues. If you are a little timid to grow broken color start with this one. Having just two colors it isn't as bold as some of the others.
'Grecian Skies' (Opal Brown, 1984)
A friend gave it to me as a piece of rhizome a little bigger than a dime. I was sure it wouldn't grow and if it did I would misplace it. We put a stake by it so we wouldn't hoe it out with the weeds. It bloomed the second year and here is the bloom. Thank you, friend, for sharing it.
'Skywalker' (Schreiner, 1996)
The beautiful shading on it reminds me of 'Honky Tonk Blues' but 'Skywalker' is a lighter, more delicate blue. As you can see it stands out in the garden. The darker blue behind it is 'Sheer Bliss'.
'Blue Crusader' (Schreiner, 1998)
This was a substitute that Schreiner's sent me because they couldn't send 'Bleinheim Royal'. I was disappointed until I saw this one bloom. This is a beautiful, true *self where even the beard is blue.
'Sea Power' (Keith Keppel, 1998)
I love the color and all the ruffles.
I love the color and all the ruffles.
'Full Tide' (Opal Brown, 1972)
This 43 year old iris is still one of my favorites. Perhaps it acts as straight man to the other more flamboyant irises. Simply pretty!
'Adriatic Waves' (Keith Keppel, 2009)
This is one of my newer blues. It is described in the Iris Wiki as having standards of cornflower blue, falls of violet blue shading to steeplechase blue. This picture, as all others in this blog, was taken in our garden by me.
'Captain's Choice' (Schreiner, 2009)
This is a very dramatic iris. It can be classified as an *amoena or a *neglecta.
I have several new ones that I don't have pictures for.
They are 'Dangerous Mood', 'Baltic Sea', 'Water Waltz', 'Wake Water', 'Blueberry Bliss' and 'Grecian Sea'. I would like to show those another time.
Have you planted blues? What do you like to pair them with? I would love to hear from you.
* historic are those irises 30 years old or older
* reverse are those irises that the standards are a darker shade than the falls
*broken color are those iris that have random splashes of color
*self is an iris of uniform color
*amoena is a iris that has colored falls and white standards
*neglecta is an iris that is a blue or violet bitone
* bitones are those irises that have 2 tones of the same color