Monday, April 11, 2016

'Scottish Reel' Dances in the Garden

By Renee Fraser

The dominant colors in my garden are screaming salmon-orange, yellow, and orchid.  I have restricted the color palette to bring some order to the chaos of an inveterate plant collector's garden.  It works.

So what to do with a spectacular coppery-gold iris that shines like a beacon of light?

'Scottish Reel' with annual Paludosum daisies

'Scottish Reel' is a Barry Blyth iris from 2001.  It grows to between 34 and 36" tall, and blooms  early to mid-season.  There are two or three blooms per socket on this iris, which extends the bloom period.  The foliage is very nice: straight, with no corkscrewing, and the plant is tough.

Since I have been unable to find a spot for it, this iris has been moved each year. It started out in the vegetable bed, was moved to the garden, then back to a different part of the veggie bed where it was exposed to root knot nematodes, then I dug it up, cut off all of the roots to the rhizomes to get rid of any nematodes, and planted three in a pot last year.  All three bloomed this year!

My resolve to keep only plants that complement my existing color scheme is broken by the loveliness of this iris.  I will always have it in my garden, even if it is relegated to the vegetable beds.  Do you have an iris that you keep in your garden even though you have no place to plant it?  Share it with us in the comment section below.


  1. They are wonderful, wouln't get rid of it either even if it doesn't fit the colors of the garden and/or has to move every year!

    I was wondering if you offer access to your garden any time. We recently bought a home in La Crescenta and we have to redo the garden completely- since your garden is close to ours and therefore offers similar conditions, I would love to see your garden and get some input from you. Pictures of your garden are always amazing!

    1. You're very kind, Heidi. My father lived in La Crescenta, and irises loved it there. You can contact me at

    2. Heidi, also, there are two iris societies near La Crescenta. You may want to become a member of either and explore the gardens of members there, which are normally open at least once a year -- San Fernando Valley Iris Society and Southern California Iris Society. You may Google them for more information.

  2. Thanks, Griff. It's a fantastic plant.

  3. Beautiful! It would be a shame to not have it in your garden~!


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