Monday, September 25, 2017

Prolific, Long-lasting Bloom from 'Sweeter Than Honey'

By Renee Fraser

Frankly, I don't remember how I acquired 'Sweeter Than Honey'.  It may have been a bonus iris, it may have been won at an auction, or perhaps it was a prize from the San Fernando Valley Iris Society.  In any case, it is not a color I would have chosen.  You see, I don't do pastels.  I am a fan of florescent salmon, shocking scarlet, bright orchid purple, and sunny yellow.  Pastels have a hard time standing up to such an onslaught.

Nevertheless, this pastel iris won my heart through its sheer excellence in the garden.  Not only is the flower itself huge and perfectly formed and ruffled, it puts on the best show of any iris I have ever grown. It not only blooms extravagantly, it blooms FOREVER.  In the last two years, this thing has started in January or February and it has bloomed non-stop until June.  In case you don't believe me, I have documented this phenomenon on Facebook.  You can look it up.

Here it is blooming early in the season, before the roses get going.

I first got it in 2012, and I have not yet divided it.  I thinned it a little this year by pulling off a few rhizomes from the edges and the middle of the clump, but it bloomed prolifically last season, and I don't want to jinx it!

Not only has it bloomed better than any other iris, it actually looks very pretty next to screaming florescent salmon-orange and dark pink roses.  Here it is still going strong at the peak of rose season.

When it is backlit, it outshines the brighter roses.  I have tried to get a photo of the effect, but I don't yet have the skills to capture it.

 'Sweeter Than Honey' was hybridized by Bob Van Liere and registered in 2011.  The description says it is 35" tall and blooms midseason, although mine blooms for almost half the year.  It won an Honorable Mention in 2015.

This iris has been a favorite of mine since 2013, when it started to outdo the other flowers in the garden.  If you are looking for an iris with a modern, ruffled form that performs, give 'Sweeter Than Honey' a shot.


  1. Really enjoyed reading this. Beautiful pictures. Renee, were these pictures taken at your home? If so, WOW!

  2. Nice information.. i like your blog. :)

  3. In the top photo, what is the name of the iris to the left of "Sweeter Than Honey?"

  4. Same question: what is that iris to the left of "Sweeter than Honey?" Is it "Coffee Whispers?"

  5. Such a teasing article given nobody has imported it into Aus


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