Monday, April 15, 2019

The Heralds of Spring

By Virginia Spoon

After a long cold winter, nothing invigorates my spirit like going out to the garden and seeing the spring bloom of the irises. The tiny miniature dwarfs are the earliest of the bearded irises to bloom.  I love the early bulbous irises that bloom even earlier such as danfordiae and reticulata, however, the tiny bearded dwarfs are my favorites.

 Miniature dwarf irises blooming in early April. Photo--Ginny Spoon

We have a large collection of miniature dwarfs and it is sometimes hard to find a place to put them so they won't get over shadowed by the larger irises. We put one large planting on a bank and when they are blooming  in March and April they cover it with a carpet of color. 

           Miniature dwarf iris planting at Winterberry.  Photo--Ginny Spoon

Shorter than the standard dwarf bearded irises (8-16 inches), the miniatures top out at 8" tall. They are tiny and to be enjoyed to the fullest, they should be planted either in a rock garden setting or a raised area. They bloom early too, so you may want to plant them close to your house so you won't miss any of the bloom.

                     Miniature dwarf iris 'African Wine'.  Photo--Ginny Spoon

"Pixie Flirt' is a vigorous grower and it can grow into a marvelous clump in just a few years.

                                             'Pixie Flirt'  Photo--Ginny Spoon

Winter Aconite,  Snowdrops, small narcissus such as 'Tete- a- Tete' make good companion plants for the miniature dwarfs.

                                      Winter Aconite  Photo--Ginny Spoon

The bulbous iris reticulata is a good companion plant, and they bloom even earlier than the dwarf irises, sometimes even in the snow. 

                                                   Iris reticulata  Photo--Ginny Spoon

 ' Atroviolacea'   Photo-- Ginny Spoon

The miniature dwarf 'Atroviolacea' is usually the first bearded iris to bloom for us, sometimes even in the March snow.

                            Miniature daffodils 'Tete-a-Tete'  Photo -- Ginny Spoon

        'Early Sunshine' usually follows second behind the bloom of 'Atroviolacea'. 

                                          'Early Sunshine'  Photo--Ginny Spoon

                                               'Kayla's Song' Photo--Carol Coleman

We were excited that our 'Kayla's Song' received the Caparne Welch Medal in 2018.
We are members of the Dwarf Iris Society and if you would like to join us contact our membership chair:  Rose Kinnard (

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of the class. I like the emphasis on other seasonal plants to put the MDBs in context.


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