“The colour of Irises has been changed and extended almost out of recognition during the last thirty years. Hybridization from so many varieties and species, newly discovered, has been immensely facilitated. Irises have, as well, become more scented than they were before….
“Irises are larger than they ever were before: they are deeper, brighter or paler in colour, while their markings are such as the most fanatic of the old florists would have approved. Within its limits nothing has been found impossible of realization….
“The wonderful colour faculty of the Iris, which possesses in its species, or primitives as they could be called, such depth and brilliance, such texture and translucency, made a sure guide, we may think, to the dormant proclivities of the flower.”
From A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts by Kelly Norris:
“Bearded irises aren’t stalwarts of the gardening tradition for nothing. Hike on over to your local cemetery, and you’ll probably find a clump of bearded irises, purple or yellow, maybe white, growing effortlessly along the fence or atop a gravesite. They probably get mowed off in June each year, and yet for decades they’ve persisted. Sure, they don’t make them all this tough anymore, and like everything, irises do best with some care and attention. For bearded irises, this basically means keeping them groomed and divided, in a sunny, well-drained spot.”
This is the first of two posts featuring yellow and white irises from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens. The white irises were the first ones I encountered this year, and I photographed them as far back as early March. Many sustained damage from a mid-March freeze and never quite fully recovered, leading to blossoms that opened partially or opened with missing or desiccated flower petals. Yet they are still unmistakeable as irises, and white — like yellow — has a way of showing off their shapes and textures as the lighter colors alternate with shadowy detail.
My previous iris posts for this season are:
Thanks for taking a look!