From “Developing the Flower” in Iris: The Classic Bearded Varieties by Claire Austin:
“Over the past century the development of the bearded iris has been tremendous. At the beginning of this period the flowers came in only white, yellow or purple, or occasionally a combination of all three colours. This often resulted in a murky blend of muted shades. Since then, hybridizers have expanded the range into a vast rainbow of colours — and as the number of tones has increased, so has the size of the flower. Because of this, the petals, which once were smooth and delicate in shape, are now of necessity ruffled, fluted and thick in substance.”
“Here at the corner facing the Lunatic Asylum beds and the large Ivy-covered Yew, the mixture [of irises] is mostly composed of yellows, bronzes, and whites. Of the former Gracchus is one of the best, and so free in growth and flowering that it needs no care; the daffodil-yellow standards are as bright a yellow as any Iris could produce, while the falls are netted with crimson and white and so proclaim it a form of I. variegata, but in size and colouring it quite eclipses its parent, who has to live a little further along round the bend to avoid being put to shame by her handsome child.”
The second quotation above is from one of the three delightful seasonal botany books written by Edward Augustus Bowles (1865-1954). You may remember his Lunatic Asylum since I wrote about it previously (see Winter Shapes: Corkscrew Hazel) — and it’s always fun to me to find a relevant quotation from his books for one of my posts. I like his writing style, because — even in the short selection above — you get a sense of the pure joy he feels observing and writing about what he sees in his gardens. The three books are available from Books to Borrow at the Internet Archive, at these links:
My Garden in Summer, and
My other iris posts for this season are:
Thanks for taking a look!