Gardening Magazine

In Preference to Snowdrops

By Patientgardener @patientgardener

In preference to snowdrops

I have a weakness for Irises of any description and they are slowly but surely increasing in my garden.  For me it isn’t the snowdrop that signals Spring is nearly here, although I don’t dispute they are lovely things.  No it is the iris reticulata or histriodies.

I buy some bulbs each year, the quantity increases each year, and plant them up in a range of small terracotta pots and pans.  These are placed either on the table outside the living room windows or on the display area at the end of the patio.  I also put a couple of the small pots in the greenhouse just to push the plants to flower even early and cheer me up.  This year’s choice was iris histriodies George which is in the picture above.  For some reason they aren’t the easiest thing to photograph – I just don’t seem to be able to get all the petals in focus.

I love these flowers and prefer the darker blue and purple forms to the lighter shades as I think they have a certain opulence to them.  The petals remind me of imperial velvet.

In preference to snowdrops

Interestingly this year the same day as the iris histriodies George opened in the frost-free greenhouse I discovered an iris reticulata Harmony also in flower in the border.  Only one was in flower so I am presuming that it  was warmed by the blanket of leaves and other perennial debris that I hadn’t cleared away.

I am trying to get the iris established in the garden as well and have learnt that they need to be somewhere where the bulbs can bake in the sun over the summer and that they don’t like to be disturbed.  Some of last year’s bulbs have been planted in the front garden under the windows in the gravel mulched borders.  Others, like the one above, are in the border in the back garden, which at the moment is called the gravel path border as that is what runs along in front of it.  I have planted them in between the large stones that edge the front of the border and they seem quite well protected.

When this year’s new bulbs have finished flowering I shall add them to the collection probably  in the front garden along the side of the driveway.  Hopefully one day they will start to spread and my patience will be rewarded.  Regardless of whether they do or I will carry on buying new bulbs each year and forcing them along in the greenhouse to cheer me up in the gloomy days of January and February.


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