Press "Enter" to skip to content

Irises, garden show-stoppers

For several weeks, Gloucester County appeared to be bathed in warm shades of golden light: lemony, buttery, egg yolky yellows, with touches of salmon, coral, and key lime. Sadly, many of the early daffodils have faded, their silken petals turning papery and brown.

The first brief weeks of spring are special; their soft colors prepare us for the next wave of brighter, richer hues in May and June, and some of my favorite flowers, the silken, ruffled blooms of irises.

In Greek mythology, Iris was the messenger goddess, symbolized by the rainbow. Iris flower colors range from white through sherbet shades of pink, peach, and yellow to deeper burgundies and purples, to indigos so deep they are almost black. Alas, there is no true red iris.

Approximately 250 to 300 species belong to the genus Iris, although the thousands of colorful cultivars of the old-fashioned tall bearded iris (Iris germanica) are most often grown in American gardens.

The sword-shaped, vivid green leaves of t...

To view the rest of this article, you must log in. If you do not have an account with us, please subscribe here.