Iris 'Broadleigh Rose'

Irises: Intricately Beautiful

Late spring feels really special when the irises start to flower. The iris above is (I think) a Pacific Coast iris called ‘Broadleigh Rose’. It was given to me by my generous friend Judy. (Thanks Judy!) This is the first time it has flowered and I’m delighted with it.

Irises are a marvellous plant for photography. They have it all – rich colours, striking markings, and a really ‘architectural’ shape. Iris sibirica is probably my favourite for photography because it combines an elegant shape with the boldest of markings.

At the moment, these irises are all living in large containers. They’re patiently waiting for me to finish preparing the border that will be their home. (That area previously had a row of huge conifers growing behind it in the neighbouring garden, so it was difficult to get anything to grow there. With the removal of the trees, I’ve had the chance to rejuvenate the area.)

Iris sibirica 'Currier'
Iris sibirica ‘Currier’

The new border runs most of the way along one side of the garden. There are already several well-established shrubs and some more recently planted small fruit trees along the border. But most of the rest is fairly bare, with just some planting at one end.

Eventually (!) this border will have a pond and a bog area. I’d really like to grow moisture-loving plants and this seems to be the only way that I can do it. (Unlike the garden in Scotland, where poor drainage meant we had areas that could flood.)

The pond has been dug out. (That took me a long time!) Now I need to level out the ground around it a bit, as the garden has a slight slope. This job is proving difficult because the ground has become so dried out.

But the irises are cheering me on with their vibrant colours, so hopefully it won’t be too long before they have the chance to get settled in to their new surroundings. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the border will look like next year!

Iris sibirica
Iris sibirica

21 thoughts on “Irises: Intricately Beautiful

    1. Thank you Indira! I do love these irises…and the bigger bearded irises too. I started an account on flickr, but never go into it. I’ve decided that I like blogging best!


  1. They truly are beautiful. The first one is a gorgeous colour. Good luck with the pond, I would love a pond but unless I can find someone to create one for me mine will have to be confined to a large container above ground!

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    1. Thanks Jude! I’m very lucky with that iris – it’s a very similar colour to the paint on the rendering on the house walls, so should fit in very well. 🙂 The pond has taken me forever – last summer I just chipped away at it slowly because the ground was so dry. This year I should at least be able to get water in it!


  2. These are beautiful — so much fancier than our natives. Still, the natives have surprise going for them. There’s nothing like suddenly spotting a group of them off in the woods, or in a local ditch. You’ve certainly nurtured some fine ones in your garden. It will be fun to see how they take to the pond.

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    1. I remember seeing the yellow flag iris (native in the UK) growing by a stream when I was a kid. It was fairly plain, but coming upon it unexpectedly and seeing it for the first time made it seem magical. 🙂

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  3. Your irises are stunning, Ann, especially the pink and yellow one. One of my neighbors who is also a photographer has lots of irises in her garden and I have been photographing them this spring as I attempt to stay as close to home as possible. On occasion I go out to a wildlife refuge that is not too far away and on a recent trip I saw a large number of yellow irises growing in some marshy areas, irises that I assume are yellow flag irises.

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    1. Thanks Mike! 🙂 I hadn’t seen the pink iris before, but my friend has lots of exciting plants in her garden and sometimes gives me a bit of one. I remember seeing the yellow flag irises where I lived as a little girl. They looked rather exotic growing in the wild.


  4. Hi Ann – running behind this week… love your iris images – they are gorgeous. You must show us your pond when you get it all together. I always wanted one of those. My aunt had one with year round huge carp swimming in it when I was a child and it was totally delightful.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the irises Syd! I’m hoping that the pond will provide me with lots to photograph in the future. There won’t be any fish – there are herons on the nearby river – but there should be lots of frogs and dragonflies! 🙂

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  5. Those are beauties, Ann. We have a couple of attractive species in the yard. I was just conversing on FB with a friend about yellow flag irises in a local wet area. They are non-natives here and considered by some to be invasive but the clump we were talking about have been well-behaved for a number of years. I should make a few images.

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  6. I am so excited you are digging a pond! I have wanted one in my back yard, too. I hope you will share pictures. I would love to see what it looks like. Irises are amazing. I really need to get with the program in growing plants.

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    1. I will use it for photography but building it is a slow process! It rained for the first time in weeks, so the ground’s just soft enough to work on the levels around the pond. (We’re on a slight slope.)


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