Bloom Season 2015


My reticulatas are mostly in a warm and sheltered bed along the front (southeast face) of the house, where they bloom four to six weeks ahead of those in the open garden - a welcome preview of spring. Iris bloom started on with Iris danfordiae February 8, during an unusually warm spell following heavy snowfall a week before. 'Purple Gem' opened on the 11th, soon followed by 'Natascha' and 'Cantab'. The last week of February was cold and snowy, which slowed things down for awhile. The first two weeks of March were warm and sunny, and 'Katharine Hodgkin' bloomed nicely in the open garden, along with more 'Natascha'.

Iris danfordiae
Iris danfordiae

Iris danfordiae

reticulata iris 'Purple Gem' (probably)
reticulata iris 'Purple Gem' (probably)
reticulata iris 'Natascha'
reticulata irises, February 15
reticulata iris 'Cantab'
reticulata iris 'Katharine Hodgkin'
Bearded Species

Warm weather the first two weeks in March ushered in pumila season, with a Hildebrandt seedling from SIGNA seed 04A004 opening on March 18, the same date as last year. This one is building a consistent reputation as the first bearded iris to bloom here. On March 23, three more pumilas opened: 'Hobbit' (Miller, '04) an Armenian seedling P002-04, and a taurica P003-01. P002-05 followed on March 25. 'Sudden Butterflies' (Jensen) bloomed the following day. The last weekend of March brought bloom on 'Steppe' (J. Burton, 2011) and two forms of I. attica. 'Hidden Dragon' opened on March 30, followed by 'Keystone Oracle', more pumila and attica seedlings, and I. babadagica.

The first week in April brought lots of bloom. Pumila cultivars 'Wild Whispers' and 'Royal Wonder' put on a great show on established clumps, joined by 'Little Drummer Boy'. More new seedlings bloomed: I. pumila, I. attica, and I. suaveolens. Established clumps of I. suaveolens rubromarginata and I. reichenbachii put on a lovely show. A one-year-old grey-white Armenian pumila seedling with a dusky violet spot really caught my eye. The mysterious Vardar Gorge plant opened on April 7, along with its seedling. The first I. aphylla bloom opened on April 11. On the same day, I had an interesting pumila seedling with an orange cast and long, spider-like petals. A one-year-old Iris taochia raised from seed opened April 13. A couple one-year-old seedlings of I. reichenbachii bloomed by mid-April, and an established clump of I. schachtii started on April 15. A hard freeze the morning of the 17th wiped out most of what was in bloom. I. aphylla 'Slick' was waiting in the wings, opening on April 20, followed by 'Ahlburg' on the 22nd. Various other aphyllas bloomed around the same time. Another seedling opened on May 4 from seeds obtained as "Iris reichenbachii", but which appears to be Iris variegata. Two others from the same group of seeds opened later in the month. The last to bloom was I. pallida variegata, from late May through early June.

I. pumila 04A004
I. pumila ex Armenia

I. pumila taurica

(Miller, 2004)
I. pumila ex Armenia
'Sudden Butterflies'
(J. Burton, 2011)
I. attica
I. attica
'Hidden Dragon'
(Tankesley-Clarke, 2003)
'Keystone Oracle'
(Jesberger, 2011)
I. pumila ex Armenia
I. babadagica
blue form
I. pumila ex Armenia
'Royal Wonder'
(Coleman, 2013)
'Wild Whispers'
(Coleman, 2012)
'Little Drummer Boy'
(Willott, 1997)
I. pumila ex Armenia
I. attica
I. attica
I. attica
I. suaveolens rubromarginata
I. reichenbachii
I. pumila
I. suaveolens
I. pumila ex Armenia
I. pumila taurica ex Russian Caucasus
Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii
ex Vardar Gorge, Macedonia
I. suaveolens
I. suaveolens
I. babadagica
white form
I. aphylla
I. pumila seedling ("clausii" x aequiloba)
I. taochia
I. pumila ex Armenia
I. reichenbachii
I. schachtii
I. aphylla 'Slick'
(L. Markham, 2003)
I. aphylla 'Ahburg'
(Chacellor/Rust, R. 2013)
I. aphylla Hungary
presumably I. variegata
presumably I. variegata

presumably I. variegata
I. pallida variegata

 Dwarf and Median Cultivars

The first hybrid MDB cultivar to bloom was 'Rosa Brooks' on March 28, almost a week earlier than last year. By the first week of April, it was joined by 'Trimmed Velvet', 'Storm Compass', and then a very pale 'Alpine Lake'. SDB season began with 'Pussycat Pink' on April 7. 'Rain Dance' opened on April 12, with 'Heart Stopper' following the next day. 'Abuzz with Charm' and 'Keeno' opened on the 16th. There was a hard frost the following morning, and the irises were slow in bouncing back. 'Kaching' opened on the 19th, but other medians were sill on hold. Things started to pick up again the first week of May, with blooms on 'Starfield', 'Riveting', 'Night Mood', and 'Hot News'. 'Sultry Dreams', the first of the Craig tetraploid medians, opened on May 11. MTBs and BBs were coming into their own by mid-May, with blooms on 'Sun Spirit', 'Butterscotch Blush', 'Rayos Adentro', and 'She's a Doll'. 'Brown Lasso' opened May 21. SPEC-X 'Magyar Medley' and MTB 'Fernie Bridge' ended up the season at the end of May.

MDB 'Rosa Brooks'
(J. Burton, 2011)
MDB 'Trimmed Velvet'
(D. Spoon, 2006)

MDB 'Storm Compass'
(Chancellor/Rust, 2014)

SDB 'Pussycat Pink'
(Black, 2006)
MDB 'Alpine Lake'
(Willott, 1981)
SDB 'Rain Dance'
(B. Jones, 1979)
SDB 'Heart Stopper'
(Coleman, 2013)
SDB 'Abuzz With Charm'
(Coleman, 2013)
MDB 'Keeno'
(Johnson, 2009)
SDB 'Kaching'
(Black, 2009)
IB 'Starfield'
(Tasco, 2012)
SDB 'Riveting'
(Black, 2009)
SPEC-X 'Night Mood'
(L. Markham, 2003)
MTB 'Hot News'
(S. Markham, 2009)
IB 'Sultry Dreams'
(Craig, 2008)
BB 'Bundle of Love'
(Black, 2007)
MTB 'Sun Spirit'
(Craig, 2007)
MTB 'Rayos Adentro'
(Morgan, 2007)
BB 'Butterscotch Blush'
(D. Miller, 2009)
MTB 'She's a Doll'
(L. Miller, 2010)
BB 'Brown Lasso'
(Buckles/Niswonger, 1975)

SPEC-X 'Magyar Medley'
(Edinger, 1999)


Arilpum 'Aladdin's Gem' opened on April 8. Next was 'Loudmouth', another arilbred dwarf, on April 13. My first arilbred dwarf seedling, BP002-01 ('Aztec Prince' X I. pumila "clausii") opened on April 16. I'm delighted with its aril traits and overall look. Its sibling opened on the 25th. The first weekend of May brought blooms on 'Alakazam', 'Concerto Grosso', 'Jeweled Veil', and 'Speckled Veil'. 'Wadi Safra Moonlight' and 'Bold Sentry' opened on May 5. The second week of May brought blooms on 'Shaman's Magic', 'Sand Dancer', 'Refiner's Fire', and 'Bhutan'. 'Refiner's Fire' kept going longer than any of the others, still in bloom on June 1.

arilbred dwarf 'Aladdin's Gem'
(Thoolen, 2002)
arilbred dwarf 'Loudmouth'
(Rich, 1970)

arilbred dwarf

arilbred dwarf
(Tasco, 2013)
'Concerto Grosso'
(Mathes, 1998)
'Jeweled Veil'
(Rich, 1978)
'Speckled Veil'
(McGrath, 2012)
'Silent Sentry'
(Tasco, 2008)
'Wadi Safra Moonlight'
(Chacon, 2008)
'Shaman's Magic'
(Tasco, 2014)
'Sand Dancer'
(Tasco, 2010)
'Refiner's Fire'
(McGrath, 2007)
(Tasco, 2010)
(Johnson, 2008)


Iris paradoxa atrata gave an early start to aril season, opening on April 9. It's a large clump this year, with many buds opening in succession. Next was the stolonifera hybrid 'Merlin's Magic', beginning on the 13th. A hard frost the morning of April 17 slowed things down a bit, but 'Tadzhiki Bandit' and 'Orion' opened later that day, apparently none the worse for wear. I. acutiloba lineolata opened on the 19th, followed by I. hoogiana purpurea (my first hoogiana to bloom) on the 20th. Another clone of I. paradoxa opened on the 24th, followed by I. stolonifera 'Chocolate' on the 25th. 'Werckmeister's Beauty' opened on the first of May, followed by yet another I. paradoxa clone and then I. barnumae urmiensis. I did not expect bloom on 'Vera' this year, but it opened May 7.

Iris paradoxa atrata
Regelia hybrid 'Merlin's Magic'
(Jensen, 1986)

RC 'Orion'
(Van Tubergen)

'Tadzhiki Bandit'
(Ransom, 1997)
Iris acutiloba lineolata
Iris hoogiana purpurea
Iris paradoxa
Iris stolonifera 'Chocolate'
'Werckmeister's Beauty'
(Werckmeister by McAllister, 1992)
Iris paradoxa
Iris barnumae urmiensis
(Van Tubergen)
Tall Bearded

TB season officially began with 'Satan's Mistress' on May 6. By mid-May, two plicatas were in bloom, old and new: 'Swert' and 'Ink Patterns'. (However, it was a prolific unidetified yellow that "came with the house" - 'Ola Kala', perhaps - that stole the show during most of May.) Small-flowered TB 'Are You Crazy' also bloomed in mid-May, although it was neither particularly tall nor particularly small-flowered here. 'Penguin Party' opened on the 23rd, followed by 'Gypsy Lord' on the 25th. 'Montmartre' and 'Conjuration' closed out the season in late May and early June.

'Satan's Mistress'
(Seligmann, 1983)

'Ink Patterns'
(Johnson, 2007)

'Are You Crazy'
(Black, 2012)
'Penguin Party'
(Johnson, 2010)
'Gypsy Lord'
(Keppel, 2006)

(Keppel, 2008)
(Byers, 1989)

 Tom Waters

February 2015

updated June 2015



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Unless otherwise noted, all text and illustrations copyright Tom Waters and all photographs copyright Tom or Karen Waters. Please do not reproduce without permission.