Bloom Season 2016

Bearded Species

Weather in early March was unseasonably warm. The first Iris pumila to bloom this year was 'Sudden Butterflies', which opened on March 15. The following week saw Hildebrandt seedling from SIGNA 04A004, P018-02 (taurica ex Caucasus), and my seedling P011-02 ("clausii" X aequiloba). The final week of March was colder and wetter, slowing things down a bit. Nevertheless, 'Sudden Butterflies' and P018-02 continued, joined by Armenian pumilas P002-14 and P002-01 and the yellow taurica from Wrightman Alpines. On April 1, T009-03 bloomed, greeted by rain and freezing weather. This is purportedly I. reichenbachii, but its characteristics seem to match Iris suaveolens instead. April 3 brought a second bloom on this one, along with 'Royal Wonder' and T013-01, a nice I. reichenbachii from Archibald seed. 'Wild Whispers' and 'Little Drummer Boy'. On April 10, my aphylla X pumila seedling bloomed, showing less of a reddish spot than last year. April 11 brought bloom on I. reichenbachii from Odyssey Bulbs and another of the T009 I. reichenbachii (or suaveolens) seedlings. I. aphylla fieberi bloomed the following week, followed by I. aphylla Witt V-4 and 'Ahlburg' the last week of April. T006-01, an I. aphylla seedling, bloomed May 8.

'Sudden Butterflies'
(Jensen, R. 2010)

Hildebrandt seedling from SIGNA 04A004

I. pumila taurica ex Caucasus

I. pumila "clausii" X I. pumila aequiloba
I. pumila ex Armenia
I. reichenbachii (or suaveolens?)
'Royal Wonder'
(Coleman, 2013)
'Wild Whispers'
(Coleman, 2012)
'Little Drummer Boy'
(Willott, 1997)
I. pumila ex Armenia
Iris pumila taurica
I. aphylla X I. pumila
Iris sp. aff. reichenbachii ex Vardar Gorge, Macedonia
I. reichenbachii (or suaveolens?)
I. reichenbachii
I. reichenbachii
I. aphylla fieberi
I. aphylla Witt V-4

I. aphylla 'Ahlburg'
(Chancellor/Rust, R. 2013)
Slick X I. aphylla bohemica

Dwarf and Median Cultivars

I had a little surprise on April 8, when 'Alpine Lake' bloomed. I believed I had removed it a couple years ago. 'Abuzz with Charm' launched SDB season on April 9. 'Wine Dark Sea', a SPEC-X hybrid from the Vardar Gorge plant X I. aphylla, bloomed on the 18th. the end of April brought bloom on SDB 'Eye of the Tiger', but also a winter storm which dumped several inches of snow on us, but fortunately the temperature did not go below 30F. The first week of May saw bloom on IB 'Dazzling' and SPEC-X 'Night Mood'. MTB 'Hot News' opened May 7, with 'Cotillion Ball' following on the 10th amidst rain and hail. 'East Hampton' bloomed on the 13th,'Sultry Dreams' on the 15th, and 'Brown Lasso' wrapped up the season, opening on May 18. There was much less bloom this year than I expected, even on established clumps. I suspect it was the harsh weather we had last summer at bud-set time.

MDB 'Alpine Lake'
(Willott, 1980)

SDB 'Abuzz with Charm'
(Coleman, 2013)

SPEC-X 'Wine Dark Sea'
(Baumunk, 2014)

IB 'Dazzling'
(Black, 2008)
SPEC-X 'Night Mood'
(L. Markham, 2003)
MTB 'Hot News'
(S. Markham, 2009)
BB 'East Hampton'
(Vaughn, 2012)
IB 'Sultry Dreams'
(Craig, 2008)
BB 'Brown Lasso'
(Buckles/Niswonger, 1975)


Arilbred dwarf 'Loudmouth' was the first arilbred to bloom, opening on April 15. My own ABD seedling BP002-01 was next on April 19, with siblings BP002-02 and BP002-03 following on April 23 and April 24, respectively. 'Eye to Eye' and 'Jonnye's Magic' bloomed the first week of May, a few days after our snow storm. Arilbred bloom picked up the second week of May, with 'Shaman's Magic' and ABM seedling SB001-01 opening on the 6th, followed by 'Tactical Diversion'. 'Iridescent Orange', and 'Jeweled Veil'.

ABD 'Loudmouth'
(Rich, 1970)



ABM 'Eye to Eye'
(Keppel, 2009)
AB 'Jonnye's Magic'
(Rich by Whitely, 1992)
AB 'Shaman's Magic'
(Tasco, 2014)
AB 'Tactical Diversion'
(Chacon, 2008)

AB 'Jeweled Veil'
(Rich, 1978)
ABM 'Iridescent Orange'
(Mathes, 2001)


Aril season began in a big way during the third week of April. A somewhat bedraggled I. acutiloba lineolata bloomed on April 16, followed by two forms of I. hoogiana and tetraploid arils 'Tadzhiki Bandit', 'Tadzhiki Eclipse', 'Werckmeister's Beauty', and 'Dunshanbe' all blooming April 18 or 19. The classic regeliocyclus hybrid 'Orion' opened a the same time. Three stolonifera selections bloomed the following week: 'Chocolate', 'Merlin's Magic', and 'Network'. I. paradoxa opened at the end of April, and weathered the snow storm unscathed. 'Vera' came on late in the season, opening May 5. I. paradoxa gave a second burst of bloom beginning May 12.

I. hoogiana purpurea

I. hoogiana 'Purple Dawn'

'Tadzhiki Bandit'
(Ransom, 1997)

'Tadzhiki Eclipse'
(Ransom, 1997)
'Werckmeister's Beauty'
(Werckmeister by McAllister, 1992)
(Wilkes, 1977)
(Van Tubergen, NR)
I. acutiloba lineolata
I. stolonifera 'Chocolate'
I. stolonifera 'Merlin's Magic'
(Jensen, 1986)
I. paradoxa
(Van Tubergen, NR)

Tall Bearded

TB season began with the extraordinarily early 'Catchy Name', which put on quite a show on a large clump this year. 'Satan's Mistress' followed on May 7. I have a large yellow NOID TB than came with the house, which I suspected might be 'Ola Kala', so I acquired 'Ola Kala' to grow side by side with it. They are different, but that might be because 'Ola Kala' is on a first-year plant. The NOID started blooming on May 5, with 'Ola Kala' waiting until May 18. I. pallida variegata (sometimes known as "Zebra") bloomed May 22.

'Catchy Name'
(Seligmann, 1983)

'Satan's Mistress'
(Seligmann, 1983)


 Tom Waters

March 2017

updated May 2017



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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.