Iris Reticulata, The Bold And The Bedraggled

Cluster of irises in a pot

Blue and white striped irises are especially lovely, their colour accentuated by a blue pot. I would have guessed these are ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, but they lack the characteristic yellow that suffuses the lip of the lower petals. In compensation, the tips of the crest-like upper petals have artistic streaks of delft blue. 

Small iris with blue stripes

Here is the real ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, elegant and refined against a backdrop of fallen leaves.

The petals of Iris reticulata become flimsy and translucent as they gradually wither away. I usually try to photograph them when the flowers are still sturdy and fresh, but couldn’t resist sharing this yellow cultivar, photographed at Bodnant Garden a few weeks ago:

Iris looking very sorry after the rain

Iris reticulata ‘North Star’ still had an ethereal beauty, despite the bedraggled petals, after successive bouts of cold winter rain. It reminded me of the Wicked Witch of the West’s response to being splashed by water – “I’m melting, I’m melting!”.

Being cold, damp and bedraggled myself at the time, it was easy to sympathise with the flower.

38 Replies to “Iris Reticulata, The Bold And The Bedraggled”

  1. What wonders! You are right that even the poor worn yellow iris has its own beauty. I love iris and in these photos I am particularly intrigued by the way the blues and yellows spill over their contours. Gorgeous! Thank you!

    1. ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ would seem to be blushing except (1) we associate blush with pink, not yellow and (2) the affected part is more like a tongue than a cheek.

    1. Thank you – that’s lovely to hear. Chloris has suggested that the first one may be Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’ which is very similar but without the blush effect.

  2. We had a warm snap a bit ago and I was so sad to see my bulbs start to peek their little sprouts out in January. Of course we were hit very hard this week by some of the most frigid cold ans most snow that we have had in years. They are buried under it know and I am hoping for some insulation among the white stuff, but fearing the worst for my spring bulbs!

      1. Thank you, Susan. Funny, went out this afternoon and we are having another bit of a thaw. I looked down and there they were, still looking healthy and some with buds starting!I don’t care what that groundhog said, I think we’re going to have an early spring! 😁

    1. Update: My bulbs have made it! 😃 Little yellow crocuses are in bloom, and many other bulbs are up, nice and green and healthy awaiting their turn to bud! 🌷

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