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. The translucent photo is absolutely lovely. So glad you shared it. Miss seeing you at the David Austin booths, and hope you are having a beautiful life.

    1. Thank you! I miss being on the booths too, especially at Chelsea and the GWA, but then how could you not? I hope everything’s going well for you too.

  2. I think the first one is Iris reticulata ‘Eye Catcher’. It’s gorgeous. There are some stunning new hybrids about this year.

  3. I know little to nothing about irises and I don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to photograph any in the past few of years so I really enjoyed this post.

  4. These are early birds! I like the delft blue on the first bunch. I have planted some this year, but already forgotten what variety!

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