Iris varieties. Which Is Your Favorite?

#1

During my trip back East to celebrate my granddaughter’s college graduation, I stayed with her other grandparents for a few days. Ever since my daughter and their son became engaged, we’ve been friends, so it was nice to spend some time with them.

The afternoon before graduation the other grandma and I toured the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Essex County. It was late in the iris season, but most of the varieties were still blooming.

#2

Being an artist more than a gardener, I didn’t take note of the various irises’ names. Instead, I contented myself with enjoying their beauty.

#3

Irises remind me of Japanese flower arrangements …

… and one of my tea pots.

Here are some more of my favorites from the garden.

#4

I know they’re all beautiful, but can you choose a favorite? How about the party-pink ruffles of #5?

#5

These are only a few of the 1500 iris varieties in the garden. I like the purple and white elegance of #6.

#6

Number seven makes me think of Hollywood in the 1930s. Does that make sense?

#7

The guileless simplicity of yellow and white calls to mind thoughts of sunshine and plain cold milk.

#8

What do you call the colors in #9? They’d look fine on a lady with a long, bustled dress I think.

#9

Number ten starts simple with plum and white and then bleeds in some red and pink.

#10

Velvet magenta, lilac-pink, and violet-red, #11 has beautiful depth of color.

#11

Number twelve is pure and simple. If you like sweetness and effortless sincerity, this one is for you.

#12

For me, #13 conjures up clouds and kittens.

#13

This last one wants to twirl and clap its hands to the sound of  a flamenco guitar.

#14

So … which one do you like best?

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About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
family, Gardens, photography , , ,

28 comments


  1. Didn’t know irises came in so many different colours. When I was a kid, I remember seeing the purple and white one a lot in Malaysia, like picture #10. They were very popular in the flower shops then for so many occasions. But being someone with allergies, I try to stay clear of flowers – see, but not touch or get too near.




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    • When I was a kid, I only knew about one kind of iris, something like number two. Also, when I was younger, we only knew one kind of orchid. They were big, and we used them for corsages. Later when we visited the orchid gardens in Singapore, I was shocked to see the many varieties.




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  2. They’re all beautiful, but I like number six the best. Of course, number eight is a close second. Lovely photos, Nicki.




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  3. Maureen Rogers

    All of them are lovely, Nicki, the pink iris was a surprise. Made me realize I want to add some variety to my yard next year. In flower arrangements my favorites have always been the slender spiky Japanese variety.




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    • The pink ruffles surprised me also. I think the spiky Japanese varieties you’re talking about were early bloomers. There were whole flower beds that had already finished.




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  4. I love irises. If they bloomed all summer they’d be all over my yard! I’m partial to blues — light and dark. Simple beauty!




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  5. Oh my goodness!! Such variety! As Jill said, they’re all beautiful. Number 6 was planted around the yard in my area. I love the appeal of number 7. I know what you mean. It has that old Hollywood glamour.

    A friend planted a black iris in her yard. I put a photo of it budding on one of my blogs. Here is a link to a photo of one online (https://www.schreinersgardens.com/black)




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  6. I love iris, especially the Japanese variety.




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    • In the garden we visited, they called the Japanese irises “non-bearded” irises. They were finished blooming by the time we arrived. On this link I read that “they have been cultivated in Japan for over 500 years, and were once restricted to enjoyment by royalty only.”




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  7. The traditional blue and yellow is my favorite. Not that the others aren’t pretty, I just think that color combination is the most striking and unique. Pink and yellow are everywhere.




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    • The traditional blue and yellow iris (I think of it as purple and yellow) reminds me of the flowers in my grandma’s yard. It definitely is a striking combination.




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  8. Vive la difference! That said, it’s a tie between #2 and #3 for me followed by #6 and #8.




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  9. The first appeals to me for its delicacy




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  10. Impossible choice, Nicki. I love them all. Iris are gorgeous flowers and your pics are really pretty. Maybe #7 because the colors are less common?




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  11. I love all Irises, but #2 will always be my favorite, because of two reasons:
    1) The complementary colors of yellow and purple are my favorite colors
    2) I painted some for a good friend, but while I was working on them, she died. So I still have them.




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    • You have two compelling reasons for preferring that iris, Patsy–one from the artist’s eye and the other from the heart.




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      • Thanks, Nicki! I will tell you, though, flowers are hard for me to paint because I get so caught up in the details! And I love that particular kind because of my friend, Andrea. I still miss her. She was like a second mom to me for years.




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        • It’s hard to ignore the details, isn’t it, when the subject is as beautiful as a flower. When I studied Chinese brush painting, we didn’t learn to paint flowers from the real thing. We followed the traditional Chinese way of painting them. It was a whole different philosophy of art. We started with plum blossoms in two styles and went on to paint orchids, chrysanthemums, and peonies. I think the purpose was to perfect our brush strokes. Only after two or three years were we ready to strike out on our own.




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