|Iris reticulata and friends.|
Anno twenty-three February two thousand and seventeen
"This little bulb (named after the net-like coat of fibers that protects the bulb itself) is one of the best-loved of all irises, giving pleasure out of all proportion to its size––it is only a few inches tall. Its velvety blue flowers flecked with gold arrive in very early spring, and are heavily scented. It is quite hardy and increases fast in well-drained preferably alkaline soil––a few bulbs planted 3 inches deep and 4 inches apart in autumn will form an established colony in a year of two.
Being so small, do not let the irises get swamped in a large border. They are ideal for the rock garden, or for raised troughs, where they can be seen and sniffed near eye-level.
After flowering the leaves present a problem, for they grow very tall and grassy and are something of an eyesore, and must not, of course, be cut down. A light, non-strangulating ground-cover might be planted nearby.*
In her epic poem The Land, Via Sackville-West honored Iris reticulata as one of the earliest flowers of the year."
Quote from: Perfect Plant, Perfect Garden by Ann Scott-James (1913-2009.) Journalist, author of several classic gardening titles.
Published by Summit Books. N.Y. 1988.
* A suggestion for a colorful plant to hide some of those late-stage iris leaves is this spot of summer color, Golden Feverfew, an herb easy to start from broadcasted seeds available at Gatehouse Seeds this spring and summer.
Tanacetum parthenium aurea
Shaw Island, WA.