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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Irises Have It

This small and lightly fragranced flower really has me ooohing and aaahhing the past few weeks.

Neomarica caerulea ‘Regina’ Giant Apostle's Iris is happy in the shifting light of the oak tree canopy and doesn't require the extra water so many irises seek.

The substantially erect green leaves are pretty giant as her name suggests, but each little burst of blue flowering glory is only a couple of inches at her broadest span.

Even so, she certainly packs a lot of punch into her tiny size.

So many dimensions and interest in every layer of outrageous brightness.

Regina's irregular stripey markings along with mixtures of the deepest magenta-brown coupled with blues, violets, greens, yellow and white give way to her tropical, exotic appeal.

If you catch her just before the sun crests you will find her seemingly withdrawn and shy in appearance as she begins her morning.

Not really timid at all she is only beginning to reveal herself at that hour. Afterall she only has one entire day to unfold all that makes her beautiful. Once the sun goes down it's a new buds' turn to bloom.

And so it goes from spring through summer.

Close-by a pass-a-long gift from my painting teacher. A smaller (in foliage) variety of 'walking' iris is not to be outshined by Regina. Neomarica caerulea Gracilis is born on a shinier, shorter, sword-like blade in white arrangements with an equally exotic center. Also an apostle's 'walking' iris that multiplies on its own. As each flower walks its way to the ground arching over from the weight of the spent bloom and starts another plant.

The pristine white African irises have been around Hoe and Shovel for many years. They are an easy, Florida-friendly plant whose drought resistant, evergreen qualities make them a must-have on my list.

Dietes iridioides (sometimes called Fortnight lily or Morea iris) are simply one of those plants that can be used in multiple situations. Even in container pots they add height and dimension as the year round thriller.

Happy in the direct sun or partial shade their blooms appear on tall scapes in repeated flushes throughout the spring, summer, and into fall.

By far the largest Irises gracing the spring garden are the 'Sinfonietta' Louisiana Irises.
They were a little late blooming this year compared to last. They were worth the wait since so many were divided after last spring we've more to gander this go round.

Multiplying them into more and more plants is done not only for enjoying larger numbers of the vibrant blue and yellow throated blooms.

But in a bleak winter garden like this year their spiking, upright evergreen stems are a stand out in any planting bed.

My only complaint (if there is one)is blooming only for about a month in total their cheery bright flowers just don't last long enough.

So until next year, we'll look forward to these earliest of spring bloomers at a time when every ounce of color is appreciated.


  1. Those are all beautiful irises. The Louisiana is the only one of those that I've grown. Such lovely colors on all of yours.

  2. Oh my gosh, I am in awe of your iris collection. I have the yellow walking iris and I think the Fortnight Lily. I really love your Neomarica caerulea ‘Regina’ Giant Apostle's Iris, what a stunner.

    Enjoy all that beauty surrounding you.


  3. My walking Iris should be opening today...

  4. That is a nice iris collection! And beautiful photos. I wonder why these Florida-friendly irises are so tough to find in my local nurseries. I just bought a neomarica a few weeks ago, as the one I planted a couple of years ago failed to return. I got it at a backyard plant sale, so I knew it should be pretty tough. I think I made the mistake of planting it in too dry/sunny of a spot. Going for shady and moist this time.

  5. I have some walking iris in bloom now. They're so pretty aren't they?
    I must make note of the other iris that grow so beautifully in your Florida garden. Maybe they'll grow here too.

  6. I had just finished taking pictures of the different irises I have here at My Garden Path, when I saw your new post. We have many of the same ones. Regina is new to my garden and has only put out one bloom so far. Yours are stunning. I hope mine will follow suit and be as beautiful. Interestingly, the two walking iris other than Regina that I grow, I also received as pass-along plants. I have the blue/white and a yellow. That Louisiana iris is gorgeous. I haven't any of those...yet.

  7. Your iris colloction is nice! I agree with Floridagirl that it is quite hard to find these iris here. I only have the african iris white and yellow in my garden. Your African Iris white looks so gorgeous with flowers so prolific! I will definetly keep eyes on all other iris you are showing, blue/purple is my favorite colors in the garden :)

  8. What a beautiful collection of irises Meems. Gorgeous pictures. I love the Fortnight lily with its yellow accent.

  9. Stunning irises, Meems. I can see why you are smitten, as am I! Your photos are lovely and am especially taken with the arbor in the background. May is grand!

  10. Hi Meems, your photos are so vivid, especially the macro shots, which make the flowers even more stunning. How i wish the blue iris can also grow here!

  11. Dontcha just love iris season!-- Randy

  12. my African Iris' are in full, beautiful bloom today, and they add so much to the entry garden near my front door. thank you so much for my starter plants - i think of you each time i pass by them. those i planted in the back yard are doing well too. now about those Louisiana Iris'? ;-)

  13. Hi Meems~~ What a stunner! So many vivid markings on this amazing iris. This is just more evidence of your amazing plant diversity. My compliments.

  14. Not only are the iris beautiful but they are carefree, too...asking very little from the gardener. You can't help but love such a great plant.

  15. ohmigosh! THe blue of yore irises is stunnin'--gorgeous!

    Hope all y'all is well.

  16. Meems, Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures of your gardens. I feel like I am in your yard with a cup of coffee.Janis

  17. Wow, those are so gorgeous Meems!

  18. Your photos are inspirational. I need to figure out where irises will fit in with my garden plans. It might not be this summer though. Will it work if I wait until October to put them in?

  19. Mom,
    Please don't let me forget to get some of these out of the ground next time you are here and you're ready.

    October will be fine... they don't bloom until spring.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway