Irises on May Day

Happy May Day everyone, here in Italy it is a holiday; all holidays are celebrated on the actual day rather than always on Monday as in the UK, this gives the opportunity for a ‘ponte’ (bridge) so that any holiday next to the weekend or even a Tuesday or Thursday give the chance of a few days holiday by only actually taking one day off as official holiday from work.

Every time I turn around another bearded iris has opened its fat buds and is flowering; here are the first ones to flower.

Iris (name unknown) in the Large Island

Iris (name unknown) in the Large Island

Iris (name unknown) in the Large Island

Iris (name unknown) in the Large Island

Iris 'Chelsea Blue' with a dianthus that has a wonderful cinnamon perfume

Iris ‘Chelsea Blue’ with a dianthus that has a wonderful cinnamon perfume

This small bed is near the vegetable garden, I can’t believe how tall this iris is this year, last year it failed to flower.  Isn’t it amazing?  It must be almost 1,2 metres tall.

Iris 'Chelsea Blue'

Iris ‘Chelsea Blue’

Iris 'Chelsea Blue'

Iris ‘Chelsea Blue’

Iris 'Jane Phillips'

Iris ‘Jane Phillips’

Jane Phillips is one of my favourite bearded irises, she looks wonderful against crimson cistus and gladioli bizantinus.

Iris 'Immortality'

Iris ‘Immortality’

At last this is forming a sizeable clump.

Iris (name unknown)

Iris (name unknown)

Any help with an ID would be greatly appreciated.

Iris 'Perten Hall'

Iris ‘Perten Hall’

Iris 'Rustic Jewel'

Iris ‘Rustic Jewel’

One of my absolute favourites! Iris ‘Rustic Jewel’

Iris purchased last year but I haven't remembered the name, in the Small Island

Iris purchased last year but I haven’t remembered the name, in the Small Island

Iris purchased last year but I haven't remembered the name

Iris purchased last year but I haven’t remembered the name

Do you grow bearded Iris?  Are they flowering now?

Have a great day!

50 thoughts on “Irises on May Day

  1. Beautiful iris! The 1st May is a big holiday over here with lots of outdoor events that will continue this weekend, but today it has poured with rain, washing out a lot of planned outings. More rain is forecast so I think a lot of flowers in the garden will be washed away. Amelia

  2. Wonderful, I am mad on them. You have a lovely selection. My dwarf ones are coming out now but we have to wait a bit here for our tall bearded irises to bloom. Meanwhile we can enjoy yours.

    • One of my mini ones has flowered but the other is a late one and is a bit similar to Rustic Jewel. It was astonishing how quickly they suddenly all opened their beds.

  3. What a great collection. I think that the two rusty coloured ones (Rustic Jewel and the first blood red one) are my favourites. I have blues, but they’ve got some way to go.

  4. Now I feel Iris inadequacy. Wonderful selection of varieties – my favorites are ‘Chelsea Blue’ and ‘Jane Phillips’. The only Iris I have now is Iris tectorum.

  5. Oh these are fabulous Christina! My eyes are especially drawn to the very first one. I hope that somebody can come to your aid with suggestions of possible names. I hope that you enjoy the weekend.

  6. My bearded Irises are not in flower yet, so drooling over yours, the last ruffled one is really pretty. I have lots of Jane Phillips and also grow Immortality but it does not repeat for me.

    • Last year Immortality did have a couple of later flowers but it has taken longer than the others to bulk up, this year at last there should be a reasonable number of flowering stems.

    • Because bearded irises grow so well here, I keep wanting others, luckily they aren’t often seen at local nurseries (how stupid is that?) so I’m not tempted too often.

  7. Hope you had a lovely May Day Christina. It was a holiday here too, and a traditional day for a hike in the countryside…. but it rained all day! I was glad for the garden. Your irises are lovely – I also like Rustic Jewel, and Chelsea Blue is a beauty too. I have a couple of blue ones, all unknown, as well as an orange one… ‘Feu du Ciel’ – should be flowering soon too!

    • I thought I had bought an orange one, there is no sign of it yet or anything that looks like it might be orange. The weather was OK here, we had lunch outside but an Italian wouldn’t have put up with the wind!

  8. I remember some years ago being in Italy around May 1st and driving from Bologna to Siena. There were a lot of people on the roads and, of course, I hadn’t realised it was a big holiday!

    • You’ll love her, she reproduces very quickly and is such a beautiful pale blue. I was lucky enough to be given her by friends when I started the garden so now have enough to use on the slope as well as in the garden.

  9. Iris envy… What a gorgeous collection for May Day 🙂 There is no observed May 1 holiday here, but yesterday felt very much like the beginning of summer, so why not enjoy… 😉

    • May day is quite a big thing in Italy and anyway the Italians like any excuse for a holiday, but the weather doesn’t feel like summer yet, not even spring really, it is still incredibly chilly!

  10. Gorgeous, one and all. I’m very envious – only one of my bearded Iris (an unknown variety down at the bottom of the slope of all places) has bloomed thus far this year and I’m afraid I’m going to have another year like the last one with few blooms. I don’t know if this has to do with the dividing I did the year before last, the early heat blasts or the lack of rain.

    • It shouldn’t be the lack of rain, they like it hot and dry. Depending on how small the pieces were when you divided them and what time of year; it can mean they don’t flower the following year but two years is a long time.

  11. In Spain, May 1st is also a holiday – Labor Day – so we have a “puente” this weekend, too. Right now, my native irises are still regaling me with the last of their blooms. Since irises do so well here, I bought some new ones to try from Cayeaux, and it looks like one or two might flower soon.

    Do you plant your irises directly in the soil and let them spread? Or, do you plant them inside a pot in the ground to limit their extension? Right now, since I have so much ground to cover, I plunk them right in the earth, but I wonder if I will regret it in the future…

    • I plant into the ground; their rate of spreading isn’t so great as to be a problem. I do have to lift and divide mine every couple of years to ensure they continue to flower well. I bought some of mine from Cayeaux, they were quite small rhizomes when I bought them at Courson plant fair in autumn so this year is the first year they have put on a really good show.

  12. Beautiful! I was just feeling melancholy about the rate at which spring was passing me by and then this post reminded me of iris! I can almost smell that wonderful scent right now.
    You have a great selection and I’m afraid I could easily drift into another iris binge, they’re one of my favorite flowers and I’ve been very restrained for a number of years 🙂

  13. beautiful Irises Christina, it has been much to wet here for bearded irises and it does not get hot enough for them in summer, I must learn more about the irises that like a damp or wet soil, Frances

  14. Christina these are all so gorgeous! You have many very special ones. I’m going to add Jane Phillips to my wish list since you recommend it and the color is so nice. We’ve had two very wet winters now and my irises are not looking healthy. I need to work on improving the drainage.

    • I would gladly bring you a piece when we come to visit you, if that will still be OK, but I don’t think customs would allow a plant into the country and after the problems with the box moth and so many other pests, they are completely right.

  15. I can never have too many irises. The tall beardeds are just beginning to unfurl. There must be hundreds of variations out there, and the naming seems a little scattershot. I could swear I have seen my ‘Beverly Sills’ going by several aliases. Maybe you should just come up with a name you like and go with it.

      • Yes- Immortality is very reliable to give two, and some years three periods of bloom. I’ve learned that re-bloomers are bred for specific climates. A variety which re-blooms reliably in one area may not in a slightly different climate. When I ordered I. “Rock Star” Mike Lockatell explained that it was bred in CA, and may not re-bloom in coastal VA. It has re-bloomed once in the three years I’ve grown it…. Does I. Immortality re-bloom for you?

        • Good information WG, thank you. Immortality re-bloomed last year, just one stem, but it has been slow to establish in my garden whereas all the others grow very quickly; hopefully now that it has established itself it will re-flower more consistently.

          • I hope so! If the rhizome is large enough, you might try dividing what you have and planting a piece in a more favorable spot. It is a mystery to me why Iris thrive in one spot and not another, but I’ve found the same variety grows very differently for me in different spots around the yard- all with full sun and seemingly decent soil. Good luck!

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