It's Japanese iris season already! They began to bloom several day ago, and I have to continually remind myself to get out and see them: they'll be gone before I know it.
Why is it that for every Japanese iris in a local garden there are probably thousands of tall bearded irises? Although the two sorts respond best to somewhat different conditions, they are equally easy to grow. The color range among the Japanese sorts is very limited, but that range is limited to colors which most of us can't get enough of: blue, purple, violet and related colors.
The one shown above is 'Flashing Koi'. I bought it (and about a dozen others) from a local iris society at Green Spring about a decade ago. The only care I gave them was to plant them in the bog trays at the edge of the garden pond: they got better yearly until the site began to be shaded. Now I can see a big difference in vigor between those which get lots of sun and those which don't.