Thursday, January 19, 2017

Iris cretensis : hard to believe that something this beautiful blooms now!

Iris cretensis

Winter has yet to take a deep bite out of the garden, but even so many plants which would ordinarily be pushing up against much stiffer weather are holding back this year. The first of the lawn snowdrops are up, and the clone selected here and called 'Christmas' is in full bloom - finally, because it was late for Christmas. The snowdrop I call 'Thanksgiving' was also late this year. Two different acquisitions of the one spot forms of Galanthus elwesii are now in full bloom. The first flowers of Jasminum nudiflorum opened today, and yesterday I saw flowers opening on Hamamelis 'Jelena' and Lonicera fragrantissima. Little Narcissus cantabricus has a tiny bloom mostly open and resting on the mulch surface. So things are happening. But we really have not had winter yet, so who's to say what's ahead?
When I checked the cold frames today there was a nice surprise waiting. That's Iris cretensis you see above. Its flowers are bigger than those of any reticulate iris, but they are smaller than those of Iris unguicularis. I had to wait for the generous flowering shown above: like Iris unguicularis, this one takes its time (as in a year or two)  to settle in and bloom freely. But it's worth the wait, isn't it? 


Swimray said...

I have never heard of these. I wonder if they will do as well outside a cold frame.

McWort said...

Ray, there are three similar species which are making the rounds: Iris cretensis, I. unguicularis and I. lazica. The plants are said to be hardy even in zone 5 gardens, but to get flowers they need cold frame protection. The flower buds are destroyed by freezing temperatures.