Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm thinking of Iris

unnamed Grisso PCN Iris hybrid

I was able to see my Iris this week for the first time since January. Their little nubbins of green poking above ground were satisfying to find and were another reminder that spring is here. And after today's snowfall, once again, I won't see them until who knows when. But that isn't going to stop me from thinking about them.

Iris are one of few plants with almost universal admirers. I have yet to find anyone with an active dislike for them, although they are probably out there. And that's too bad for them, because it is definitely their loss.

unnamed Grisso PCN Iris hybrid

A spot in every garden can be found for Iris as they are widely distributed and inhabit many different environmental niches. They range from water-loving plants thriving in wet and marshy areas to plants that have adapted to surviving dry and harsh places and would rot away in normal garden conditions. From full sun to deep shade and sometimes clinging to mountainsides, Iris can be found.

I have yet to meet an Iris I didn't care for but my absolute favorites are PCN species and hybrids. Encompassing about 10-20 species, these Pacific Coast Native Iris are pretty unto themselves but when humans started hybridizing them the results have become unreal. Hallmarks of these Iris have always been their fine details of line and subtle shadings and hybridizers have built on that with perfect spins of the color wheel.

unnamed Grisso PCN Iris hybrid

These pictures were taken from this article that focuses on the work of Ryan Grisso, a relatively new hybridizer and it looks like a perfect match of plant and man.

visitors in Grisso's garden during a tour in 2006

I have Iris on my mind and will be posting more of the same during this week. Tomorrow: new Iris species.