irisarians all over the world

I know a bit about a lot of plants. When I choose plants for my garden I choose ones that aren’t thirsty and that will fit into the picture I am aiming to create.

How different are those gardeners who concentrate their passion on a single flower. Take irises. People who are into irises in a big way are called irisarians. There are blogs focussing on irises, like Heritage Irises from New Zealand. There are clubs devoted to irises in many countries, in the United States, Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Russia and others.

Not far from where I live, in the outer Melbourne suburb of Pearcedale, is one of the small number of specialist iris nurseries in the world. It is called Tempo Two, run by Lesley and Barry Blyth. I intend to visit some time soon.

Another specialist iris nursery that ships irises to customers all over the world is Mid-America Garden in Salem. I couldn’t get their irises because Australia has such strict quarantine regulations, but at least I can download their catalogue and admire.

One well known and highly acclaimed irisarian is Sergey Loktev. Sergey lives in Moscow and expresses his creativity by propagating new iris hybrids. He seems to have propagated hundreds of new varieties. You can see the irises in his website. It is in Russian but many of the iris names are in English.

Like any parent you are entitled to name your creations. My favourite iris of Sergey’s is called Bertrand Russell showing his interest in philosophy. Other chosen names of his are of musicians or music he likes, such as Joe Lyn Turner, or AC/DC songs Satellite Blues and Let There Be Rock. The irises above are Sergey's and are named Dream Island and Child in Time.

So what is the secret of iris flower power?

“The possibilities of new iris colours and their combinations are endless”, says Sergey.

Vincent Christopherson from Accent Iris Garden in Texas describes his experiences in an article called What Irises Have Done To Me published on the website of the Tall Bearded Iris Society of North America.

“Warning – contact with irises can be addictive! Laws should be passed that require warning signs at the entrance of all iris gardens. Little do unsuspecting people know, at first contact, what an encounter with irises may do to them … By now, well passed the point of no return, I am hopelessly immersed in everything iris … Each new seedling crop brings new insights. Each new success leads to renewed effort. Anticipation keeps me waiting for the future. What new iris wonders will it bring? … ”

Ruffles, lace, fragrance, endlessly varied colours and colour combinations – yet so far I haven’t managed to find a place for these gorgeous sexy flowers in my garden.


  1. Great photos of some beautiful iris varieties ... it's not a passion I can share as these beauties won't grow up here in the tropics. But it's easy to understand how the passion would develop as there are certainly some stunners in this family of flowers.

  2. Dear Catmint, What a very interesting post. Lovely as they are, and I do think so, I sometimes think that the bearded iris are somewhat difficult to place in a mixed border. This is in part because, as you will know, they like their rhizomes to be baked. Added to that for best results they need dividing every three to four years.

    Far less trouble, and equally lovely, I think, are the Sibirica irises. For me, their foliage blends much more easily into an overall, mixed scheme. There are some lovely pastel shades.

  3. I do love Irises. Funnily enough I was lisrening to a radio programme on the very strict Australian quarantine regulations - which restricts natural milk cheeeses from being imported.

  4. Hello Catmint! It is so wonderful to see Iris. We don't have such beauties here. I love the flower. It is always so appealing to me. Thanks for posting.

  5. Hi Catmint, They are voluptuous, aren't they? This might sound weird but I really like the old fashioned purple two-toned iris. The sweet grape scent is unsurpassed in my opinion.

  6. Bernie, thanks for the comment. Stunners are a good way to describe irises I think. Things that grow in the tropics seem very exotic to us.

    Edith, I didn't know about rhizomes being baked. Thanks for the info. And the work involved in dividing does put me off. I must check out Sibirica irises.

    Hermes, yes, being an island the authorities try to avoid the nasties in other lands.

    Hi Stephanie, like Bernie, I guess you could never grow irises in your tropical climate. Lovely to hear from you.

    Hi Grace, thanks for the interesting comment. I guess it can be thought of like the preference of many for old fashioned varieties of roses.

    Cheers, catmint

  7. Hey thanks for the great wonderful pictures.They are really good.

    Domain registration india

  8. Catmint, Thank you for spotlighting irises in such a beautiful way. I do Like irises, but I'm not much of a fan (at this point in time). They get crowded so quickly, etc. But I do have a few that I "inherited" with our home. I really DO like the Siberian Iris though! ;-)

  9. Hello Catmint... love the name and the plant as it is throughout our garden and requires so little care yet is beautiful and works great with no watering. Just found you blog and happy to have done so.

    Beautiful bearded iris and ours are yet to bloom, but promising. Diana

  10. Thanks, Amit

    Hi Shady, yes I think I like the Siberian best too. (as do Edith and Grace)

    Hi Di, so pleased you found my blog and and are a fellow catmint appreciator.

    Cheers, catmint


Post a comment