Category Archives: Flowers

My Favourite Garden Photo: A Bearded Iris

On March 31 I saw a posting on Stephen Legaree’s Google+ feed (follow him if you haven’t already) that got me thinking. He asked what his followers’ favourite garden picture was, and posted a beautiful shot of his own garden that, quite frankly, made me a bit jealous. It also made me look back through the photos that I have taken to find the one I like more than any other.

The result may surprise you:


I thought it would be a vegetable picture too!

This is a nice flower, I liked it a lot when it bloomed, but that’s not exactly why I picked it. As with most pictures, there is a story behind this one. I will try to keep it short.

I bought this bearded iris the same year I bought the cherry tree, so that it would add some extra colour to the bed. I planted it around August I think, so it never did much the first year, but it grew a bit and looked healthy in the fall so I wasn’t worried about it for the next spring.

The next year it grew quite large, but never flowered, even though I had been giving it a dose of liquid Miracle Gro every two weeks, just like the bottle suggested. Again, it looked healthy in the fall and I looked forward to the next season to see its bloom.

Another year came and went with no blooms, but the plant was bigger once again.

The year after however, when it came back in the spring, it was a lot smaller than it had been the two years prior. I kept feeding it as I normally did, and lo and behold, it finally bloomed! Compared to all of our other irises, the bloom was huge!

The photo up there doesn’t really do it justice, so I’m adding one for reference down below.

Iris and Hand

The hand shown in that picture is mine, I also grew that myself, but it took a lot less effort. For reference, my hand is 3 1/2″ (about 9 cm) wide just below the fingers, meaning that the bloom is about 5″ (about 13 cm) across.

There were multiple flowerings on the same singular flower stock, and once it was done flowering, the plant just stayed the same size for the rest of the summer. It didn’t look like the healthiest plant ever, but it looked good enough to make it through the winter.

Or so I thought… The plant came back with only two small leaves the next year, and that was the last I saw of it until I dug around for it the next summer and found it’s shriveled up rhizome where I planted it.

At the time I had no idea what had happened to it, but looking back, I am fairly certain that it was being shaded most of the day by the neighbours lilacs and our Evan’s Cherry tree. Live and learn I guess. I still have a couple of flower beds that I will be working on this year and next year, so I think I will try to find some more of those irises, I loved the colour and wouldn’t mind a whole patch of them growing like weeds somewhere in the yard.

In the end, I think this is my favourite picture because it was one of only a few pictures I got of the first plant I really made an effort to grow, and the first failure that I actually learned from while gardening… The first of many!