Gotta Have It: Iris bucharica

Perhaps you have a better memory then I do, but I always need a bit of a jog this time of year. In the spring, everyone is posting beautiful and informative articles about spring bulbs. I make note after note (usually on a piece of scrap paper), and when the bulb catalogues come out, and it is time to order, where are they?

Reading Jennifer’s post reminded me about this gorgeous, gorgeous bulb. I had often admired it in the GardenImport catalogue, but there were always other bulbs to purchase, and it fell to the bottom of the list. But, now that I am living in Barbados, and I only get to see my garden spring and fall, sob, I am limiting (really I am) my purchases to plants that flower in those seasons.

So last year Iris bucharica was purchased and this year it flowered. And boy did it. The one drawback I find to a lot of spring bulbs is the shortness of flowering, get a bit of a heat wave, (and we frequently do in Canada) and they can be finished in two days. That is what I enjoyed so much when I was living in London, the temperatures were very consistent, and the bulb show went on and on.

I do not know if the unseasonal temperatures in March threw the flowering schedule all out of whack, but I do know I arrived home to this, on

April 22nd.

April 23rd

April 24th, see how another flower bud is emerging from the leaves,(the stem of the leaf is cleverly pointing to it, you would almost think I had staged it, lol),

May 4th

 look at all the flowers at this point, even the very first one to bloom is still good.

At this point, I began to get really busy in the garden and lots of other plants got my attention, but Iris bucharica was always blooming in the background.  

 It is such a gorgeous plant, they have deeply channelled leaves, which are set alternately on each side of the stem; and the flowers appear individually in the axils of these leaves, and at the top of the stem. Iris bucharica grows up to 16 inches tall, increasing size as it flowers. The stem carries up to seven flowers, each in a leaf axil; these have yellow falls, and  creamy white standards. The one Jennifer saw at Merlin’s Hollow was all white with a touch of yellow, I want that one next. Unfortunately it will probably have to wait until after I move back to Canada, most mail order bulb companies cannot guarantee delivery to me while I am home. But my list for when I am is getting longer and longer.

I went through all the photos I took while I was at Kilbourne Grove, wondering if I had focused my attention back on this iris, so I had a rough idea of when it stopped flowering. I didn’t , but look at this photo taken on May 12th,

  3 weeks after it started flowering. There in the background you can see it, still flowering!

Talk about getting a bang for your buck….

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18 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    paulinemulligan said,

    Sounds as if this is a super plant, we will all be rushing to find it! The lovely yellow and white flowers certainly sing out, how many bulbs did you plant, they certainly say ‘spring time is here’ ?

  2. 3

    We certainly go this last spring with one of our Canadian heat waves which shortened the season by weeks. This iris looks like it stood up to that test. Love the leaves on this one.

  3. 5

    tezalizard said,

    Riddle Me This….. what have we here? I didn’t see this one in any of the bulb catalogues that we ordered from. Will have to look next Fall, or check out GI as you mention. They definitely grab your attention and appear to bloom their little hearts out longer than most others! Hope all is well with you!

  4. 7

    Thanks for answering the question on my blog. I think this iris is gorgeous but have never had luck with growing it. It always peters out after a couple of years I think from not enough heat and drought. You will have to keep us posted on how it does.

  5. 9

    Marguerite said,

    I’ve never heard of this plant before but wow. What an impact. No wonder you had to have this.

  6. 11

    David Leeman said,

    as with Teza , I too hadnt seen it offered for a long while until i took the lakeshore road from a job in Oakville back to Toronto and stopped at Sheridan nurseries all bulbs 40% off !!! there it was that sweet Iris that ive always enjoyed and now a client in the annex will too thanks for sharing and re-sparking the interest

  7. 13

    Jean said,

    I love irises, but I had never heard of this one before. I agree that it is beautiful; another plant to go on my wish list. Thanks!

  8. 15

    Alistair said,

    I am so used to seeing Iris Reticulata in Spring. Your Iris bucharica I am not familiar with. I just had to google it. Seems like it is the only one in the Juno family that would stand a chance of growing here in Scotland, however I suspect that it would be safest in a pot. It is available to mail order here, looking so good in your garden I have to try it.

  9. 17

    I put Iris bucharica in my fall wish list post and someone left me a negative comment about their lack of success with this iris. I am so glad that it worked out so well in your garden. I feel reassured now. They certainly look nice in your spring garden. The long bloom time is a really nice bonus.


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