Generally winter flowers are quite small, sometimes they pack a punch of welcome perfume, but are nonetheless quite unobtrusive in size. How nice then to have flowers at this time of year that are a decent size, the type more usually associated with Spring.
Iris unguicularis has been blooming in my garden for the last month and will continue to do so into February. The flower buds are tight scrolls, like tiny, rolled up umbrellas, opening to display lavender blue petals with a central streak of deep yellow.
The flowers last only a day or two, but these are replaced continually through December, January and often into February, sensibly it stops flowering if it gets very cold and frosty. The leaves are evergreen and a little scruffy, but this is a small price to play for glorious winter flowers that are also slightly scented.
Native to Algeria, Turkey and Tunisia, it’s happiest in a sunny spot in poor, well drained soil. Add plenty of grit to the planting hole in heavier soil and make sure you give it a sunny spot.
Also known as Iris stylosa or Algerian Iris, in Britain they’re available from:
Add it to your plant list.
image: Jill Anderson