Pacific Coast Iris Steal the Show

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Pacific coast iris

Pacific Coast Iris in bloom

If my garden was a theater, Pacific Coast Iris (Iris douglasiana) would be the overlooked understudy or supporting actor that unexpectedly steals the show. It’s presence is subtle if not negligible for most of the year, until a couple weeks in May when it pulls out all the stops and produces flowers that would make a watercolorist pant.  While this stellar performance is brief (2-3 weeks), it is memorable enough for me to seek an encore–an encore that usually requires a trip to the local nursery to add cast members to this colorful troupe of players in anticipation of next year’s return engagement.

Related links: Native Irises, Sunset: Pacific Treasure, BC Iris Society, Dunn Gardens Seattle

What I was blogging about a year ago: Souvenir de Madame Leonie Viennot
A rose by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet

14 COMMENTS

  1. Tom,
    Steal the show indeed! Breathtaking irises. Of course not to be had here in my part of the world (the sultry southeast).

    I’m loving your blog which I came upon through a visit to the Grumpy Gardener.

    You are a talented writer and you take amazing pictures.
    Vikki

  2. damn Tom you do take a fine picture. I was wondering how you keep it from getting all munged up with mud, sand, slobber, sweat, sap, fryer fat, chicken…droppings, et cetera. Inspired by your skill I’m shopping for a Digital SLR. I’m curious what kind of camera you are using.

  3. From your line-up of said hazards, you can see Brion that I haven’t changed much. This is where my cover is blown, I use the digital version of a brownie camera, an early version of the canon elph PowerShot S110. The term powershot does elevate its status no doubt, a much better moniker than WeakShot or WimpyZap. It’s been a great camera withstanding mud, sand, slobber, sweat…etc, etc, etc.

  4. Virtuosity is not in the instrument. Simple cameras teach you to see and you’ve always had a good eye. Keep those images coming in.

  5. I would really love to know the name of the pink one on the right. It is gorgeous. We tend toward a lot of Siberian iris in Maine. Off to research how the Pacifics would do near the Atlantic…

    Thanks for sharing…

  6. June this group is called Pacific Coast Hybrids and I don’t recall that they had named varieties. I’ll check with the nursery where I bought them in bloom several years ago.

  7. Tom, you must be on stay-cation. We have lots to talk about. As it turns out, I’ll be near your cubicle sooner than expected so we can talk blog even more.

    • Hi Katy, my Pacific Coast Irises didn’t bloom so well this year, but that is my fault. I let the beds get overrun with weeds that kind of choked them out. Here’s a link to nurseries carrying Pacific Coast Iris, two of which are in British Columbia, and who knows they may ship. The flowers are dazzling, even when a few bloom.

  8. Hi Tom

    I stumbled across your page in search of an answer. I just moved to Northern California, and I noticed the previous tenant of our house planted a PCH Iris sometime within his 3-4 year stay. It’s almost September and I’ve yet to see any flowers on it whatsoever. We’ve only been here since June, but I’m wondering if it’s an old plant, and it’s time to dig it up and replace it. What do you think? Should it have blossomed by now? Thank you!

    • Amber, not to worry, the Pacific Coast Iris blooms early, usually in April or May. The show is brief but stunning. You can divide the iris now by braking off sections and replanting them, so you have more to enjoy come spring.

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