"The enamelled earth, that from her verdant breast Lavished spontaneously ambrosial flowers, The very sight of which can soothe to rest
A thousand cares, and charm our sweetest hours."
The species and varieties of the Iris are almost without end; most of them tuberous-rooted; of easy culture and propagation, by division of the roots; suitable for the border, most of them being hardy. I shall note such as have come under my observation.
Iris piimila, - Dwarf Iris, - is from three to six inches high, with rich purple flowers, early in May.
I. Cristata, - Crested Iris, - is another dwarf variety, of the same height of the last, with elegant, variegated, light-blue, crested flowers, in May; with creeping roots; a very desirable species.
I. Jlorentina, - Florentine Iris, - has large white flowers, in May and June; two feet high.
I. Germanica, - German Iris, - is the common Fleur-de-lis of the gardens well known to all. Flowers large, blue and purple; two feet high; May and June; similar to the last in size and habits.
I. Pallida. - Pale Turkey Iris. - A very fine species, with straw-colored flowers, veined with brown. One and a half foot high; in June. The stems are many-flowered, and stand above the leaves.
I. Variegata, - Variegated Iris, - is a very delicate and elegant species. The flowers bluish-white, elegantly feathered with blue; in June; stem many-flowered, two feet high.
I. Sambuciana. - Elder-scented Iris. - A very beautiful species, with brilliant, pale-blue, variegated flowers, on stems, many-flowered, four feet high, standing above the foliage, which is long and narrow, or more grass-like than the common sorts. The roots of it are of a more fibrous character than most of the family, and mat together so hard that they are with difficulty separated. A clump of this, with its numerous rich flowers rising above their graceful foliage, makes as much show as any other plant of its season. The last of June.
I. Pscud-Acorus, - The Yellow-water Iris of England, - has handsome yellow flowers, the last of June, three feet high.
I. Codestina. - Sky-blue Iris. - This is a magnificent plant, with long, broad leaves, and very large, light-blue flowers, on stems three feet high.
I. Versicolor. - Blue Flag. - This is a fine indigenous species, a showy ornament of our meadows in the early part of summer. It succeeds well in the garden.
I. gracilis is another native species, but not very common. It has grass-like foliage, with stems one foot high, with a number of small purple flowers, veined with yellow; very pretty.
There are many other fine Iris in cultivation, with which there has been such a hocus-pocus game played by the florist, that it is impossible to tell their origin. I have a number of varieties of this kind: one, a dwarf yellow, one foot high; another, of the same height, upper petals yellow, lower ones rich brown; one ash color, shaded with blue; one rich dark-purple; and a yellow flower, with variegated leaves. There are, also, varieties innumerable, with every mixture of yellow, blue, brown, purple, and white in their coloring.