Iris histrioides ‘Major’

This beautiful little iris from Asia Minor flowers even earlier than /. reticulata, in the depth of winter. It is the deep madonna blue of Italian paintings, with gold and white markings on the falls, and is so hardy that it will come up undamaged through a carpet of snow. Its only drawback is that it has no scent, but if you can find a few early /. reticulata to pick with them you can cheat a little and have a scented bowl in the house.

Iris histrioides can be grown in the rock garden, or in sinks or pots, or it can be allowed to naturalize in a sunny corner, with snowdrops and aconites round about. It needs good drainage, preferably in light, limy soil, and to succeed in heavy soil should be grown in a raised bed, or at least with plenty of grit. Plant at random 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) deep.

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