1865, Crimean Iris
The Gardeners' Chronicle And Agricultural Gazette, p603, July 1, 1865
THE CRIMEAN IRIS.
This beautiful early dwarf spring- flowering plant is found upon the upland flats of the Crimea, and in some parts of Turkey and Austria. During the late war these beautiful Irises, with the now famous Crimean Cowslip, were frequently sent home by the officers and men; and although they are plentiful in the trade, yet a much greater value attaches to certain plants as souvenirs, than to those that can be purchased. They bear the name of Iris pumila, and occur with flowers of various shades of colour, as dark blue (atrocaerulea), red and blue, pale blue, yellow ( flavescens), and sometimes spotted.
In some soils these Irises are what are termed miffy growers, but under any circumstances they require greater care than they and many other low-growing border plants generally get in these great bedding days. They will not grow in cold wet soil. To arrive at success the soil should be taken out in a circle, of diameter according to the number of plants, to a depth of 2 feet. From 6 to 9 inches of this space should be filled up with old lime rubbish, rather fine, and on this should be put a piece or two of turf, and the rest filled up with a mixture of good soil, as loam with a little sand and some old dry cow-dung and leaf-mould, well mixed up together.
At the approach of winter each crown should be partly covered with ashes. About the time they come into bloom, say the first week in April, according to the season, the ashes may be sufficiently removed, to prevent their being unsightly. These pretty little plants make fine edgings to small early beds; and they move well unless treated in the ruthless manner adopted with so many of our little spring beauties, when their blooming season is over, as if there was not another spring coming on, and they would be no more wanted to assist in beautifying it. F.
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at