1896, Plant Notes, Spanish Irises, Iris Lortetii
Garden And Forest p.245, June 17, 1896
Spanish Irises. The great masses of hybrid German Irises which have lately filled the garden with color are now missed, but an easy consolation may be found in the Spanish Irises, which so closely succeed them. There are a brilliancy and a clearness of color about these bulbous Irises which have always made them favorites. In fact, they are so well known by gardeners that it would seem superfluous to say anything about them were it not for the fact that even the most common flowers seem to be unknown to many gardens. Briefly, it may be said that these Irises have narrow claws and standards and possess a wide range of coloring in whites, yellows, blues, browns and their combinations. The bulbs, which are inexpensive, should be ordered with the Dutch bulbs, preferably in named kinds. They are perfectly hardy and need no protection in this latitude. They show foliage above ground during the winter when the season is at all open. The special care required is to keep them moist while growing, as otherwise they are likely not to flower.
Iris Lorteti. This has been the latest of the Oncocyclus section in flower this season. This Palestine Iris is by some considered the most beautiful flower of the family, and is certainly charming, both in form and coloring. It may be briefly, if crudely, described as a pink I. Susiana, though there are said to be forms with violet markings. As it is now flowering with Mr. Gerard, the flowers resemble good forms of I. Susiana, both in size and form. The large standards are white, with many pink lines. The falls are dotted with pink and have a deep rose signal. The styles are tinted a shining golden brown. This species, though recently introduced, is now obtainable at a moderate price and should be grown by all fanciers of choice plants. If the rhizomes are kept in dry soil until late in the autumn and planted out after the ground becomes cold there should be no care required in their cultivation beyond keeping the soil moist during the growing season, which soon ends. It is better to plant them in the open garden rather than in a sheltered place, where the supply of moisture early in the year may prove insufficient.
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at