03 May 2011

A Clearance on Clarence

With four varieties of iris in the yard, why would anyone want a fifth? Because none of the four are a true bearded iris (iris germanica) with a true blue iris color - (my Dutch iris is blue, but it is Dutch.) I selected Clarence, a blue one from the gazillion varieties at Shreiners based on photos and descriptions. "Highly recognized for its dependable rebloom, this light blue bitone has quickly risen to prominence."

I never ordered Clarence, although I did search for it when I ran across iris plants for sale at local stores. Then in late spring of 2009, I was at Walmart, the discriminating gardener's source for high end plant material. (I was frantically searching every store for vegetable plants still left on the shelves for garden procrastinators). While browsing the offerings the store carried, I spotted Clarence iris on the clearance rack for around $3. But, there were only leaves - no blooms to verify that the label was correct. I succumbed to the sale price; I took a chance.

Expectations were high in spring of last year after coddling my prize during the previous summer. But alas, there were no flowers. What went wrong? Was this really Clarence or a Walmart dud? After another summer of cosseting, Clarence is finally blooming this spring.

The flowers are huge and well proportioned, at 5-6 inches wide and high (15 cm). Light colored standards ease into a creamy yellow beard, and cream colors ease into the blue falls. And the 3 foot high (1 m) stalks stand up. For comparison, my Invitation Iris [15.5.2009] needs crutches now, even through it is not yet blooming.

I finally got a proud blue iris.

For The Record:
  • Clay soil with gypsum & organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer
  • No serious pests

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: azaleas, Clarence iris, ajuga, salvia, allium, macrorrhizum geranium, muscari


ONG said...
I just located your blog and can tell already I'll enjoy following along. I love those irises (I've only got siberian) and need to consider them. Thanks for sharing.
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
This time of year I love Irises...Clarence it gorgeous.
Swimray said...
It's amazing what plants you can find in places you are not looking (Walmart)
Janet said...
You said that you had looked at Clarence in a Shreiner's iris catalog...you should see the real Shreiner's Iris Display Gardens! Now that I live in Oregon it is on my list of 'most-looking-forward-to-go-to' places each year. I just posted about it on my blog and included lots of pictures. It is the most beautiful place!
Swimray said...
Ha! You will need to pick out my future selections from your trip to Schreiners and report back what my next purchase should be.