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With All the Colors Available, Why Select a White Iris?

By grannysgarden
May 14, 2015

According to many sources the iris takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, referring to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. If you can grow a flower in any color, or combination of colors, why grow a white one?

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May 14, 2015 2:15 AM CST
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Another reason to acquire white irises is to use them in a Moon Garden. I have one white one, 'Arctic Express', and one white with lavender interior, 'Hidden Surprise', at the entrance to my Moon Garden.

Thumb of 2015-05-14/Polymerous/dcb530

('Hidden Surprise' is in the foreground, 'Arctic Express' is in back. This picture was from 2012 when we had just revamped the other plants, so not much else but the iris was in bloom at this time.)




I also have potted 'Nordica' and 'Immortality' which I want to add to this garden , but I have yet to place those.




(While it is true that the interior of 'Hidden Surprise' and the beard of 'Nordica' have colors other than white, I have found that little splashes of color, as well as the pastels of "near white" (not really) daylilies and the soft yellow or chartreuse foliage of certain licorice plants, enhance the daytime beauty of the Moon Garden.)
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
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May 14, 2015 3:50 AM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Your garden sounds so intriguing, Polymerous. I love to sit outdoors as the world changes from day to night and listen to the night sounds and see the garden landscape change from sunny blooms to dramatic moon glowing foliage and blooms. I agree that a colored beard does not lessen the value of white irises in the garden. Yours are beautiful!
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
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May 14, 2015 4:59 AM CST
Name: Vickie
southern Indiana (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
I did not think I would like white flowers, but they really do wonders for the garden. I have some white irises up against a wooden fence and they are so easily seen from a distance.

Thanks for a very nice article!
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
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May 14, 2015 5:21 AM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Thank you Vickie. I grew up with a few white blooming shrubs, such as crepe myrtles, that looked rusty or dirty as the blooms aged. It took me awhile in my own garden to find blooms that did not have that tendency. I think white is a very important 'color' in the garden. smiles
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
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May 14, 2015 12:29 PM CST
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
I think white is a very important 'color' in the garden

Yes, I agree. Whites make the other colors more brilliant.

I also (sadly) agree with you about some white flowers looking bad as they age. I have some white Pelargoniums which I have to constantly deadhead, as the flowers turn brown. Similarly, with a white Drakensberg daisy, the white flowers get brown streaks. Thumbs down

The white irises, thankfully, don't have that problem. Thumbs up

When I think of it, during iris season the irises I most look forward to are the (Moon Garden) whites, a seedling iris, 'Navajo Jewel' (not turquoise but very beautiful imo), and the two dark purples. I often wonder what a bed of just white and dark purple irises would look like, though I suspect a third color, a pale yellow or something pinkish, would be needed to make the whole thing really shine.
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
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May 14, 2015 12:53 PM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Perhaps a third color would be good but if the dark purple irises were really dark they may get lost among the whites and pinks. I guess it would depend on the amounts of each color planted and the position in the bed. I like the idea of white irises and different tones of the same color purple or blue...... and perhaps some bi-colors of white and purple.... or blue.
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
Image
May 14, 2015 1:14 PM CST
Name: Marilyn, aka "Poly"
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Daylilies Irises Vegetable Grower Moon Gardener Dog Lover
Bookworm Garden Photography Birds Pollen collector Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 1
Disappearing darks? Hadn't considered that possibility....
Evaluating an iris seedling, hopefully for rebloom
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May 16, 2015 7:54 AM CST
Name: Pat Barlow
Apple Valley, California (Zone 8b)
Irises Ponds Dragonflies Butterflies Daylilies Hummingbirder
Birds Dog Lover Annuals Dahlias Garden Art Seed Starter
A very interesting article and a great response. Food for thought... I too love moon gardens and never thought about adding white to a palette of colors. I love the diversity of ideas from everyone! It's so refreshing. Thank You! both...
“Cares melt when you kneel in your garden.”
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May 17, 2015 4:31 PM CST
Name: Shannon
Burkeville,Va (Zone 7a)
The House on the Hill Gardens
Birds Seed Starter Sedums Roses Peonies Irises
Hostas Echinacea Dog Lover Daylilies Dahlias Cottage Gardener
I love white iris they are so pretty . White flower look so nice mixed in the garden
The horse is God's gift to mankind. ~Arabian Proverb
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