Last updated 28/10/2014

Iris unguicularis (and close relative I. lazica)

These wonderful Mediterranean iris thrive in sheltered, sunny sites (like the base of a sunny wall) where their gorgeous flowers can be enjoyed all winter. I prune the foliage of mine back in autumn to really expose the blooms and do them justice. They pick well too.

I am now taking orders for delivery from September when they will be supplied in (mainly) 2 litre pots. Please do not confuse these superior plants with freshly divided bare-root lumps of dried out rhizome (which in our experience are extremely difficult to establish) nor with tiny plants in tiny pots. There is no need to cosset them to get them growing - plant them where you want them to flower and leave them to it!

There may also be a very small number of other cultivars available in addition to those listed below.



IRIS lazica 'Joy Bishop'
I. lazica is closely related to I. unguicularis though coming from the coast of the Black Sea, it prefers a cooler more shaded environment so is perfect at the foot of a north wall or beneath other planting. In common with its Mediterranean counterpart, it flowers all through the winter. The rich purple flowers are larger and deeper in colour than the species.

IRIS lazica 'Richard Nutt'
Another selected form - with deep violet-purple flowers.

NEW IRIS unguicularis 'Abington Purple'
This one, by comparison with other selections of this gorgeous species, is more compact and has a slightly smaller, but darker flower. 

IRIS unguicularis 'Marondera'
This more recent selection fits neatly into the colour spectrum, being darker than 'Walter Butt', but paler than 'Mary Barnard'. Happily it is equally floriferous when afforded an appropriate dose of neglect…

IRIS unguicularis 'Mary Barnard'
Deservedly popular, the rich violet-purple flowers have with large, flared petals whilst the falls are strongly marked with a central gold bar and white feathering. A robust and floriferous plant.

IRIS unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’
This one has huge lavender-blue flowers from November to February. 45cm.

ITEA ilicifolia

ITEA virginica 'Henry's Garnet' 
I can't begin to do justice to the fantastic autumn colour! It is semi-evergreen but turns the most amazing deep purple which is held until after Christmas. 15cm long racemes of fragrant white flowers are produced in early summer. Best colour in a sunny site with moist, fertile soil. Only growing to 4' or so, every garden has room for it. I love it!

ITEA virginica 'Long Spire' 
I am so captivated by this species that I feel another collection coming on..! this variant has longer flower spikes, the weight of which make them droop rather than being upright as the others we have. Although we have not grown them side by side for long enough to be sure, I suspect that this one will be the largest of the three.

ITEA virginiana 'Merlot' 
We have been so impressed by 'Henry's Garnet' that we have been looking out for other cultivars of this easily grown shrub. This form is slightly smaller growing, but still has the same wonderful wine-red autumn colour. The white flowers, which occur in spikes in April, are fragrant too.

ITEA virginica 'Sarah Eve' 
This selection has much pinker flower spikes.

JUNIPERUS chinensis 'Blue Alps'
I fell in love with this conifer a few years ago when I was searching for some tough evergreens to plant within our mixed borders to give some structure and protection. Pleasantly vigorous, with upright but gently arching habit and wonderful steely-blue needles. Mine is less than 2m tall after 10 years. I should also mention that my son rooted these cuttings (and conifers are not the easiest things to root!)

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