Plant of the Month -February 2018

Iris reticulata Eyecatcher – and more!

from Lesley Baker

I first saw Alan McMurtrie’s New Iris reticulatas in a report from an RHS Early Spring show, I think in 2015, and I wondered how I could get hold of these stunning new bulbs, with their wonderful colour combinations.

So I was delighted to find Eyecatcher bulbs for sale at the Bulb Study Day at Pershore in September 2015. I don’t remember what they cost- but I only bought 5! They were planted in a 2L deep pot, if I remember correctly, putting the bulbs quite deep, and I awaited the emergence of the buds with excitement, and was not disappointed! The first flower opened at the very end of December and was quickly followed by the rest of the bulbs opening, and the flowers were delightful.

Iris reticulata Eyecatcher

Iris reticulata Eyecatcher

Better still, when I came to repot them at the end of the summer, I found that I now had 10 good-sized bulbs – and on the strength of that, I purchased 10 Spot On (£5)and 5 Scent Sational (£3) at the Pershore Bulb Study Day that September!

Eyecatcher did well again, and I was thrilled with Spot On, but they didn’t flower until the end of January 2017, and Scent Sational was even later. Unfortunately I was away when it flowered, though my neighbour assured me it did!

Iris reticulata Spot On

Iris reticulata Spot On

Again the bulbs had multiplied well, and last autumn I bought 10 Sea Breeze (£8) which opened recently, again not disappointing, even though the wet weather was a little unkind to them.

Iris reticulata Sea Breeze

Iris reticulata Sea Breeze

I hope that those of our members who purchased Eyecatcher at our Bulb sale in September have been successful growing them. Do plant quite deeply in well drained soil, and feed while they are in leaf for the best results.

I’m looking forward to seeing what new varieties become available in the next few years – he has bred some real beauties!

Read more about them here:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/publications/magazines/the-garden/2016-issues/February/new-iris.pdf

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