P80512KIt is not as if the previous article about it was inadequate. https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2018/05/05/san-francisco-iris/ I really did not want to get into the habit of writing so many sequels. However, something happened to necessitate this update.

I found what seems to be a REAL San Francisco Iris, right here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Except for being somewhat etiolated from the shade of the surrounding redwoods, it looks very similar to the San Francisco iris I picked on the Montara Peaks when I was in high school! This one happens to be a bit lighter blue than most, but is certainly well within the color range of the flowers that I remember. Most were probably a bit darker blue, but many were lighter, and some were very pale blue.

It is impossible to know if it was planted in this spot that had been landscaped in the distant past, or merely grew wild. It is right down the road from the more colorful cultivars that I got pictures of earlier. It only recently bloomed on rather grassy foliage that was easy to miss.

I know it does not look like much, but I prefer it to the fancier garden cultivars of the same specie, Iris douglasiana. (It is not the ‘San Francisco’ cultivar of bearded iris.) It is what I am familiar with, and exemplifies the species. Besides Montara, I remember it from San Bruno Mountain, Angel Island and Alcatraz. I might have seen it in the Oakland Hills and on Point Reyes too, but I am not certain if they really were the same.

The bearded iris from my great grandmother’s garden will always be my favorite. https://tonytomeo.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/roots/ However, these San Francisco iris and I have too much history together to ignore.P80512K+

10 thoughts on “San Francisco Iris II – the Expected Sequel

  1. This is beautiful. Walking to a restaurant today through an old neighborhood, I saw something similar, but that deep iris purple. They were lovely, and present in beds at a number of neighborhood houses, showing the exchange among gardeners. here in the east, if you’re in the woods and see bulb or corm plants, it usually means a house was once there. I’ve traced foundations before by daffodil plantings.

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    1. This particular iris is actually native, and grows wild in some regions. Because of where I found it, it is impossible to say how it got there. I would guess that it was put there, only because I do not think that it would have chosen to be in such a shady spot.

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  2. These are certainly lovely to look at. I have dutch iris growing from bulbs I planted some years ago. They don’t get a lot of water, but still keep coming up in Spring, which isn’t until September, in Australia, where I live.

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    1. That is one that does not do well for us. Most iris are quite happy here. Dutch iris is rare. However, we have one small patch of them at work that does remarkably well. No one knows why. I posted a picture of them when they bloomed earlier.


    1. Less elitist than what? San Francisco iris is about as rustic as it gets. There does happen to be a bearded iris ‘San Francisco’ as well as ‘Los Angles’ and ‘San Jose’. (I have been trying to procure ‘San Jose’ for years.) They are fancier, but not particularly elitist. There are so many specie of iris, just in North America alone. You could probably find one and name it after Indianapolis if you must.

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      1. Many years ago, during some rainy weather that kept us working mostly in the propagation house for days, my colleague went out and found a blooming ‘Phyllis Korn’ rhododendron that he wanted to breed. I never was too fond of that cultivar, because it is like a ‘blemished’ white. I prefer clear pure white; and there are very few of those. But there it was, waiting for a pollinator. Well, I went out and came back with what I wanted to breed with it, although I do not remember what it was. However, before I got back, he had already pollinated it with another cultivar that also had ‘blemished’ white flowers that I was none to fond of. It seemed odd to put two less appealing whites together. When he left, I labeled the cross as ‘White Trash’. By the way, mice came in and ate the resulting seed.

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