Skip to content

Iris – Poor Man’s Orchid

Noel Kingsbury in his splendid encyclopedia [I call it that!] of plants Garden Flora has several pages devoted to

the Iris.

He says, “Iris growing is largely a connoisseur’s hobby, although in the appropriate climate, a group that requires much care and attention elsewhere may be treated as an ‘ordinary’ low-maintencne garden plant.”

And so, since the early 19th century with the number of iris hybrids on the market, we grow and enjoy Irises.

So who said that the iris, which will soon be in bloom here in the Northeast, is the poor man’s [person’s] orchid?

That would be Harriet L. Keeler in her book of 1910 called Our Garden Flowers: A Popular Study of their Native Lands, their Life Histories, and their Cultural Affiliations.

The title of the book says it all.

She discusses many plants.

Her judgement about the iris stood out for me when I read it.

Keeler writes, “The Iris has been called the poor man’s orchid; certainly few orchids have finer flowers than the best of the Irises, and in grace and dignity the Iris plant far outranks the orchid.”

What do you think?

Stems of Blue Iris by artist Joanne Porter
Share this:

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top