For me, this year it was the Irises. The ones in my garden didn't bloom, probably because they need to be divided, or because of late April frost/freezes after a warm March. The Irises in my garden are big, beautiful bearded Irises that my friend, Jan, passed along several years ago. They smell like grapes and they usually bloom in early June.
Based on their characteristics, I'm guessing the cultivar is 'Madame Chereau' or 'Stepping Out'—heirloom German Bearded Irises that grow to about 40 inches in height.
Bearded Irises prefer well-drained soil, in partial or full sun, according to the American Iris Society (AIS). They need at least a few hours of sun each day. My friend, Elaine, taught me to plant them very shallowly, and the AIS says to keep the tops of the rhizomes exposed, with only light mulching.
Overcrowded Irises need to be dug up, divided, and replanted every few years—preferably in late summer or early fall. I'm looking forward to that task, and the chance to encourage new blooms for next year.
So, I missed out on this favorite plant for this year. But not really, because I was able to enjoy flowering Irises of many varieties on display in New Orleans during our trip there in March. Most of the Irises I captured were beardless. I don't have IDs on these.
There are about 300 species of Irises and numerous hybrids and cultivars, according to the Pacific Bulb Society. Bearded, beardless, ruffled, flat, German, Dutch, Siberian, Japanese...and even Louisianas, native to the American Gulf Coast.
For more information about Irises of all varieties, visit the American Iris Society and The Society for Louisiana Irises websites.