Monday, June 9, 2014

Kool Aid Irises

They are nearly done in my upstate New York garden. But these irises have a little bit of a history about them, and they may even have more of a history than I suspect.

Maybe.  But I really don't care.
Kool Aid Irises after a Rain
How I wish you could smell these flowers.  Since I can't bring you smell-o-blog, I can bring you the story of how I came to own these irises.

In the early 1990's I worked with a woman. Newly hired by our company, she quickly hit it off with all of her co workers, including me.

One day, she brought me some irises dug up from her garden.  "For you", she said. 

"These are Kool Aid irises", she told me.  "When they bloom they will have the most delicious fragrance. Some people liken it to grape kool-aid and others to grape soda.  And, on occasion, they have rebloomed for me."

I've grown them ever since.  They bloom in late May or early June.  Right now, we still have them but maybe for another day or so.

A post from a local garden blogger to the east of me got to thinking exactly what my Kool Aid irises were. Are they, perhaps, a heirloom, like her white irises are?

I wonder if they are Iris pallida. Their roots, along with roots of a couple of other irises, are used to produce "orris root" powder, an ingredient of potpourri.  (I haven't made potpourri in years, but it's never too late to start again.)
If they are Iris pallida, they are a bearded iris that originated in Croatia. And, even better, there is a variegated variety.   Although, one time, I tried growing a variegated iris, type unknown,and it didn't overwinter for me.

Heirloom or not, I love my Kool Aid irises.  They are hardy, reliable, and deer don't touch them. Although, at one time, we weren't concerned about deer in our urban garden, we've seen deer wandering a block or two away in the past few months.  The one thin they've never done for is rebloom, but that would only be a nice bonus from a lovely iris worth having.

My co worker moved out of the area years ago.  But I'd like her to know, wherever she is now, that her iris rhizome gifts are still blooming annually for us.

Do you know anything about this kind of iris?

Tomorrow - another post about autism.


  1. They are so pretty... like blue clouds enveloping thd sun rays :)

  2. I never heard of the name "Kool Aid" associated with irises but now that you mention it, the color and the packaging seem to work well. Those are beautiful flowers!
    Dorit Sasson
    Giving a Voice to Your Story

  3. I love all irises but, like you, I've only received them as gifts. I have a whole bunch on the side of my house that continue to bloom each year. I love the idea of a grape smell - so beautiful!

  4. beautiful.....wish your co-worker could take a peek at irises....and thank you for sharing my interview! Very grateful!

  5. These irises are really beautiful! And a lovely story that comes along with it.

  6. So glad the irises thrived under your car. I must admit, they're my favorite flower. So delicate yet spectacular. And the color brings to mind the image of heaven.

  7. Oh what gorgeous plants! They're so pretty, aren't they!

  8. Hello,
    I came upon your blog while searching for the elusive kool aid iris. My Mamma & Grandma grew them & I adored them
    Now I am trying to find some for my own children to love and enjoy. I would Love to buy some from you of that's ok. Gosh, I thought I had hot the jackpot a couple of years ago when a gardener in TX said she had some. Bought em, planted & next Spring......they were yellow😂. Oh well, feel free to email me @
    Kindest regards,


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