I purchased this early bloomer last year from the Royal Botanical Garden Auxiliary in Burlington. I think it is meant to bloom in March but started late February since our winter has been so mild.
This is one of my favourite Dwarf Iris, photographed in the garden of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington Ontario. This stand-out of a dwarf iris is sometimes sold as a variety of I. reticulata, but it is a hybrid of two other closely related iris species, & are similarly suited to containers or rockeries or front garden borders. The wild blue I. histroides is native to eastern Turkey (Anatolia). The rare primrose-yellow I. winogradowii is native to the Caucasus. This hybrid captures the colors of both its parents with considerable drama.
It has the palest powder blue or bluish grey standards & a yellow crest, thinly veined with dark blue. It changes color a bit from when it first opens to as it ages, & it can be a slightly different shade from one year to the next, but there is no mistaking it for anything else even with a range of variation.
Native of the Caucasus — Iran, Iraq, Turkey & Georgia — Iris reticulata blooms late winter or early spring, in shades of blue & purple. In some gardens they bloom as early as January, but for us this year, this wild natural form begins flowering at the start of the second week of March. This Miniature Iris is found mostly in the Rock Garden at the RBG.