The Irises Waltz In

May I introduce to you Iris histrioides 'Lady Beatrix Stanley', a new dwarf iris that I purchased last fall from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

Did you know that there really was a Lady Beatrix Stanley? I assumed she was a real person, and went on a little Internet search for her.

It turns out she was the daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Headfort, Thomas Taylour, and his second wife, Emily, who was the granddaughter of the 2nd Marquess of Bath, Thomas Thynne. Lady Beatrix married Sir George Frederick Stanley, who was the sixth son of an Earl and therefore probably had no chance at a title like Marquess. I presume Sir George and Lady Beatrix  had an interesting life together especially when they lived in India where he was the Governer of Madras.

Lady Beatrix must have taken up with a bunch of gardeners or plant breeders at some point because in addition to this iris, there also seems to be a double-flowering Galanthus named after her. We should all be so fortunate.

With all those titles in her family tree, I feel a need to dress up a bit when I walk by Lady Beatrix Stanley’s iris and maybe even do a little curtsy.

I do know how to curtsy, sort of. As a fifth grader, I took ballroom dancing lessons with several other fifth grade classmates. Our parents plotted to sign us up so that we could learn the social skills necessary to conduct ourselves as ladies and gentlemen. Along with learning how to dance the waltz, the cha-cha, and the swing, we learned how to go through a receiving line and say very politely, “Good evening, Mrs. Colodon (that’s the name I remember), my name is Carol”. As the words came out of your mouth, you gracefully extended your white gloved hand for a ladylike handshake while placing one foot behind the other and slowly bending your knees in a little curtsy.

When I try to do a curtsy today, and I just did one so I could remember, my knees creak a bit. But I can still do one and am now ready to go through a receiving line where one might find the likes of Lady Beatrix Stanley, daughter of a Marquess, and patroness of my little iris and somewhere a double flowering galanthus.

On the other side of the sidewalk, under a crabapple tree named Guinivere, other irises are now blooming, too.
These are Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’.

Without a last name, or just a wee bit more information, I don’t really have the story on Clairette. I'm tempted to make up something about her, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter who she was.

What matters is that these irises are both blooming in my garden now, on March 10th, just five days before the next Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Spring is arriving in my garden.

"Good evening, Spring, my name is Carol"… as I gently extend a garden gloved hand and curtsy to the Iris.

(Don't forget to visit yesterday's post and enter the contest to win a Fiskars® Momentum™ Reel Mower!)


  1. Dear Carol, These tiny, early irises are a delight and something else for me to consider for the Alpine House. It is always of interest to know how, when, and for what reason plants have been named.

    Clearly from your dancing classes you would have no problem with being presented at Court.

  2. I often wonder about how and why flowers got their names...You went from snow to blooms pretty fast...lovey Iris blooms. I'll curtsy the arrival of Spring with you!

  3. I can imagine you curtsying in your garden as the elegant social elite in their iris blue ruffles and big bustles come out to bloom! We really did have to learn to curtsy --- I did too in 5th grade. Really. What were our parents thinking?

  4. lady Carol..How grand it must be to have such beautiful ladies blooming in your garden.

  5. What a delightful story Carol. Both stories actually. The one about your Iris and the one about your learning social graces. Those white gloves sure brought back memories. The iris is quite beautiful.

  6. Those are so beautiful. I love the little speckles!

  7. Wonderful story, Carol, and thanks for inviting us to the dance with you. Your irises are a harbinger of spring - I know you must be thrilled.

  8. Coincidence - I found the first 2 Iris reticulata flowers yesterday too. I hope there are more to come, but I don't see any others so far. This is only my second season with them, so I wasn't sure if they'd be back. Must remember to order more for next year - they're so early and so beautiful.

    I never learned to curtsey ;-)

    (Weird, did you arrange to have botanical word verification? Blogger is asking me to enter "hedere" which is almost Hedera.)

  9. Your blue babies are so pretty. I like the little history you threw in about Lady Beatrix too.

    There's a waltz going on over here at the Havens too, although I only have one kind of the tiny irises. Mostly it is the crocuses who are attending the ball, and they seem to be doing some sort of salsa with the honeybees.

    Welcome spring!

  10. I love plants with a history, and that's a big one for such a small plant. I'm still waiting for my Iris reticulatas to form bulbs, but they have sprouted.
    And you thought those dance lessons were a waste of time...

  11. I love knowing who flowers are named after so I thank you for this. Also for a reminder of my dancing school days, white gloves,and receiving lines. In 8th grade we were allowed to wear stockings and formals! I have a photo of skinny 13 year old self in a strapless! white tulle with silver emboidery. Yikes!

  12. My reticulatas just began blooming a few days ago too! So far only the yellow although I know there are blue ones also. I don't believe any are royalty though.

  13. There's also a 'Lady Stanley' Rose of Sharon - I'm not sure but I suppose it could be the same Lady Stanley your Iris is named after.

  14. Lady Beatrix Stanley is certainly a beautiful color. She's a lovely addition to your garden.

  15. Carol,
    Last fall I tried to get some of these irises but Brent and Becky were sold out. I settled for Harmony at the local garden center. Loved these photos and the story to go with it.

  16. Dear Carol,

    I want to extend my most auspicious felicitations on the occasion of spring arriving in your garden. I'm glad you have Lady B. because she could find no finer home than the soil in those beds I'm sure.

    Your most admiring friend,


  17. happy Spring! I hope the trend continues~~beautiful little iris~gail

  18. Beautiful iris and delightful stories. Does anyone still have white gloves? Ah, the memories thinking about them....

  19. I love the little irises. Even better, I love saying iris reticulata out loud. it just rolls right off the tongue. I've got lots of stiff little green leaves but my little irises haven't popped out yet.

  20. What a delight it must be to have these pretty blooms in your garden in the month of March. I've thought about planting dwarf irises and so I thank you for the idea. My garden needs a little royalty.


  21. You have reminded me of what a wonderful addition Iris reticulata can be to a garden!


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