Get the name right!
Iris confusa by the Wattle Woods Seat
What's in a name? Everything and nothing? which name to use - the common name, or botanical Latin version? Best that the name is correct, whichever is used. Gardeners (like me) can so often get the name wrong, sometimes for all the right reasons.
Perhaps the friend who gave me that plant named it incorrectly. Perhaps I guessed what it was called - or even made a name up for it. If one has a gardening journal and repeats a mistake enough, it ends up looking right. Right?
That's exactly what happened to the plant Iris confusa. For years and years I called it Iris Japonica, and wrote about it thus in my journal. This was very illogical, since I knew that Japanese irises were those gorgeous waterside beauties. This iris crept around, growing from rhizomes, layering itself. Actually I'm sure I made this name up. And then I misrepresented it for more than twenty years, and no-one had the nerve (or took the time) to correct me.
I rather like its proper name. And certainly Iris confusa will be very confused, growing in my garden. For the first ten years I described it as my most favourite foliage plant, and planted swathes of it everywhere. Oh dear. Then I noticed something. In full summer sun, or winter frost it would become horribly scruffy, and lie flat on the ground. This was not a good foliage look. So my later journals tell of ripping swathes of it out.
Iris confusa in Flower
Iris confusa grows beautifully in my garden where it gets enough watering and some shady shelter. It has such a pretty flower in mid-spring - a cool white, with wonderfully delicate markings. It is also called Bamboo Iris. And nothing to do with Japan - it comes from Western China.
Iris Confusa Chengdu
I do, however, grow a taller variety which has pale blue flowers - it's name is Iris confusa Chengdu. This plant's label eventually alerted me to my mistake. I'm no longer confused!