Brilliant jewels of the early spring garden – such are miniature dwarf bearded irises. MDB irises dazzle in an irresistible spectrum of colors and patterns, creating cushions of brilliance in the garden at a time of year when few other flowers are in bloom.
Color and pattern variations are abundant in miniature dwarf bearded irises: blues, purples, yellows, whites, creams, lavenders, pinks, oranges, browns, tans, and reds grace petals in solid colors, bicolors, spots, stripes, rims, dots and other intriguing patterns. Some of these variations can be seen in the slideshows, Miniature Dwarf Bearded Irises (MDB) – Slideshow #1, Miniature Dwarf Bearded Irises (MDB) – Slideshow #2, and Miniature Dwarf Bearded Irises (MDB) – Slideshow #3. There are MDB irises for every garden design and aesthetic.
As the earliest blooming of the bearded irises, MDBs are particularly welcome harbingers of spring in climates with long winter seasons. The fact that these tiny treasures are tough enough to survive the most brutal northern climates is surpassed only by their ability to actually thrive in those climates, as well. Where so many plants perish, making gardeners question the sanity of their undertakings, miniature dwarf bearded irises fortify the gardener’s soul by lending indomitable yet delicate beauty to the most hostile gardening environments.
Some MDBs provide the added bonus of rebloom sometime after the primary spring bloom. Rebloom can be very sporadic, but when it occurs, it always enhances the garden setting.
Miniature dwarf bearded irises bloom at no taller than 8″, making them the smallest of the bearded irises. As such, they are perfect flowers for the front of the garden border. They also work beautifully in containers or flower boxes where their habit of forming dense mounds of bloom provides bold splashes of color. Thanks to their drought tolerance, MDBs thrive in rock gardens, as well. Miniature dwarf bearded irises are wonderfully carefree and need only a sunny, well-drained and weed-free location with minimal water to put on their pleasing display.
MDB irises were originally bred from several small iris species native to colder European climates. These small species irises were used to create MDB irises that were exceptionally cold hardy. Unfortunately, these diminutive bearded irises did not perform well in warmer climates, so hybridizers created another type of MDB by breeding species dwarf irises with tall bearded irises. These irises were then bred down in size to regain the small stature of the MDBs. Ultimately, miniature dwarf beardeds resulted that were capable of blooming in climates with little winter freeze. Today, MDB irises are available for all but the hottest climates, though gardeners in warm climates should choose specific miniature dwarf cultivars known to bloom well in their areas.
These dainty delights should punctuate every garden. Their charm is undeniable and their beauty irresistible.