Providing flowers in a sheltered glasshouse border is an Unbearded Iris. Protruding from a mass of flattened evergreen sword shaped leaves are the delicate blue flowers of Iris unguicularis ‘Walter Butt’. Sometimes listed as scented; I could not detect any fragrance from the flower. In those species belonging to the unbearded group of Iris sp. tufts of growth resembling a beard growing from the petals are absent.
The species is native to North Africa and parts of the Mediterranean where it is found colonising rock infested hillsides with its rhizomatous root system. Due to its wide geographical distribution many cultivars have arisen with flower colour white through pink to shades of blue. Often collected in the wild and subsequently given a cultivar name.
A plant wild collected in Greece during 1989 growing on a south facing mound in the rock garden displays no bloom and is a much weaker growing plant than the cultivar.