As I predicted exactly two weeks ago, the latest bulb to start flowering in our coastal garden is Iris reticulata ‘Spot On’, a new hybrid developed by Canadian breeder Alan McMurtie. It’s a tiny little thing by reticulata standards, a cross between Iris reticulata ‘Purple Gem’ and Iris reticulata var. bakeriana from Turkey. Each bulb carries pretty flowers of the most wonderfully rich purple. The falls are feathered brilliant white and splashed lemon yellow, creating a dazzling contrast. I particularly like Spot On’s tightly furled buds, faintly speckled and striped with purple, each with a dark tip as if they had just been dipped in ink.
It is testament to Alan’s patience that this new variety finally reached the market almost 20 years after first flowering. I picked my bulbs up from Living Colour without knowing anything of their history or provenance, but will treasure them all the more now I know how special they are. These are the first pictures I have taken using my new Canon 60mm macro lens. I haven’t a clue how to get the best out of it yet, and of course I haven’t read the instructions, so I’m afraid these test shots are far from brilliant. I hope practice gets me closer to spot on – it will certainly be fun trying.