View all Events

Greater Portland Iris Society Show

Come celebrate the elegant beauty of irises on June 18. The Greater Portland Iris Society returns to the Garden after many years to present a special, judged show of two varieties of late season irises.

Iris in bloom by Eight-fold Bridge (Yatsuhashi). Photo by Ray P Fortner

Native to Japan, Iris ensata is commonly known as “Japanese iris” outside of Japan. In Japan, 花菖蒲 (hanashobu) have been cultivated for over 500 years. Oregon and Washington are home to three of the nine specialty nurseries specializing in Japanese irises in the United States.

Spuria, according to the American Iris Society’s encyclopedia, “are tall (2 to 5 feet in height) and elegant, and have very attractive foliage.”

As the Garden transforms into a picturesque greenscape, the Japanese iris provide a pop of color as the harbinger of summer. The buds open in late June to reveal flowers nearly six inches across in shades of purple and white. Symbolizing purity and innocence, the narrow iris leaf resembles the shape of a samurai sword blade.

The show will feature two varieties of late season iris: iris ensata (Japanese iris) and spuria. Both individual blooms and floral arrangements will be judged by officials affiliated with the American Iris Society. Winners will be chosen around noon.

Iris close-up. Photo by William Sutton