Trying to photograph an iris flower and at the same time trying to stand upright on the edge of a terrace whilst being buffetted by a brisk north easterly wind, is not something to be undertaken with a faint heart. So the fact that this picture is even vaguely in focus is a case of “more luck than judgement”. This rhizomatous Iris unguicularis, once known as Iris stylosa, is actually supposed to be winter flowering so is one of the few things in the garden keeping to the rule book. It enjoys poor soil (check) and sun (check) and shelter from cold winds (well two out of three can’t be bad). It was introduced from Algeria in the 19th century, hence its common name Algerian Iris, but can also be found in South Eastern Europe and other mediterranean areas. The flowers appear nestled amongst the sword like leaves but rarely in large numbers, well not with us anyway. These flowers are fragrant, described as primroses like, but do not last more than one or two days. They are not the tidiest looking of plants with dead foliage persisting and are also prone to snail damage. If this is an irritant I would suggest either not growing it or sitting for the duration with a pair of secateurs or scisssor removing these dead and tatty leaves. Painstaking, but for those inclined, which does not include me, I am sure worth the tedium. It will continue to bloom sporadically until the spring when hopefully, if all goes to plan, there will be many other flowering gems to take its place.