THESE perfect little irises, growing to only a few inches, are perfect for the rockery as their colours are as vivid as some of their much larger relatives, in shades of blue or maroon.

They should be planted in very well drained soil in full sun and are also ideal en masse in pots as stand-alone specimens. The round bulbs should be planted about 2in deep in late autumn in the rockery or raised bed.

Good varieties include Harmony, which produces blue flowers with yellow markings. For larger and earlier flowers, grow I. histioides Major, which bloom in January and February, bearing blue flowers with white and gold markings.