One of my favorite perennial flowers is the Siberian Iris. They are the straighter, cleaner, less delicate cousin of that other show off, the bearded iris. This is a great plant not only for its tall, beautiful flowers, but also because they have interest before and after they bloom–well into late summer. In the spring, they start to come up early in straight, contained clumps that provide structure and height to your spring flower bed. Then they bloom. The quintessential color is that deep purple seen above (plantings courtesy of the Chicago Botanic Garden). After the flowers fall off, a thick, green bulbous head is left on the stalk. This is the seed pod. It stays bright green for quite a while before slowly starting to turn yellow by the end of the summer.
And then in the fall, something wonderful happens. The seed pods turn brown brittle and opens up, like a tiny little cup just waiting to be tipped over to spill its seeds and propagate.
While I cut many of my iris flowers for bouquets throughout the spring and summer, I always make sure to leave some of the flowers so that I end up with these dried seed pods. I have used them in my home decor for many years.