The story starts with a man called George – Lieutenant-Colonel Sir George Frederick Stanley to be precise. He was a British soldier and Conservative Party politician, who also served as the Governor of Madras and Acting Viceroy of India. A son of the 16th Earl of Derby, he married a titled lady, Beatrix Taylour, daughter of a Marquess. That of course made her Lady Beatrix Stanley.
While the couple were in India, Lady Beatrix developed the gardens around their official residency. When they returned to England, she started propagating bulbous plants (particularly snowdrops) at their home at Sibbertoft Manor in Leicestershire, as well as sitting on RHS committees. In 1935, a good form of iris histrioides, a variable species from Turkey with blue flowers, was named after her and placed on the RHS Show bench
The flowers of iris ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ open in late winter and early spring on very short stems, typically two to three inches. It requires a sunny position but one which doesn’t dry out in the summer months. I have planted it close to iris ‘Katharine Hodgkin’ which has blooms of a much paler blue, and am hoping they bloom simultaneously here in my garden in Berkshire.