About Leonine Iris

Leonine Iris is a home-based, budding (pun intended!) business located in Skyway, a community nestled in along the Renton/Seattle border in Washington. (In spite of how the almight Google has classified us, we are not a nursery!) Our yard in open each Saturday in May for drop-in visits. Weekday evening visits can be arranged by appointment only. If interested, please contact us regarding an appointment.

The Leonine Iris website is developed and maintained by owner, Bob Seaman. The design is intended to be fun and informative for any who visit. Any questions or comments can be directed to him via the "Contact Us" link

My Story

My interest in irises started in my youth. My dad was an avid gardener. He had several irises in the garden we had in Denver. I remember when we moved that he dug rhizomes for each type, packed them in dry sawdust and put them in the back of the Chevy suburban with the rest of our most important possessions. I'll never forget the scent that filled the car as we made our way to Washington in 1968. Our new house wasn't ready for several months... I remember my dad being worried about the rhizomes being kept out of the ground so long, and also his pleasure at seeing them all growing and blooming the next spring after he'd planted them. He added to his collection while I grew up and followed his footsteps to a certain extent by getting a degree in Landscape Design and working as a Garden Center Manager for several years.

I was not struck with a passion for irises until I was in my 30's and finally could afford a home with a yard. I "swiped" some rhizomes from my dad's collection and added a few others. Then one day I was out at Crossroads Mall with my former partner and saw this sign at the entrance: "King County Iris Society Show Today 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM". My curiosity was tweaked and we went inside to check it out. Lo and behold I discovered that there was more to irises than the "tall ones"! There were dwarf, standard dwarf, border, miniature tall, and intermediate bearded iris as well as Siberian, Japanese, Louisiana and something called Pacific Coast Iris, along with signs about other types called Spurias. I'd never seen such colors or patterns in flowers before; the intensity of some of them was stunning to a neophyte like me! A whole new world opened up for me and I've been hooked ever since! I started collecting some of the other types and learning more about the World of Iris. I joined the King County Iris Society and learned that there was even an American Iris Society (there's a society of everything, isn't there?).

Since my addiction to irises began I've continued to grow any of them I can get a hold of. I've grown several hundreds of hybrids, although not all at the same time! Our current growing space in Skyway does impose a definite limit on the number of plants that can be grown, so now it's a "simple" matter of deciding which irises to let go of in order to make room for newer/other varieties. In 2009, after being careful not to "specialize" in any particular type of iris, I decided to focus on Pacific Coast hybrids; our growing space is ideal for PCs, plus I'm more and more intrigued and enticed by their unique, intense and colorful patterns. About trhee quarters of our growing space is devoted to PCs while our collection of non-PCs has dwindled to several of a select few that are simply "must haves" that we both enjoy immensely.

Many thanks to my patient, understanding and beloved partner, Tracy Turner, who so appropriately dubbed me "iris-ly deranged;" a few years into our life together. He helps keep me grounded and prevents me from turning into a recluse!