I have always loved irises. To me they’re one of the most beautiful flowers around, except for roses, and they’re also a variety I can actually grow. I have a terrible “black thumb” (or whatever the opposite of a green thumb would be). I have a sentimental attachment to them as well…
Years ago, my late husband brought home a huge pile of iris plants that had been thrown in the dumpster where he worked, victims of a new landscape design. We planted them all around the house and hoped for the best. Apparently the bulbs did as they were supposed to do, split and survived the trauma of being uprooted and replanted, because over a year later the first fragrant purple velvet iris bloomed. It was the day of his funeral, completely out of season for iris, and let me tell you, I took that as an absolute sign he was still watching over us. Yet another reason to adore purple iris!
Before the bicycle accident that took his life at much too young an age, we’d been on a trip up north to visit friends and happened to stop in at a place called Bluebird Haven Iris Garden, which was every bit as charming as the name implies and which I’ve discovered still to this day sells bulbs of the most amazing varieties of iris. My husband and I had planned to order enough bulbs to lay down a huge bed of iris along the back fence, but of course we never got the opportunity. Fate had other ideas. In his honor, a year or two later, I did place the order and my best friend and I dug the iris bed and did the planting. I got to enjoy the many flowers for quite a few years.
During that time, a very dear friend of mine who is a talented painter came out to photograph the iris in bloom. Later that year, she presented me with a lovely painting she’d done of one of the purple iris. I really treasure the painting, not only because it was from Mary, but also because we no longer own the house and the iris bed is long gone, but I can still look at her work of art and remember.
Do you have a special favorite among the flowers?