The first irises began opening over the last several days marking a major milestone as spring travels though my garden. This yellow Iris germanica (Bearded iris) is always among the first iris to bloom each year. It is a special pass-along from my friend and former neighbor, Henrietta.
Years ago Henrietta grew beautiful bearded iris her mother had obtained from a friend who grew them for a local florist. One July she divided them and sent her son to all the nearby homes to deliver copious quantities of leftover rhizomes. As a young working mother gardening was not a big part of my life then and I left the plastic bag outdoors for weeks without really giving much thought to the treasure within.
Eventually I did plant them, but didn’t understand not to bury the rhizome, so the next spring they failed to bloom. My friend assured me they would bloom the next year, which they did, and they have bloomed every year since.
I brought some of these irises to my current garden nearly thirteen years ago and when the stalks emerge and fat buds form, when the first tip of color is revealed and finally the inflorescence follows, the irises feel like comfortable companions, old friends getting together again after a long time apart.
Henrietta and I stayed in touch after she moved away from the old neighborhood, but sadly one year her Christmas card was returned unopened and I have never known an ending to the story. A nice thing about pass-alongs is the way they keep relationships and memories going.
Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris) is another pass along plant from another special family friend. When my garden was on a small local garden tour in the neighborhood last year, everyone who stopped by marveled at it and I passed along many bags of rhizomes.
One of the few irises I have actually purchased, Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush,’ was added to the garden March 2012. It is among the first to bloom.
Iris germanica ‘Batik’ is another iris I purchased and have always enjoyed. Its batik markings are pretty unusual.
On a side note I have grown this Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) several years now. It spent the winter in the garage without attention. I moved it to the back screen porch a month ago and gave it a drink or two of water. There is only one flower head on this stalk and only one stalk. Several more amaryllis are planted in the garden. They are making slow progress toward flowering but this one looks promising.