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.
I love Irises and the stories you tell with your posts, that was sad to lose touch and not know what happened. Some of my Irises have been gifts and I can relate to your feeling of seeing an old friend when they flower.
There is something special about irises isn’t there? My garden provides me a place for tending memories and friendships as well as for nurturing plants. I love inviting friends into the garden to share the flowers this time of year too. Susie
You have some gorgeous Irises, Susie. I just love them they are so sumptuous.
Sharing plants is one of the joys of gardening. I have so many lovely plants in my garden which are reminders of the dear friends who have given them to me.
I’m happy to see the irises in the garden again. I so agree with you about sharing plants.
Plants from friends are extra special, they bring so many memories with them. Your iris are all beautiful, its hard to chose a favourite!
Hi Pauline. Yes it’s nice to have these plants as reminders of friends. I love irises and am enjoying seeing them open.
I love Iris, and yours are exceptional not only for their beauty but their stories and friendships. 🙂
I share your love of irises Judy. I imagine all our gardens have lots of stories in them.
Nice to hear the stories behind the plants. Something with a history always earns itself a spot in my garden…. unless it’s bindweed 🙂
Frank, thanks for letting me share my memories of these irises. Gardens do hold stories don’t they?
Such beautiful irises, they would be a pleasure to have in the garden even without the stories, but any plant that links to people is extra special.
Thanks Janet, I do enjoy the irises. They and my other pass-along plants are integral to my garden.
I always think of my grandmother when I see a purple bearded iris because it was her favorite flower and her favorite color. In fact, she wore purple or lavendar nearly all the time. She would have loved your Japanese roof iris. I grow the white form in my mostly shady garden.
Lovely. Thanks for sharing your memory of your grandmother Marian. I have never seen the white roof iris but just looked it up. Beautiful. Some of my roof iris grow under trees, some in full sun–they seem not to mind the shade. susie
Well told stories of sharing are always healing. Thank you for all the information about Iris, too.
Thanks. Glad you found the iris post useful. Writing about the garden (and certainly being in my garden) has been healing for me and I’m glad when that can be extended to others.
Lovely, lovely Irises, you have some lovely colours, as you so rightly say the additional pleasure of a bloom being from a pass along plant is like seeing an old friend.
Thanks Christina. My favorite time in the garden is when the irises are in bloom. It’s turned cool here this week so maybe the irises will last a long time. susie
I hope they do. Is the white one blooming?
The white iris is barely showing color today, so soon…
Lovely story, Susie, I always think it’s nice to give and get plants as a way of creating a lasting connection. I like Irises too but find them a little hard to integrate unless you dedicate a whole border to them. I had some here, dug them all up, split and replanted them along the property facing the road. In a few years they should put on a nice show.
Thanks Annette. I hope your new iris beds facing the road will surprise you with a big show sooner than a few years. Irises do take up a lot of room in my borders but I don’t mind. Susie
What a lovely post Susie! Your irises are all so pretty, but the stories behind them make them even more special. Mine are just opening too, one by one! 😀
Cathy glad you enjoyed the iris musings. Bet your irises are beautiful. Isn’t it fun to see each one as it opens?
Batik has some wild coloring! I love it. Henrietta gave you a beautiful iris; it’s too bad you don’t know what became of her though.
Batik is a cool iris that I think came from So. States. Yes, it would be nice to know. Henrietta gave me the yellow and several others that are starting to open this week also.
Beautiful selection of iris beautifully photographed.
Thank you Malc. It’s fun to see the irises opening up each day. I find some of them can be camera-shy and hard to capture accurately.
Wow! That’s a great variety of Irises you have. The yellow one is so beautiful.
Thanks. I am really enjoying the irises this year. A few different ones have opened but not enough time lately to post. The yellow one has become a favorite after I moved it away from a pink rose that it clashed with. Now I love it.
I don’t think I will see any iris before June as we are so far behind. The iris are just putting on new growth…nice to see all the lovely iris you have
Thanks Donna. By June I’ll be missing the iris so will look forward to seeing yours then.