Saturday, April 21, 2007

Iris - wrapping it up

I'm looking forward in the future to introducing myself to the Louisianas, their rich tones of rusty browns and other colors providing an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the garden. I've only just started with a few shade lovers and want to grow more. I also have one Japanese Iris, ensata 'Momojido', and want to perfect my growing of it; it is a sorry little plant and has not thrived. Perhaps moving it or replenishing its soil will work but sometimes there is an incompatibility, the relationship is not in equilibrium. That sometimes happens in gardening, the wrong plant in the wrong garden, and then it's time to find a new home for it with someone else. I'm not upset if it happens and want only the best for it, it will be an amicable parting.

Native to the Northern Hemisphere, Iris are grown and enjoyed worldwide. From high alpine ridges to deep forests, and deserts to wetlands along with many grasslands, Iris are found. Some have been used medicinally and others show up as representative symbols for royal houses and youth organizations. There is something about their recognizable flowers that is so appealing and on many levels. Their world is deep and large and I must explore further. I've often thought that a garden without Iris is the weaker for it and makes a statement about the gardener.

For more information please visit:

For specific classes and types of Iris visit:

International Iris Societies

Iris Research from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden which includes a cool phylogeny of Iris based on DNA sequencing

Most of the societies have links for where to buy Iris but in case they might have missed some try:

My Aunt and Uncle used to visit us while I was growing up. We didn't see them very often, our lives were separate and didn't intersect much, and each visit was a pleasure. They have unique voices, on the order of old radio and movie stars, and I loved hearing them talk. My Aunt had a way of looking at you that let you know her expectations of you were pretty high and you didn't want to see her being disappointed with you.

When I was older I found out she loved gardening and eventually specialized with orchids, covering a small patio and growing them into perfection. She would lose herself with her gardening and plants, taking a respite from the day and replenishing her soul. Eventually they moved into a retirement community, and of course, bringing a few special plants with them. I don't know how my Aunt did it but she managed to secure a unit with a small garden, one of the few and rarely available. The scale was reduced, true, but the joy of being outside and involved with something she loved was still there. My Aunt passed away a few years ago and it's outside I feel closest to her, sharing the same processes, enjoying the weather, and feeling part of an ancient tradition. It's where I imagine Aunt Iris and her sisters, Rose and Fern, being forces of nature and taking on the world.