My irises are blooming. That makes me very happy. Not because they are my favorite flower; they are not. They are too short-lived for me to embrace them in such a manner, though they are beautiful in an ephemeral way. I grew up calling them ‘flags’ because that is how the women in my family referred to them. They are lovely as they gently sway in the soft breeze, like a delicate flag. But they are too delicate for me. One strong storm and they are beaten down, never to return to their original state. One cold snap and they are done until the next year when, hopefully, they will try to shine again. A rainstorm at the wrong time and their delicate beauty disintegrates. No, they are too delicate for me.
And, yet, I seem to always have irises in my garden wherever I go. One reason is that they are so easy to grow. They can, literally, fall on barren ground and take root, grow and bloom the next season! I admire that. Their tenacity.
When I lived in the big Victorian that I loved so well, there were irises surrounding my home. In my yard were a variety of beautiful irises, along with lots of other flowers, of every imaginable color. Some quite rare. I admired them and so did the Malamute! But, apparently, they were in her way for they seemed to grow in all the places she wanted to wallow and rest. Eventually, she dug up and dislodged many of them. I suppose she must have eaten them, for their carcasses were never found!
When we moved, I dug up and toted the remainder of the tubers to the new house, adding them to the irises already growing in the beds there. They grew and prospered and multiplied. More were added from various places. They were lovely. But their blooms lasted such a short time. I always wished the blossoms would stay a little longer. Of course, they never did.
With this last move, from the country into town, I did not bring the irises. But my sons did. They planted them in their gardens and let them grow and multiply. Last year, my oldest called and asked if I wanted some. He was thinning out his beds so they could stay healthy. By then, I was ready to garden again and happily said yes. When he arrived, I wondered where I would put them all!
In his meticulous way, he had separated them all by color and size into separate bags and, of course, had them labeled. I decided to add them to the ones already lining my driveway, put there by the previous owner. I planted them and left them to their own devices. For, as we know, they are hardy creatures.
This year, I was rewarded with an array of colors from purples to yellows to bronzes to bicolors. They are beautiful. And, though they are not my favorite flower, my heart swells whenever I see this collection for it is MY collection, come home and full of memories. These tubers which now grow so happily in my garden came back to me through my son from my old garden. They are plants we had accumulated over the years from friends and neighbors and, most importantly, from my father-in-law. He was a wonderful gardener, winning ‘lawn of the week’ awards every year.
So now, as I look out over my row of irises swaying in the morning breeze, I see the old house, my old garden, my Malamute digging up tubers that were in her way, my sons’ gardens, and that of my father-in-law. I recall the fun times of those past years. The camaraderie, the friendships, the love. I see the flags that my grandmothers would recognize. And my FIL. I see the past but I see the future too. Because my sons have those same plants in their gardens. And if or when they move, I know they will take them with them. Life goes on. The irises remind me of that. They are delicate looking but tenacious in spirit. Perhaps they ARE my favorite flower after all.
My irises also remind me of a wonderful woman I once knew named Iris. https://bgibsonbooks.com/miss-iris/. She was a delightful and Godly woman who was a blessing to all who knew her. And irises were her favorite flower too. Do you know someone like her? I hope you do.
What is your favorite flower?