Invites you to enter, and view mysteries unseen,
Its vine laden bowers and overhanging trees,
The air filled with sweetness, the hum of the bees,
The flagged walks with Iris galore,
Of most beautiful coloring, unknown before,
Pink, white, purple, yellow, azure blue,
Mixed and mingled of every hue,
You come away wondering, can more beauty be seen
Than in the garden with its little gate of green. (Author Unknown)
How long has it been since I brought Mom’s irises from New Jersey to Maryland? I’m too lazy to look it up, but I figure it has been at least a quarter of a century, if not more. I first planted them at the Yokefellow Center. Then, when we moved 16 years ago, Mom’s irises moved with us. Two years ago I dug them all up, separating the rhizomes, and re-planted them in four different areas in the back yard. Some plant iris in clusters, but Mom always planted her’s in rows and I have done the same—a row along the garage, in front of the shed, on the side of the shed, and along the fence. Each area gets varying degrees of sunlight during the day and thus the iris bloom at different times from late April to early June. The blooms have already come and gone along the garage and the fence, but those along the shed continue to flower this morning.
After the flowers fade, I usually cut off the stalk, but leave the green leaves, which create the new buds and sprouts for the next growing season. In the fall I cut the green leaves back to about 8 inches or so above the ground. During the summer months many of the leaves turn brown and become unsightly. When this occurs, I wonder why I bother with irises that bloom for little more than a month, and require an inordinate amount of care, and then lie dormant for the next eleven!
I “bother” with them because they were Mom’s irises. I “bother” with them because they produce spectacular flowers of many varieties and colors. I “bother” with them because, after a quarter of a century, they have now become “my” irises too.