Tending Iris

Early this morning I slipped outside in my bathrobe and hard-soled gardening clogs, long before the sun was up, to clip and prune the iris by our patio, and even those out by the fence, then headed for the compost bin. It’s become a morning ritual for me, with several beds of iris now blooming to their hearts’ content in our back yard.

It has occurred to me that iris take care taking. They take tending on a daily basis once they begin to bloom, like our children or our husbands, or even our elderly parents. They lie dormant all winter, spring forth with greenery in the spring, and then suddenly they are front and center in our lives, just as
those we love become more prominent, wanting our attention and needing more from us on a daily basis. And of course we rise to the occasion.

When the kids were in school and needed cookies or cupcakes for the next morning, even if they forgot to tell me until bedtime, they’d be ready the next morning. When someone needed something ironed, on the spot, it was ironed. I suppose this made me an accommodating mom. So now, when the iris need pruning, they seem to call to me. Come. We need you. Help us.

That’s when I grab my trusty gardening shears and head out the back door to the patio, surveying the
deep purple beauty of the iris I’ve both planted and transplanted from one side of the patio to the other, and even to the back and side fences. Iris everywhere. Just like I like them.

My message to anyone wanting to plant iris in their garden is this ~ they’re just like children. They need you once they begin to bloom. Keep them trimmed up and they’ll reward you with more beauty than you ever imagined.

I once saw a woman with a bed of iris of all colors. I was taking a walk in a neighborhood where I used to live. I stopped to admire her flowers and commented on several brown iris. They were strange – brown and bearded. I remarked that they were the most unusual iris I’d ever seen. The gardener frowned, glared at her brown iris and said, “Aren’t they the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen? I really should dig them up and give them to someone I don’t like.”

For once in my life I think I was speechless … I smiled and walked on, laughing inside. So, my suggestion to anyone planting iris is … of course, to plan to tend them once they bloom, but whatever you do, plant them in colors you’ll always love, and you’ll never regret having them in your garden.

About beeconcise

A Southern writer now living in Georgia after many years in the Pacific Northwest.
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