The Beauty of Iris
I blame Mom for my fascination with Iris. These blue iris were her favorite, a North American version of the orchids that grew wild in our backyard trees in Brazil.
When we lived in southern Illinois in an old farm house, she had several beds of iris off to the side of our driveway. It was our job as kids to keep those beds weeded, something that was hit and miss some years depending on what other activities took up our after school time.
I loved weeding those Iris beds. There was something cathartic about pulling out plants that didn't belong and standing back to see my work. In those days I didn't know what the unwelcome plants were, I just knew Mom would not be happy until all of the funny green tufts of green growth were out of her precious Irises.
It's one of the reasons why I started to carry these Iris throws. The applique fabric iris are lovely against the white cotton back drop and so quickly bring a garden vibe into any room.
When a gardening friend heard about my love of iris, he brought me a few new starts last year. Another gardening friend shared a supply of white ones so now I have more than Mom's iris keeping me company in my garden.
Over the years, as I moved from one house to the next, Mom's irises were dug up and moved with me. I didn't always plant them in the best conditions so it could take a couple of years before I had them in the right light and soil conditions to bloom.
It doesn't take much. They like sun but will bloom in partial shade. They don't want to be wet and need to be planted so the root rhizomes sit on top of the soil while the roots are covered.
This spring, Mom's bluish/purple Irises made a lovely showing, giving me the opportunity to mark them so once blooming is over, I can group them back together in one color blocked flower bed.
The best time to move Iris is June through September. The shallow-rooted plants need a little time to settle into their new growing spot. Add a little compost to enrich the soil and mulch after planting.
Mom's irises bloomed this year, along with my peonies, on Mother's Day. Suppose that's a sign?
I like to think that's my mother, who loved my garden, saying from Heaven she approves.