Saturday, April 14, 2007

More Southern Spring

Competition among flowering shrubs, trees, and plants is steep in the Southern Spring. Another one of my favorites is the iris. White iris blooms, like the daffodils, at all old homesteads and frequently in ditches where people have thinned and didn't know what to do with the spare rhizomes. Yellow iris and purple iris are also fairly common.

This fancy bronze bearded iris is in front of my mother's house. They used to reside in the side yard by the old pear tree and before that at my grandmother's garden fence. My grandmother had a riotous garden of single species, gifts from gardening friends and purchases of beautiful things. Matching color was no object. Yet, it all seemed to work.

She had a garden inside her house and in the windows of the hardware store of gloxinia, violets, cyclamen, cactus, and anything else that could be rooted from a cutting. I remember her joy at coaxing something into blooming or rooting.

She would have been happy to think her special iris is still blooming in profusion each Spring. Mama wants me to take a few to plant at my old house. I will, for memories. The blooms are not the only special iris trait that produces memories.

Did you know that you can take an iris leaf and, with a stick, write messages or your name on it. You can then fashion bracelets and crowns or you could just leave the leaf attached to the ground to claim your bloom. I spent hours, as a child, sitting with the iris scratching my name and secret messages onto the leaves.

Don't you just love the stalky, pride of these wonderful plants?


ZBTzahBTzoo said...

I do love them.

Do you happen to know how well they tolerate wet feet? You mentioned cast-offs growing in ditches. Gave me an idea, but we've got pretty wet ditches :-)

mull-berry said...

You know, that is what I love about gardening. The sharing ... you don't have to be rich to have a beautiful garden and someone is always willing to give you a start of something.

p.s. Did your siblings ever read your leaf diaries or did they ever fall into the wrong hands? : )

wisteria said...

zbtzahbtzoo, there are some varieties that love the water, but the common ones are usually seen a little higher up the ditch bank. I'll get the names of those water loving ones.

Mull-berry, Gardening with starts takes PATIENCE, if you like big shows of single species. But you are so correct. The best gardens are filled with love and stories of who gave me this plant, not wads of money.

ZBTzahBTzoo said...

:-) Oh, dear. Just came back to see about the iris and wet feet, and to report that I impulsively bought (gulp) 375 bulbs of various kinds -- a deal, I thought, for $35.00.

Wisteria, I have no beds prepared! It was 84 degrees and sunny here today, and my daffodils are bursting with blooms, and I just got so excited when I saw these bulbs at the discount club, that I HAD TO HAVE THEM.

Please pray for me:-)