Iris

Sometimes Iris surprise us

Sometimes Iris surprise us

The iris is truly one of a kind. I always say that there is an inverse proportion to how long a flower lasts and how special it is. Thus, the iris. A very short gift in the spring and truly exquisite. Exotic, really, and the closest that we come to an orchid in this climate. But short lives, so wake up now and start smelling the roses, I mean, start smelling and seeing the iris.

DSC00423Iris come in all kinds of colors, with purple being the standard. Many of the purples are mixed now with a darker bottom. It is worth noting that all of the iris varieties smell different. The yellow ones have been described as “flowery and citrussy”, while the had names like “grapey” and “spicy”. Experiment with the scent. Cut some and bring them in and see how the scents light up your house. I believe that the scents that iris make are beyond classification of the english language.

IMG_4314Iris are quite easy to grow here with a glitches. They need to be divided every few years to keep blooming. When you dig them up in the fall, sit down to untangle them like you are untangling some fishing line. Then give them away. That is the good thing. There should be enough iris to go around. I was just given three that are supposed to be descendants from Bishop Lamy’s original Santa Fe garden, and they were three of hundreds. I hear they are very pretty, and maybe next year they will show themselves. Don’t expect to see flowers the first year after transplanting. Other than that, a little water here and there and you are set. Try not to let the dying leaves later in the summer deter you, the foliage is dying back and nourishing the rhizomes. Spring is their time of glory.

The iris get’s it’s name from the Greek word for rainbow. The goddess, Iris, in Greek mythology, is the goddess of the rainbows and sky. I say she dIMG_4319eserved her namesake of the flower, because while there is nothing quite like an exquisite rainbow in the sky on a summer night, a perfect ¬†sweet smelling iris is pretty close. Have you seen the maroon ones? The ones with variegated leaves? The selection is probably as broad as the human race.

IMG_4317And to end this, I must lay claim on the iris because I am a late May birthday. I have met many other late May babies in my live and we all identify with the iris. Which leads me to another topic. Do we all love the iris as much as I do, or do we all loves things in nature that are exquisitely special around the time of our birthdays? Or both? I do know that one of my son’s thrives on the magic of snow and the other on the magic of summer monsoons. But the magic for now, when you walk down the street, is in the iris.