Saturday, May 10, 2008
may begins with iris
This has been a busy week much of which was swallowed up by a virus I caught that kept me in bed for the past 3 days. I won't bore you with the details but it was debilitating and I am very happy it is past. Before the illness, I had the pleasure of a nice spring walk in my neighborhood and I took along the camera to capture a few sights that I knew would be worth recording. Iris are in bloom in our yard and all around town. I love the old fashioned lavender blues that seem to be everywhere in old Washington, DC and they came out around the beginning of May. We have a nice stand of them here in our yard that were here when we moved in to this apartmen. It was my delight because many I had rescued from a lot in dead of winter years ago were lost over the years due to dogs and the other homes I have left behind. I love them because of the delicate color and the wonderful scent which perfumes the air. It is a very fruity sweet smell that reminds me a little of grape soft drinks and is a little more sweet in this old variety than in the larger variety called german bearded iris. I was visiting a neighbor a couple weeks back who had just transplanted a big patch of old purple iris in his yard to stand along his fence and he offered me a few of the left over iris he didn't find room to plant in his new landscape. I hope to drop by and pick them up today. I also had a delight this week just before all the spring rains that have been falling while I have been sick, which was the first blooms on my gift from another neighbor on 12th Street. I was out walking one summer day two years ago and found the gardener of one of my favorite corner gardens in Brookland outside at work. She had just had a new garage shed built and had dug up a bunch of her fence plantings to make way for the bigger building. I stopped to admire her garden. She mentioned that she had no time to replant the stuff that she dug up and if I wanted some of them I was welcome to take them. I did and now they have finally bloomed. Pure white iris and I took a few to my mother who also has blooms out in Virginia this week. The other plants were day lilies she said were orange but as I found out the first summer after transplanting them they were pink and a lovely cadmium yellow deep. I will have pictures of those when they come back later this year. I had some bad news this week too besides me getting sick my father went back to hospital with more seizures and was sent home pretty fast. He is now bedridden and mother is trying to find a way to get him back on his feet and finally reaching out to the local service for the aging in their community. I think my father loves iris as much as I do but for different reasons I am sure. I was amazed once years ago he ordered a box of about 36 different iris tubors and we ended up setting them out together in a new iris bed we created just for them alone in full sun. It was a long wait for the flowers but after a couple years we had a lovely display of full size german bearded iris of many colors. It was like a patchwork quilt of colors. Some bloomed earlier than others. I have a few I bought sitting on my back porch in water hoping to bring them back to live and get them in the ground this week. There are red and orange which are new colors we found last fall but never got in the ground here before the winter cold came. Another iris story that comes to mind is when in the mail I recieved a box full of iris from France! My pen pal and friend from Holland who gardens at his retreat in the mountains of southeastern France sent me some of his pretty blue german bearded iris. It took two years but we got a beautiful bloom on them last spring. This year many of them are gone but one survived and is blooming from these and I hope they will recover from something that hit them last summer. The excitement about that shipment of iris was we found out the next time he tried to send me live plants from Holland that it is not permitted by customs to send your friends any kind of plant material in the mail. His next shipment was delayed opened and all the plants were removed and a bunch of papers inserted and stamps put on the package explaining what they did to the box. So I cherish the one iris plant that I have left from that first gift. There is a color of iris I call root beer I found in a garden near by that I also posted taken last spring. It is one of my favorites colors for the dark warm tones that don't show up well in photos. If you know anyone with these I would love a transplant for our beds.