Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The garden with its little gate of green, Invites you to enter, and view mysteries unseen, Its vine laden bowers and overhanging trees, The air filled with sweetness, the hum of the bees, The flagged walks with Iris galore, Of most beautiful coloring, unknown before, Pink, white, purple, yellow, azure blue, Mixed and mingled of every hue, You come away wondering, can more beauty be seen Than in the garden with its little gate of green. ~ Winstead.

This post celebrates the bearded iris.  They are an incredible plant, a contradiction in every way.  Their blooms are like the finest silk, almost transparent and easily damaged.  The plant itself is cast iron.  It withstands abuse, can be dug and left unplanted  for weeks, even months.  It ignores bitter cold winters, hot dry summers, withstands drought and monsoon rains.  It tolerates neglect, crowding by other plants, weeds and grasses. Iris are often found at abandoned farm and home sites long after other plants have given up and died.   

A little iris history:  The iris is named for the mythological Greek goddess of the rainbow.  The oldest known painting of an iris dates back to 2100 B.C. Crete. The iris form inspired the French fleur de lys which was the symbol on the French flag until the revolution and is still the symbol on the Quebec flag.  Iris grow anywhere in North America.

Driving the rural roads of northern Illinois, I hardly ever find an old farmhouse that does not have a bed of this beloved plant in the dooryard.  Modern families also love the iris and find a place for a collection of plants somewhere in their yards.  

Apparently the bearded iris hybridize easily and now can be found in the most exquisite combinations of colors.  

 Here are some a lot of photos of iris belonging to me, my relatives, friends and neighbors:


Anonymous said...

Love the iris selection you and friends have. I have many varieties too and it almost can become an obsession. I have to keep from adding more. I did not know about the Quebec flag. I have been there too!

BeadedTail said...

So many pretty iris! My grandma always had purple iris and it always reminds me of her. We don't have any in our yard but I'll be adding some soon!

RURAL said...

They are all gorgeous...and yes, work horses of the garden that's for sure.

The library where I used to live, has a iris collector on staff, he had so many beautiful ones that I used to spend hours taking photos.

I need more in my garden...they are a joy to behold.


Lowcarb team member said...

I like all your photo's and especially enjoyed reading about the 'iris history' ... thank you for including this in with your post.

All the best Jan

troutbirder said...

Wonderful collection, Marnie. I love this flower for all the reasons you listed. Though I don't have nearly as many varieties the ones I do have carry treasured memories of family and friends who gave them to me years ago now...:)

Garden Fancy said...

Wow, irises really do come in every color of the rainbow and every combination thereof! I love all the multi-colored ones you have pictures of -- they look so exotic. It's hard to believe that such a beautiful thing is so easy to grow. Although I've decided I don't like irises that need to be staked... :-{ And their ease of increasing, which means you get more bang for your buck, also means that they must be dug up and divided every 4 years or so. They're still so glorious that they are worth the dividing (and allows us to share the beauty with other gardeners). Thanks for the lovely photos! -Beth

Rambling Woods said...

These are just beautiful... I love all the colors .... And the history lesson... Michelle

Lowcarb team member said...

Hope you've had a good week ... just love all the iris pictures.

Happy Weekend

All the best Jan