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 flag. Iris grow anywhere in North America. Quebec
Driving the rural roads of northern
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. Illinois
Apparently the bearded iris hybridize easily and now can be found in the most exquisite combinations of colors.