Time by Iris


I can’t comprehend how fast time has flown the past six weeks. Weeks as fast as days, days like minutes. There are so many ways to measure time. When I was in my thirties I eschewed clocks. In my forties I wore a watch, feeling a need to be reminded that time was passing. I gave up the watch in favor of a white plastic round clock I bought at a yard sale for fifty cents, which I could hear ticking throughout the whole house. Some years ago I was suddenly fed up with the ticking clock, and gave it back to another yard sale. Now I have a tiny computer in my pocket or my purse nearly all the time that I can check any time, and there’s no ticking clicking away the seconds of my life. And still, time careers recklessly forward and I cannot get it to slow down. Especially in the garden.

I’ve been measuring time the past few weeks in irises. Through the (speeding) years I’ve planted a number of them that various people have given me. It always takes a couple of years for a new batch of rhizomes to bloom, and until last year they hadn’t done particularly well in my yard. I figured out that, like so many drought tolerant plants, they do much better when they get plenty of water. Don’t let anyone tell you that irises don’t need much water. They don’t ~ unless you want them to bloom. This year the May garden exploded with colors, including two I’d not seen before. A little dwarf brown iris that my dear neighbor gave me opened first, and I didn’t get a picture and I thought there’d be more time. It was just that one bloom, but the first after two years in the ground. Then they started bursting open with color and fragrance everywhere, and blowing my mind. First one color would open a few blooms, then another. I can’t remember where each variety came from, and wish I’d written them down.

The Japanese iris below came from a friend who shared her garden with neighbors before she moved away. Their cluster gets bigger and bolder every year, and the digger bees are crazy about the streamlined flowers. The center died away a few years ago and a columbine filled it in.


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Some of the other bearded irises, the white white and the frilly purple below, and maybe a couple of others, came from a wonderful woman who was in her nineties and had a legendary iris garden before she died. As each color opened with its unique scent I made the rounds daily, sniffing, watching for bees, taking pictures.

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The last to open tantalized as its buds elongated and swelled, suggesting a color I’ve never seen in an iris. (But that’s not saying much; I simply didn’t pay them that much attention until this year.) I don’t remember when I planted them, at least two years ago, or who gave them to me. Everyone who has seen them cannot get over the color, which can only be called peach.


Measuring time in irises. From now on, I’ll keep a record of whom and where each new variety comes from, because now I’m hooked. There are some bright yellow irises up the road I’ve got my eye on!

9 thoughts on “Time by Iris

  1. Beautiful, Rita! So glad you captured these beauties in all their glory. Guess what? I have a peach/lavender colored iris in bloom right now. Just like at your place, it’s only one and now wondering if they both originated from the same place? It’s another glorious mystery!

  2. Spectacular! Thank you Rita! I think we’ve been looking at the world through the same eyes lately! My last post was filled with irises (and other beauties) too. Blessings to this beautiful earth.

  3. I hope you don’t find this offensive, but I was wondering in the first paragraph of the iris story at the very bottom, is it supposed to be careers or careens? Love , Jenifer

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Not offensive at all, dear. I am always happy to be edited. But in this case, I do mean “careers.” It’s an uncommon (but perfect in this case) use of the word; American Heritage Dictionary defines this intransitive verb thus: “To move forward at high speed, often with minimal control.” 🙂

  4. Scrumptious,sensuous luscious irises.

    Thanks for the visit and the help with the fotos. My CHC team is thrilled!


    Sent from my iPad


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