A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I is for Iris

Iris, the most noble of flowers,
graces the warm spring and early summer hours.
Fair and tall, lush in color,
A flower like no other.

A bit of doggeral I concocted when I first decided awhile back that my "I" post would be Iris. However, this year the irises haven't cooperated, as the late rains and cold and snow delayed their unfurling. I really had to search to come up with even these two lonely examples, when usually at this time of year you can find them crowding beds that look plain and lackluster the rest of the year. I was so disappointed with the turnout that I didn't even bother to enter Ann's photo contest until now! There's still time, if you haven't entered yet...

The generic purple version is anything but ordinary. There are many color variations, thanks to the diligent efforts of gardener/breeders, but the purple must be one of the oldest, at least in my area, where you often find them blooming at abandoned homesteads.

This pure white iris is blooming in front of the tiny, historic Catholic Church in North San Juan.

Irises really love to have sun on their rhizomes (no, they are not bulbs, though often thrown in the same class) and that could well be why there are so few blooming yet. They also get a little cranky when their rootlets crowd each other too much, and stop blooming. Then, it is appropriate to dig up the whole bed, trim back the excess root growth, and replant with a better spacing - and wait a few years for them to settle back in and bloom anew. This seems like a lot of trouble to some, but I have repeated the process several times over the years, and they are hardy and drought tolerant, repaying my efforts by having the good grace not to die on me. And when a mass of them bloom at once, the effect is spectacular.


Blogger Jennifer said...

Beautiful flowers. Like anything worth anything, it takes effort, but the blooms are spectacular.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

My Iris are still just green leaves at this point. But once they bloom they sort of take over the garden!

4:23 AM  
Blogger Liz said...


We brought a clump of my mom's pale purple grape-scented irises with us when we moved up here, and I'm so glad we did! They have already spread out a bit, and I think they're going to be loaded with flowers this year.

5:55 AM  
Blogger margene said...

No iris here yet but they are such a lovely flower!

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Imbrium said...

Oooh, I love irises.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Stacie said...

"I" love your "I" post! Mine are just shooting up their greens right now... ah, gardening in the Midwest. The soil rules the planet, but the season is too short!

2:18 PM  

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