Dutch Iris: My Harbinger of Spring

Dutch IrisI never rely on snowdrops to tell me when spring has arrived. Now, it is not to say that I am knocking the more commonly used snowdrop, it is just that I have, for my garden, an earlier indicator that winter has been asked to leave the building. It is my dutch iris.

While the snowdrops are still frightened little fists afraid that winter will come back for round two, my dutch iris never fail to unfold brilliantly and tell that blustery bully just where he can stick it.

Dutch iris can be considered the bastard offspring of European royalty. A hybrid of Spanish Iris, these spunky children bloom earlier than their more cautious matriarchs. Unfortunately, they seem to have inherited family tendency to bloom and run. While their blooms are lovely to behold, they are short lived. They last no more than a week or two.

But that is not to say that they die then. Like many bulbs, their foliage will continue to live and store energy. But, unlike other bulbs, their foliage will continue to grow after the bloom dies. They are about six inches tall when they bloom and when their foliage finally dies back, they will be close to two feet tall.

Every year, I look forward to these beauties and every year I say I must plant more. But of course, when the time comes for planting them in the fall, I have long forgotten the small service they gave me so many months ago. But, here and now, I will make note of again. Perhaps this year I will remember that the sorrow I feel at the end of the summer pales in comparison to the joy I feel at the beginning of spring and the coinciding sight of the dutch iris’ airy blossoms.

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