The Bearded Iris have arrived, and no, I am not talking about the main attraction in the freak show at the circus. Bearded Iris are among my most favorite flowers in the garden. As in, when I drive around town and I see a lovely color of iris growing in someone’s yard, it is the only flower that makes me consider committing a first degree misdemeanor and swiping a few. And, just for the record, I have not done it… yet
The word Iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, which may have something to do with the fact that they come in just about any color in nature and I am willing to bet a few industrious plant breeders are working on some that come in colors that are not in nature too. I bet there would be a real market for Manic Panic Iris among the 30-something gardening crowd. You know, as a way to show our rebellious Gen-X nature without being fired for inappropriate hair color or piercings.
I am not the only one that loves Irises. If you are French, you love them like you love your country because it is the national emblem of France. Good food, good wine and a deep, patriotic appreciation for lovely flowers – tell me again why I do not currently live in France? *sigh* C’est la vie.
Irises, specifically the black iris , is also the national emblem of Jordan. Not that Jordan doesn’t seem like a nice place, but lacking the good food, and good wine (especially the wine), I am not as keen on living there.
In Japan, they are a symbol of heroes, warriors and strong men. During Tango no Sekku, the Boys’ Festival, where boys are celebrated for their courage and strength of character, the iris is prominently displayed because of its sword like leaves and boys traditionally take a bath with iris leaves on this day.
One of the nicest things about the iris is that they are absolutely a set it and forget it plant. They really only need attention every few years for division and other than that, they flower like champions.
They come in two varieties, rhizome and bulbous. (The bearded varieties are rhizomes.) Both are as easy as the other to care for. Plant them in the ground, wait till spring for bloom.
And for you really picky types (as if a world of color was not enough) they come in a huge variety of sizes. Everything for miniature to tall and sizes inbetween.
So, while they may not be as entertaining as Bearded Iris at the circus (I hear she does a pretty kinky strip show for an extra $10), irises certainly do add a spectacular display to the garden.