Irises … trouble-free according to the experts. Pah!

February 28, 2012

There are varieties of iris for almost every day of the year. In February reticulatas,  little delicate things so welcome among the green-ness  and brown-ness, the dead leaves and twigs, the muddiness of winter.

And later, of course, the wonderful bearded irises to which I am devoted though they bloom for a comparatively short time and they DEMAND their own bit of the garden and if overgrown by any other sort of plant for a split second go into a deep sulk… and they have to have sun so they need a prime spot. As they are difficult to mulch because birds scratch it over the rhizomes and this also puts them off flowering one has to weed constantly with a sharp knife. I weeded my iris border minutely in October…a process as fiddly as drawn-thread work…something I spent hours leaning to do at school and a skill I haven’t needed in my life so far …and because of the mild weather in November and December all the weeds sprang up again ….see work in progress

So I’m wondering why I put up with irises at all. This is the pursuit of beauty akin to madness. But if I’m still doing this blog in May I shall put up photographs that may justify the terrible effort.

Just found a photograph of the same border,  taken last summer when the irises had finished. THE GARDEN TEAM.

6 Responses to “Irises … trouble-free according to the experts. Pah!”

  1. Oh Victoria, how wonderful you are!!!You brighten my day and lift my spirits Thank you for the lovely blog. xxx Leone.

  2. Annegret said

    Though a bit groupie-esque, your fervent fans in foreign lands (anyone from New Zealand out there?) again feel moved to comment – if only with poetry – in the hope that you will in turn be moved to pen many more delightful blog entries, even in May. A tolerable iris poem was not easy to find, and poems about doors and roofliness are not at all forthcoming (yet).

    Sea Iris
    By H. D. 1886–1961


    Weed, moss-weed,
    root tangled in sand,
    sea-iris, brittle flower,
    one petal like a shell
    is broken,
    and you print a shadow
    like a thin twig.

    Fortunate one,
    scented and stinging,
    rigid myrrh-bud,
    sweet and salt—you are wind
    in our nostrils.


    Do the murex-fishers
    drench you as they pass?
    Do your roots drag up colour
    from the sand?
    Have they slipped gold under you—
    rivets of gold?

    Band of iris-flowers
    above the waves,
    you are painted blue,
    painted like a fresh prow
    stained among the salt weeds.

    Source: Collected Poems 1912-1944 (New Directions Publishing Corporation)

  3. Melanie Barthelme said

    Adore the photograph! The cat looks very comfortable, Please post pictures of May! Sorry for the exclamation marks. Something about typing on the computer brings it out in me. And I so love your books and the glimpses of your life on this blog.

  4. Mary Lockhart said

    I love teams with multiple backgrounds. Who’s the leader? Judging by body language, the fluffy one is in charge but may not be sufficiently task-oriented.

  5. Cynthia Krehbiel said

    I am determined this year to dig up all my Irises after they bloom and put a sign on my front lawn to offer the divisions as giveaways. I have been meaning to do this for the last two years, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. These Irises have outgrown their space. Its hard to give up something so beautiful so maybe I will just keep a small division, if I can find somewhere else to put it.
    Here it is, Tuesday, March 13, and according to the weather forecast, it will be 13 degrees C today. My guess is that it will be even warmer- possibly 15 C, because the sunshine is so strong. And I mean ‘strong’ in that the whole ‘quality’ of sunshine has changed over the years, probably because of the thinning of the ozone layer that protects us (and the earth) from it’s brilliant rays. The ‘shine’ of the sun is more glaring, harsher, to me anyway. Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Last Saturday, on my way to the Farmer’s Market, I noticed that my Narcessi and Allium are coming up; tiny green shoots just out of the ground. Spring is coming to Calgary early this year, though I expect we will get more snow, but it will melt quickly and the temperature will not dip as low. The Equinox is a week away. Spring is my second favorite season.

  6. Cynthia Krehbiel said

    P.S. What a lovely pussycat! I want to know how long you stayed bent over like that!?

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