Several years ago when I was planning my gardens, I had a vision of a sea of blue Siberian irises in the front yard. I love the graceful beauty of the Siberian with its flowers poised like resting butterflies on tall, reed-like stems. I was able to purchase a few clumps that first year and over the past four years, they have multiplied and I have spent many hours in the fall dividing and transplanting them.
The second year of my gardens, I decided to buy a few Bearded Iris, cobalt in color, to put in a "memory garden" in honor of the little old lady who lived across the street from me when I was a little kid. I loved Gramma Bess....and spent many hours with her talking about her early history. She was the wife of a Maine "lighthouse keeper" and during the winter of 1919 lost her husband to the flu epidemic. On an island, off the coast of Maine, Bess, a mother of two young children, put her husband in "deep freeze" till spring break-up. In the twenties, she married a Carverite and moved to our town. Her tales of Maine fueled my imagination as we worked in her garden dead-heading the bearded irises she loved. Though I loved the cobalt blue irises, after the first year I decided to diversify and add a few more colors.
Irises bloom in late May/early June....such a short time....but like Lady Bess, their fragrance is stored in the memory bank of a little girl who kept Bess company as she worked in HER gardens. I wonder if years from now Julia or Sage will have irises in their gardens?