Family Iris

Besides hardy heirloom roses (which had to be hardy—no one was fertilizing, pruning, or even watering them at times), huge lilac bushes, and other hardy garden fare like honeysuckle, one could always find iris growing on both of my grandparents’ farms. They tend to pop up just as the daffodils are dying.  (See Family Heirlooms and Great Grandma’s Rose for posts on other heirloom plants in my garden.)

I have my mother and grandma to thank for the iris I have in my flower bed. They are another passed-down plant.

We always had the standard blue iris that is almost native to our state. Homesteaders planted them in the early part of the 20th century and if you drive the back roads, you can spot where old farm houses might have been by the batches of irises growing.  Grandma always had some yellow iris as well.  She had a Hull vase which she had received as a wedding present.  I loved this vase and would always try to keep it full for her of lilacs and iris.

In the early 1980s, my mom was fortunate enough to find someone thinning out her beds of “show irises” and she snatched them all up. Not one to pass on a free deal, she snatched up as many varieties as she could. She got some great specimens. (Our favorite was one called Root Beer that reportedly smelled like the beverage as well. I never could pick up on the aroma.)  We added these “show iris” to our beds with our “old” standbys.

We shared these with grandma and we all enjoyed their blooms every spring.

When grandma moved to town, she moved her iris. When mom moved from the farm, she donated lots to me.  I am now the keeper of the family iris.

I now longer have Root Beer, but I love these other varieties.

Comments are closed.