27 May 2009

One Purple Iris

By now, all the irises have faded. But before we leave them to the land of late-spring memory, I have to tell a story. Last year, we had yellow irises. This year, in the garden, one purple iris bloomed and next year there will be more.

How is it that I have purple? Well, last fall I got a knock on the door. I answered and found on my front porch an older, bearded man. He looked like Santa Clause, but introduced himself as a neighbor of mine two streets over. Last spring, he said, he noticed that I had really great yellow irises. Would I trade him some of my yellow ones, he asked, for some of the purple ones that grow in his yard?

I said yes. A few weeks later, my neighbor delivered a bag with 10 rhizomes in it. They look a little like ginger root with a green fan of blades at one end, just in case you were wondering

Of course I had to reciprocate, and I eventually got to it a few days later. Partly to make way for the purple irises, and partly to prune, I dug up no fewer than 30 of my yellow iris rhizomes, but probably more. Before we moved in, the yard had been neglected for at least a few years, and the irises had become quite overgrown. In fact, even after all I pruned away, the iris patch might still be too crowded. Anyway, I selected the 10 best looking ones and sent them over to our neighbor.

This spring, one of the 10 purple irises flowered. I wasn't expecting to see any blooms at all for the first year. What a pleasure. And next spring, when more of them blossom, it will be even better.


joe said...

what a nice neighbor! plant swaps are awesome.

kat said...

See, this is how I know I'm too suspicious of people. I would have been completely freaked out by a bearded stranger telling me he had "noticed" my yard and wanted to trade flowers. Obviously a completely harmless request, but I still would have been nervous. Maybe I am a paranoid schizophrenic just like the facebook quiz said.

ellabella said...

i love this story! we have all purple irises, they are almost gone now. i love plants, and it's great to see that so many other people do too.

Karin said...

I love my purple irises...I didn't even know there are yellow ones