Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Little iris

Certain plants forever retain their charm for me: I never seem to tire of Salvia, of bulbs, of succulents and high alpine cushion plants of almost any description. But nothing enchants me more than little iris. And of all the little iris I have ever grown, Iris tenuis, from the Clackamas and Molalla drainages of Mt. Hood just outside Portland has to be near the top of the list. This enchanting pot is in the hands of Karen Lehrer, Propagator and co-owner extraordinaire of Laporte Avenue Nursery, of the finest alpine nurseries in America. I sorely wanted to swoop that pot out of her hand...

But I can wait until she propagates it like she does so many other treasures...above is one of many forms of Iris ruthenica, which bloomed magnificently for me this year. I trod past countless thousands of this magnificent iris in the high Altai two years ago, and my few clumps here and there have gained a whole new level of association because of that.

The northern hemisphere is peppered with little irises: and seeking them out in their wild haunts, and growing them in my garden is one of the touchstones of my life.

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