I spent two hours this morning in a West Meade garden, tidying up the irises and cutting off the bloom stalks, now done for as the season is over. I pulled away brown leaves, but at no point this summer will I cut them back to fans, since both gardens I look after have more irises than I have time. Neither garden owner wants them divided either, for that might mean discarding roots. This would be a sacrilege, since so many of these irises came from mothers, grandmothers, and aunts at the old homeplaces. They are a sacred flower.
None of the irises in these pictures are the latest thing. They are the old Purple flags, Cemetary Whites, and some hybrids from 20 or 30 years ago, They are indestructible. They are timeless, and true Heirloom plants. They live along country roads where they care for themselves or in pastures of old farms.
And how well they get along with old time annuals such as the Batchelors’ Buttons! And with Lambs’ Ears and creeping verbena.
But they are out of bloom now, having turned the season over to the roses, and when the roses fade we will be in the Steamy season, when few find their gardens as enticing as they were in April and May.