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Listening to the Iris

In the Midwest, May is the month when our bearded iris bloom, and they are often combined in beds with the multi-petaled peony, another May-flowering perennial.

Lilla_iris_randers

Photo: Malene Thyssen

Iris

In the Midwest, May is the month when our bearded iris bloom, and they are often combined in beds with the delectable multi-petaled peony, another May-flowering perennial.

The peony is the state flower of Indiana, and it is so long lived that it is often called the century plant.

I love the combination of pink peonies and lavender blue iris, but any combination of iris and peonies is beautiful as they are an unbeatable duo. The deer, for once being kind to flower gardeners, leave peony and iris buds untouched. And so we are free to enjoy them both in the garden and in the house, and their light fragrance and luscious colors are proof that winter has truly receded.

These flowers appeal to all of the senses, according to Collette who wrote “I can hear the iris bloom. Its last protective silken layer rasps and splits down the length of an azure finger which uncoils at the proper time, and sitting by oneself in a small quiet room, one may start suddenly if one has forgotten that, on a nearby table, an iris has suddenly decided to blossom.”

Often we notice the distinctive sound when we snap off the dead blooms from an iris stalk, either when dead heading in the garden or when we are tidying up a bouquet in a vase inside. We too can listen to the iris. And if we are very still and attentive to our flowers, one day like Collette, we may even hear one open.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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