What was that Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz about happiness being in her own backyard?
“…if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.”
I’ve mentioned Dorothy’s quote here before, and it seems so comforting right now in COVID-19 quarantine times. With the virus still out there threatening public health, our backyards, patios or balconies can be a place for solace and refuge, particularly for those of us who are gardeners. Gardening gives back the effort you put into it. A forgotten beauty showed its face in my backyard a few weeks ago, as this gorgeous walking iris woke up and bloomed for the first time in years.
The bloom enchanted me, and I got out the micro lens I got for Christmas last year to try to do it justice. That flower must have felt like a fashion model, because I snapped it with my DSLR camera from every angle. Only a few of my 50-odd pictures are worthy of sharing, but that’s ok. I’m learning and growing very slowly in this photography endeavor, and that’s ok, too.
I picked up this plant a few years back in the garden section of a big home improvement store at the end of the season, for about $5. You’ve been there: it’s late September and they’re making space for the winter items and Christmas decorations, and put scraggly summer bloomers that aren’t showing their colors on a couple of shelves in the back under a big red Sale sign. I have a hard time resisting those bargains, especially since the growing season in Texas is pretty much every month – except January. (This is one reason I hate January; check out the January Dreaming series for more.)
Because of its pointy leaves, I suspected the plant was an iris, my favorite flower, when I rescued it from the bargain bin, but had no idea what color or kind. I planted it behind the pool in a bare spot left by some purple sage that disappointed me by dying. Actually, I guess I disappointed it by planting it in the wrong place, right next to a sprinkler head. The old phrase, “bloom where you’re planted,” didn’t work for that scraggly sage at all! Note to self: don’t put a drought-friendly plant in a well-watered bed.
I had never heard of a walking iris before researching this beautiful bloom to share it with you. I think it is the Regina Walking Iris, which has a bluish purple color. The walking part is because the plant spreads; it blooms multiple times on the same stalk and gets heavy, then falls down and reseeds, slowly spreading.
Another name for this plant is “apostle plant,” with the story going that it needs to have twelve leaves before it will bloom. If that’s true, perhaps it’s why it took my rescue plant so long to give me some love. Apparently, unlike the sage, it is very well suited for the spot I picked, because it likes most soil. I may make mistakes in the garden, but I usually don’t make the same ones twice.
I love how the garden constantly gives little gifts like this, and I’ll be back on the bargain aisle in the plant section of the home improvement store come September to see what I can snag.
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