The Tyranny of Speed

I was walking Max and Berkley on a country road in Roanoke a few years ago when I came across an abandoned cemetery in which were growing, quite abundantly, clumps of iris. BH was dispatched to dig a few rhizomes out of the concrete-hard soil which he did with some MacGyver-like ingenuity –  a shovel not exactly handy at the time. (Really, I don’t know why the man doesn’t just give in and carry one at all times.)

German-iris-rhizomes

I brought the clump home and planted it with great care in just the right spot. It was late spring which meant I would have to wait another year to see just what I had. Patience is an attribute a gardener will do well to develop.

The clump doubled in size over that summer and autumn. The following spring, the anticipation was almost more than I could bear. What a gorgeous healthy stand of iris it was – what gardeners like to call a pride of iris.

Trouble was it didn’t bloom. Not one wretched flower stalk emerged from the wonderfully vigorous stand of iris. Oh, the agony. The disappointment.

I would have to wait another entire Y-E-A-R.

The truth is I’m as guilty of participating in the frenzied pace of modern life as the next one. I love being able to download a book two seconds after learning of it, but I’m having trouble making the time to read these instantly attainable tomes. I have a world of information at my fingertips and very little time for quiet reflection on the meaning of any of it. Heck, even my yeast is rapid-rise.

Which is why the garden is such a sanctuary to us. It encourages – no, it forces us to slow down to a more human pace, one in step with nature’s timeline. Refuge from life’s hubbub is critical to our peace of mind. How do we sort out life if we are hurdling through our days at such a maniacal pace there’s no time to catch our breath?

Beverley Nichols, my favorite garden writer, reflected on gardening’s therapeutic qualities long before our high-speed, rapid-rise age. One can’t help but wonder what he would think of us now:

One of the many reasons why gardens are increasingly precious to us in this day and age is that they help us to escape from the tyranny of speed. Our skies are streaked with jets, our roads have turned to race-tracks, and in the cities the crowds rush to and fro as though the devil were at their heels. But as soon as we open the garden gate, Time seems almost to stand still, slowing down to the gentle ticking of the Clock of the Universe.

I did wait another year for the Cemetery Iris to bloom. And I was rewarded with this.

IMG_20140512_130220

These same iris are putting up buds right now. I hope they will still be blooming for somebody else long after my days here have past. That’s the other miracle of the garden. It might move at its own speed, but it generously allows us to leave traces of ourselves behind. Tick. Tock.

Thanks for reading,

Barbara

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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141 Responses to The Tyranny of Speed

  1. John says:

    A beautiful color too. ☺

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  2. nrhatch says:

    Well, I’d say it was worth the wait! And I agree about gardening helping us to press the *pause* button. Peace!

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  3. suzicate says:

    I had two locations of irises that never bloomed when I moved into this house. I planted many more which always bloomed. After 20 years of those two patches not blooming I replanted them together and they’ve been blooming ever since.

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    • What?!? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Now my gardener’s mind is aswirl with questions, Suzi. The number reason for iris not blooming – other than not enough sun which I’m sure you had taken into consideration – is being planted too deeply. Do you think when you replanted them that you planted them higher and therefore, the blooms? And what colors were they? The same or two different? I must have details here, Suzi!

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  4. First of all…gorgeous pictures and this post is so spot on. We all have the informations on our fingertips and I am guilty as charged, everything has to happen right then and there. “Impatience” seems to be my middle name. Gardening is my way out of hectic, stress and insanity. There I have all the patience in the world, can dig in the ground for hours, can cut and trim shrubs and bushes and forget the time. Great post…well done. 🙂

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    • As I was impatiently waiting for the photographs of the iris to download while writing this post, I had to remind myself to chill out. I was just out in the garden five minutes ago and saw that a plant I had meant to rip out last year for non-performance but forgot about has put up a bud seemingly overnight. Isn’t that awesome? And people wonder why we garden!

      Liked by 2 people

      • fatericsmum says:

        Breeding animals is a bit like that too, Barbara. Our cows are calving right now (a post for a later date) and so far we have three beautiful calves ‘on the ground’ as farmers say around here of healthy newborns. But we just have to wait for the last three to be born — their mothers are taking their time to get things just right …

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      • Ahhh, so you are pacing the waiting room with cigars in your shirt pockets? (Maybe this allusion is too American to be clear?) In any event, you are expectant parents and I can only imagine the amount of patience needed to get through. Best of luck on the last three calves and so glad the first three arrivals are healthy. Can’t wait to learn their names which will surely be delightful.

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      • fatericsmum says:

        No, the allusion is fine Barbara (American culture is universal, after all). It hasn’t gone quite as well as I may have given you to believe, though — we had one stillborn calf, which was very sad indeed. But we’re hoping the final three will arrive safely

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      • Oh no. It interests me what the survival percentage is with these creatures. Is it reasonable to expect one loss out of six?

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      • fatericsmum says:

        Well, last year we had six healthy calves from six pregnant mothers — so we were very happy. In this particular case, we think the mother is the problem, however. I’ll discuss that problem in a later post, but our experienced neighbours simply say: “it happens” …

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  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Sounds like gardening requires the same level of patience as writing (and publishing). It’s a one day at a time thing, and there’s no rushing it if we want a fruitful outcome. 🙂

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  6. PressingForward says:

    I don’t read just anything, but I absolutely adore your posts! Thank you for sharing!

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  7. How beautiful! I am so glad you waited! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ginny says:

    Irises make me think of my mama, my Aunt Dwight, and my Aunt Sadie – another generation. I think Mama loved flowers but she had just to much to do in the house and with her part-time job as a librarian to spend time in the yard. My Aunt Dwight was forever pulling over on the side of the road to dig or pull up something interesting and take it to transplant in her beds. But really my Aunt Sadie comes to mind as my fondest memory of irises. She lived in Philadelphia, Mississippi and her yard looked like a park. She and her husband had a little dog named Honeybear that they adored. She was my daddy’s sister and such a lady, soft-spoken and genteel. I suppose irises have always seemed an old-fashioned flower to me or maybe it is just the notion of planting and waiting and waiting for a treasured reward that is out-of date and out-of-style these days. Such a lovely piece, Barbara.

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    • That’s another tradition I love about the South, the great names so many ladies of past generations had. Aunt Dwight. I bet there’s a story behind that name like our friend’s Aunt Diantha. It’s wonderful she would pull over and dig up a plant here or there. I remember walking through an old cemetery near Charlottesville which was covered in antique roses when I was much younger. I didn’t know you could cut and propagate them. It’s worth a road trip to cut a few slips, isn’t it? And thanks for sharing Aunt Sadie’s story too. It’s so good to share these memories.

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  9. redosue says:

    I love the name you have dubbed them with: The Cemetery Iris. It sounds like the name of a new Stephen King novel. They are lovely and well worth the wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Anticipation is the best part of the trip sometimes……but these, these were worth waiting for! Wow! I am so jealous. Also quite impressed with the new lesson on gardening and what it’s all about. Loved this best of all though….”Heck, even my yeast is rapid-rise.” Now that was a riot! LOL!

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    • I’m glad I made you laugh. Somebody has to appreciate my sense of humor and this time it appears to be YOU, Torrie. Iris are a good plant for your new garden when it finally gets going. They are really tough little buggers and I can help you along with some tips when the time comes.

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  11. A good article with great wisdom. Those cemetery irishes can teach us a lot. I have heard of the pride of Erin but pride of Irish.? We planted irishes a few years back but they flowered just once. This coming spring is now being anticipated keenly for the blue to arise.

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    • Oh, I hope it gets cold enough for them to go properly dormant and come back beautifully for you, Gerard. If they are not blooming, usually it is because you have planted them too deeply. Do you see how high the rhizomes are in my first picture. That’s how high they need to be to properly bloom. Please post a pic if they do!

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  12. Hm. Perhaps this is why I’ve never been able to ‘get’ gardening. It’s just another chore in my book. (Sorry.) Although, I don’t mind the watering, weeding chore if I know I’m going to get something to eat at the end of it.
    Your Cemetery Iris is a gorgeous colour and obviously worth the wait.

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    • No, don’t be sorry, Heather, it is not an all-inclusive club, to be sure. Gardeners are, admittedly, a few beats off from the norm….a fact which gives us immense pleasure! And awful fingernails.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shoreacres says:

        Can you hear me laughing? When I began varnishing as a profession, my poor mother became distraught. “Just LOOK at your hands!” she would say. “They look terrible. You look like a washerwoman.” I thought my 80 grit sandpaper gave rather efficient manicures, actually, but there we are.

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      • Washerwoman! My mother would say “Putzfrau.” Same thing. With my mother’s flair for the dramatic, however, it sounds really bad….

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  13. Heyjude says:

    Well worth the wait. I had a fuchsia once in a north facing border that didn’t do much. Eventually I moved it a few feet away and told it that if it didn’t flower soon it would be put on the compost heap. You would not believe the size of that plant within a few years! Gardeners need tough love too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Couldn’t agree more, Jude. Actually I have very tolerance for mollycoddling difficult plants and many simply will not perform here. I adore foxglove, for instance, but it will not grow for me as it has proven repeatedly. And so to the compost it goes. Sometimes a gardener has to be ruthless.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. bkpyett says:

    So true about gardens slowing our pace to a more receptive one. I adore your iris. When I came to this garden, I found the iris were all a deep red-brown colour, not my favourite choice. My neighbour gave me some pretty blue ones, and when dividing them mistakenly gave the blue ones away, so it seems I’m meant to have this colour that I’m beginning to appreciate. I still love the blues and purples though, maybe this year I’ll get some. We have an iris farm not far away.

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    • I wonder if it is the same red-brown iris I have. An acquaintance gave me some from her garden and I was so underwhelmed by the color the first year. But the plant is the most vigorous of all my iris and I’ve grown to rather like it. Oh, I can just imagine how you felt when you realized you gave the blue ones away. I did the same with a glorious pastel spider day lily. Divided it up too often and what was left in my own garden died. When my brown iris blooms, I’ll get you a photo so we can compare.

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  15. I think I was born with a black thumb…and, like a friend of mine used to say, patience is a virtue I don’t have. All the same, you brought home an understanding of a timelessness I could definitely grasp. There are places the evoke this kind of peacefulness for me as well. May your garden be a fruitful one for years to come.

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    • As long as you have a place where you can get off the hamster wheel and decompress, you’ll be okay. Mine is my garden and sometimes even here on WordPress, believe it or not. Black thumb, maybe, but you sure can sling some sonnets!

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  16. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, wow, gorgeous purple! I love this story, Barbara. Something I myself have done (cast-offs growing over the bank at the bus stop). The waiting must have been agonizing, but from the photo, well worth the wait!

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    • Hi Eliza. I also have some daffodils which I dug up from the old plantation house. They are darling little daffies with a wonderful aroma. Isn’t it great to keep these old things going and going….I remember in MA the sides of the roads just covered in orange daylilies. Can you grow those or does Mr. Deer avail himself of your banquet?

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      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, the roads still have the wild ones and our driveway has an edging of orange daylilies that were here when we moved in 25 years ago. Believe it or not, last year was the first time the deer munched the garden. They have usually been content with the woods. Between the deer and the voles, it is a wonder there is anything left in the garden. I’m going to take a page from WG’s book and plant only poisonous plants from now on! 😉

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      • Sounds good to me. In the tug of war over which plant might be my favorite, the iris wins because the deer won’t eat it. Oh, my poor day lilies. I have such beautiful varieties and it’s a race to see whether they bloom before the deer discover the salad bar is open.

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      • Eliza Waters says:

        Ever try an ‘invisible’ fence? You string fishing line about 4′ high from bamboo stakes (Lowe’s has 6′ ones) spaced about 10′ apart around the space you want to protect. They walk up against it and won’t pass. Works well for me. Of course, if they are running, they will just break through. You just have to restring it.

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      • This has just jogged my memory, Eliza. There is an old man here in my county with a daylily farm. Hundreds and hundreds of varieties. That’s what he does!! OK, I’m going to try it. It shouldn’t even be that unsightly. Between that and the deer repellent, I may be able to see a few more blooms this year. I have such beautiful specimens, it kills me to not be able to enjoy all of them. Thank you!

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      • Eliza Waters says:

        You’re welcome. The only thing you can really see are the stakes, but it is a small price to pay. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I dug a sad looking rosebush out of Grandma’s garden before selling her house. She must’ve planted it in the 60’s. It had been neglected many years; I didn’t even know what color it would be. It was a beautiful Peace rose and it flourished in my yard. I always thought Grandma would be so pleased.
    Love those iris.

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    • Oh! I know now that you are a superior person, Susan. It would have been awful to leave that rose behind to the vagaries of some new homeowner. Of course it had to stay in the family and your Grandma would be so pleased. Do you know the wonderful back story of the Peace rose? Now that you’ve reminded me of it, I think I will add one this year to my own garden. Thank you, Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. joannesisco says:

    What a beautiful post … yet one more in your arsenal of beautiful posts.

    My garden is VERY modest, but you’re spot on … time seems to standstill when I sit outside in the backyard. Every picture you’ve ever posted of your gardens is gorgeous. It must be the most amazing refuge ❤

    Like

  19. Jodi says:

    Oh Barbara – I love the romance you have with your gardens! Beautiful post – beautiful irises – beautiful lady 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jodi, the romance wears off in August when the Japanese beetles and the heat have done their thing. I’ll sit on the porch fanning myself and think of spring! Loving your new watercolor passion, Jodi, always good to stretch our wings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi says:

        I hear ya – I always set out in the Spring to have fabulous gardens – well – maybe not at your level 🙂 – but it wanes with the heat. Right now, though, even on my walk at lunch, everything is just POPPING to life! I was snapping pictures with my phone of flowers to paint 🙂 LOL!

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      • My garden club had a speaker last night on photographing flowers. So much to learn to really do that well. As to painting, I wish you could see the current exhibit of floral paintings in Richmond. Extraordinaire! I will probably do a post on my top five if I can figure out which those are. Have a good night!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jodi says:

        Can’t wait!!!

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  20. What wonderful iris, Barbara- one of those much loved antique varieties of wonderous shades of purple. They must have a penetrating aroma, too. A beautiful meditation on time, as well… Nice to hear you also have those books downloaded but as yet, unread. Who has time to read when there’s a garden to tend, anyway?? Giant hugs, WG

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  21. ceci says:

    That red-brown (rust, maybe?) iris is the perfect foil for so many pale clear colors….its the one I miss when it isn’t blooming with the other colors I THINK I like more. Not the color I wanted, but it has come to be indispensable.

    Thanks for sharing the Cemetery Iris story and picture, It would be great with a bright citron or chartreuse, I think. Time to start looking for something along those lines for your husband to dig up!

    Ceci

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    • Aha! I detect the presence of a true gardener here…. I was just thinking yesterday of what color I could plant near the Cemetery Iris to do them proud and had settled on yellow. Your idea of chartreuse is even better. OK, here’s the thing. They’re blooming now, a few weeks ahead of all my other iris, so I don’t think sticking a yellow iris in nearby will work. And we want these two colors to be in bloom simultaneously, right? Any thoughts on what might work nicely? It’s a hot and sunny spot most of the growing season. I couldn’t agree more about the rusty iris. On its own? Meh. But as you observe, it is such a terrific companion plant. Thanks for visiting, I appreciate your input.

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      • ceci says:

        how about celendine poppies or marsh marigolds? Vivid vivid yellows rather than chartreuse…..a tough color this time of year! Maybe a background chartreuse barberry? I’m not crazy about the thorns, tho….this will take more thought!

        ceci

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      • Your mention of chartreuse barberry has given me the idea of the chartreuse spirea….what is it “gold mound?”, I can’t remember. But it leafs out right now which means it would be gorgeous when this iris is in full bloom. I’m not crazy about the barberry thorns either, but it might serve to keep the deer away. Either one would do well actually in the intense heat and sun of that particular area. Great idea and thank you.

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  22. Lovely sentiments, Barb. And, oh, so true 🙂 My…weren’t those Iris worth waiting for!

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  23. dorannrule says:

    Those iris were just waiting for the perfect home – and found it. I love your beautiful idea that gardening is therapeutic but I usually wind up hot, sweaty, bitten by unknown critters, dirty, stiff and achy! There are those of us who are born to love and nurture the earth, and others who are born to venture outside in time to admire their fabulous results. 🙂

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    • The description of your condition at the end of a day outside describes a perfect day of gardening. I am finding it harder to get up from the deep knee bends, so I play this little mental game that I’m at the gym and actually paying for the privilege of torturing my body. Seems to help!!

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  24. purpleviolas says:

    Yes A garden is a very special and happy place. Thanks for the reminder to take time out in the garden

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  25. Thom Hickey says:

    Well, it was worth the wait! Both for the glory of nature’s display and the lesson in patience. Keep planting and tending! Regards thom

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  26. Beautiful flowers, such a gorgeous deep colour. One of the flowers I’ve always loved, so elegant, but never grown. And with so little space now, my heart is really taken by my veg. With a few flowers around the edge.

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    • Hi Kate, long time no see. I must pop over soon to see what you’ve been up to. Yeah, with limited space and your climate, I can understand cultivating vegetables. I assume there are pots of herbs everywhere thriving in that wonderful sun of yours?

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  27. Sue Mayo says:

    Patience is a virtue my dear. The beauty of these flowers was worth the wait.

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  28. Beautiful irises. Spring bulbs are my favorite flowers. They bring freshness and joy.

    The voles (at least my neighbor thinks its the voles) have decided to rearrange my flowers this year. They moved all the bulbs around during the winter, so that tulips and irises are blooming in the oddest places — definitely not where I planted them (and why is it that the ones that they moved have bloomed and the ones that I planted have not, yet?). I’m not yet sure whether I’ll just let them be — in the middle of an expanse of grass, on the edge of my bed of day lilies — or try to move them. There may be something charmingly wonky about the misplaced flowers. Or at least I’m trying to convince myself of that, so that I won’t have to do anything with them (I am not a gardener).

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    • I don’t think voles are the culprits, my vote is for squirrels. At least in my garden, voles are Public Enemy #2, right after deer. They are voracious devourers of plants, typically destroying from underneath. Squirrels love to dig things up and move them about and I absolutely love the serendipity of where the new plants end up. Right now, I have a clump of tulips emerging from a big lamb’s ear. I did not plant them there but the effect is rather that of a bouquet. Thank you, Rocky!!

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  29. KerryCan says:

    This is just a joy to read, Barbara. I think that rewards deferred and anticipated end up making us so much happier and a garden is always going to make us wait and give us pleasure when it’s ready. But I also love your last point about leaving traces of ourselves behind. Sometimes, when I’m rambling around an area that seems untouched by humans, I come across day lilies or a lilac bush and realize someone lived there!

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    • Good morning, Kerry. I’ve had that same experience of finding a forlorn viburnum or rose bush struggling to survive where once there must have been a house. The urge to dig out is irresistible, isn’t it?

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  30. They are a beautiful “pride of iris”(I have never heard that and must tell CH)… my favorite color. My Grandad called them flags. Our iris aren’t even close yet… patience. They are my favorite flowers coming in at a tie with peonies. Good Morning Babara!

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  31. I’ve never thought of that before, that by gardening, we leave a trace of ourselves. That’s a lovely thought.

    As for the word “flags,” Laura Ingalls Wilder references blue flags in her writing.

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    • You know, Audrey, if nothing else would keep me interested in blogging, it’s little morsels of information like that you’ve just provided about LIW which would do the trick. Thank you!

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      • You are welcome. Laura practically lived in my backyard, you know, given Vesta is near Walnut Grove. Did you visit the dug-out site when you lived in Marshall? I can’t recall if Laura was even promoted then in Walnut Grove.

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      • No, I had no idea that anything remotely attached to LIW was nearby. So much for the observational skills of my fifteen-year old self. I would be fascinated by the dug-out site. I hope to go back to Minnesota someday and visit the cemetery where my family is buried and visit some of my extended family there. There are lots of them – cousins and second-cousins whom I hardly know at all.

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  32. Barbara Stevens says:

    What a heart lifting color those irises are! My Scottish father had a lovely garden and a saying when asked where he got a particular plant…”I got it where it grew…and it’s no there noo.”
    If you looked in my glovebox you would find a garden trowel and scissors. Like father, like daughter. Love to see your gorgeous garden waking up.

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  33. Amen, Barbara! The real sense of time that gardening has is one of the things I enjoy most about it. I especially love planting trees for the long view.

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    • Planting a tree is the perfect example of the long view in life. I imagine that myself while I’m enjoying the pecans and walnuts around here. I imagine it’s possible that some of the big oaks might have been deliberately planted too as they seem to be in a line in one area of the yard. Anyway, here’s a poem about planting trees which, while schmaltzy, does touch on the truth of it all.
      http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/heart-tree

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  34. Parnassus says:

    Hello Barbara, From now on I will be sure to take a spade with me when exploring old cemeteries–I am sure that there is no way this could possibly be misconstrued.

    Actually, I sometimes wish I had a garden and orchard so that I could rescue interesting, desirable or old-fashioned plants, especially from places that are about to be destroyed or developed. I used to belong to an organization called NAFEX (North American Fruit Explorers), whose members did just that, at least for fruit trees.
    –Jim

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim!!! You have no idea how loud I have just cackled. But Max did pick up his head with that “Really, Mom? Can you keep it down while I’m having my morning siesta?” I can’t even think about the rest of your comment right now as I envision the hapless gardener surrounded by flashing blue lights…..

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  35. Grace says:

    Such a lovely post, Barbara, the theme of patience is one I have been thinking about over the past few days. It is so true, your comment on the iris still blooming long after you’re gone. We inherited a patch of tiger lilies and iris when we bought our newly renovated barn 12 years ago. I don’t know who initially planted them although I have heard from a few people that an artist lived in a section of the barn that was a makeshift apartment for a number of years. Apparently she was a recluse, so not much is known about her. I am also surprised each spring by patches of daffodils popping up in unusual places, making me wonder if the land surrounding our house was once extensively gardened.

    I kept the tiger lilies and iris because I love connecting my present to another’s past.

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    • The surprising appearance of these old plants is a link to our past and, I suppose, a bridge to the future too. Daffodils seem to be the most mobile of the surprise plants. I guess it’s squirrels that move them about although they don’t eat them, so who knows, but I have them all over too. The woods in front of my house are just filled with random clumps of daffodils which somebody must have started years ago. My middle sister was here over Easter and I sent her home with a carload of plants. It makes me happy to envision them thriving in her Pennsylvania home. Thank you, Grace.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. I have some peonies that are still thinking about it, several years after planting and a wisteria that has been in for 20 years, and still nary a bud (I don’t think it ever will flower, as it is short of light). I somehow don’t mind waiting.

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    • You must have the true heart of the gardener then, Hilary, a patient one. Are the peonies relatively recently planted? And yes, the wisteria is probably in need of a lot more sun. I have a new variety in my garden, smaller and less invasive, called “Amethyst Falls.” So far, so good on that one.

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  37. Outlier Babe says:

    Irises are one of my favorites, and these are wonderful. I have never been a gardener, but miss having a house, nonetheless, for the black-thumb plants I did grow, which were all in the color family of your iris. : )

    I belong to the botanical gardens here, and get my fix by visiting them and burying my nose deep until I embarrass myself looking like a curried-cocaine addict. Some of the irises have a wonderful aroma!

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    • We have a wonderful botanical garden here in Richmond, Babe, really first-class. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. If you ever visit here, there is probably reciprocity and you could bury your nose deep into Southern stuff. You’re right about the aroma of the irises. There’s an old-fashioned white one that I had to move out of the immediate vicinity of my garden because it was actually overpowering. I’m funny about perfumes and scented candles – many really bother me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Outlier Babe says:

        Twins again, Barbara : ) My friend A. (Yup–that one.) says I have the best sniffer she nose.
        😉
        Some southern locales feel deadly: I enjoy the smell of night jasmine, but cannot take it up close, or for long. When I am migraine-prone, strong even otherwise pleasant scents can bring one on. OTOH, I only very rarely get to smell wisteria out here, and that is surely a heavenly smell!

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      • We were in a restaurant recently where a waiter, not ours, thank God, was so heavily doused in a spicy cologne that I was gagging! I could feel it in my throat. GROSS. Do these people not have partners to inform them of the stench? Or maybe they have nose fatigue and just don’t smell it anymore. BH can’t stand heavy perfumes and I am limited as to what I can wear that doesn’t really bother him. A light spritz of a good perfume is about all he can take. And no scented candles in my house or potpourri or anything like that. Just Eau de Westie!

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      • Outlier Babe says:

        I have had to back away and choose alternate cashier lines, and once, when no other teller was available, let the single teller know from a distance that I needed someone else to wait on me–for I could not dare approach her without risking an incapacitating headache.

        People who do this think they smell marvelous. (Some do not clean themselves often enough, and admit they use perfume to mask their odors. Did you see that news item? About how nasty many people are today? No wonder head lice run rampant.)

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      • No! I missed that story, Babe, thank heavens. I was just listening to a story about head lice yesterday of all things! Fun wartime memories of my mother’s. Always a laugh a minute! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Outlier Babe says:

        This is from the UK, mind you, but do you think it is any better here?:
        “And a shocking one in three have gone as long as three days without washing or wiping their face or body at all.” (Reference)

        I had asked a fellow teacher about this when I observed how filthy my students were–their hair in particular–thinking that perhaps their crowded living conditions meant many had no easy access to showers or sinks for washing. This teacher knew the neighborhood culture and conditions. She answered “No–they’re just very lazy and dirty.”

        Don’t need wartime for lice stories. When one of our vehicles kept breaking down, I rode the bus a lot to work. Sat behind women with lice visibly crawling through their hair. Didn’t seem to bother them. Ugh!

        Like

      • Oh. My. God. My mother was telling how they raided the GI trash after the war for their thrown away toothpaste because they didn’t have any! We take so much for granted.

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Behind the Story says:

    What a marvelous post! And what beautiful irises! The quote from Beverley Nichols about the tyranny of speed was perfect.

    It’s too bad, but even though I love other people’s gardens, I’ve never been much of a gardener myself. I remember my mom talking about having to go out and do some weeding as though it were just another task to fit in. Maybe that got me off on the wrong foot.

    When we lived in Vanuatu, my husband’s health was bad and his work was stressful. He found relaxation after work in his garden, a large, well-kept vegetable garden.

    Like

    • It IS a lot, Nicki, there’s no denying it. My mother was never a gardener either although now she enjoys doing lovely little container plantings on her balcony. That’s the thing, I think, that distinguishes a gardener from the rest. We are happy to get out and weed and rake and whatever. It’s all part of gardening. And yes, I can imagine your husband finding his vegetable garden immensely therapeutic. I know I do.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. ritaroberts says:

    As always a wonderful post Barbara. Those Iris’s are gorgeous. I think gardening is about the most rewarding thing to do even though one has to be very patient, which according to my other half says I am not ,he says I want instant plants. I can’t wait for the first spring flowers, and the buds on the trees to appear. But oh !! the back ache when so much attention is needed to keep the garden looking lovely..I like to kid myself its a healthy backache though..

    Like

    • Rita, the first few days back in the garden reduces me to “land crab” status. I can hardly get out of bed the next morning. Gradually our bodies adjust though, don’t they? I always say who needs a gym when they have a garden? And thank you!

      Like

  40. An old song said to “enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”. That would mean to slow down I imagine. Relax and enjoy it.
    With your lovely old house in the background, I think an appropriate name for the iris might be “Legacy”, knowing that it will be there in all it’s purple beauty for generations yet to come.

    Like

  41. singhcircle says:

    Wildlife, nature, greens, birds, animals. A perfect concoction to healthy living. Lovely pictures!

    Like

  42. The need for speed. The old saw: “Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down” certainly could amended to … a beautiful garden will make you want to stop and smell the purple irises. Oh, they are beautiful, Barbara. My Mom loved irises. She would have loved these. 😉

    Like

  43. Those are gorgeous (in your already beautiful garden sanctuary)! Definitely worth the wait.:)
    P.S., I think you should buy BH a tool belt with a hand trowel and other necessary items in it for the next time you get him on a walk. 😉

    Like

  44. markbialczak says:

    What a fantastic lesson you were taught, and then passed on, by your proud pride of Iris, Barbra, blooming when they were good and ready. BH’s ingenious digging is dug by me, by the way. 😉

    Like

  45. shoreacres says:

    I ought to make a run out to our local nature preserve and see if the wild irises (flags, we call them) have come or gone — or are yet to come. I suspect I’m late. It’s just been one of those springs, with this and that impinging everywhere I turn. In any event, the wild ones here and in Louisiana (their state flower!) are simply gorgeous.

    When I was writing a historical post related to Texas, and learned that a certain early settler was buried by a so-called “flag pond,” I had no idea what I was looking for. That’s when I learned that I should be looking for wild iris.

    As for slowing down: of course. All the recent talk about artificial intelligence, prolonging life for hundreds of years, replacing parts with machinery and implanting us all with efficiency-increasing gadgets is repulsive to me. I have no desire to be a machine; I much prefer being human. And, as a matter of fact, part of the arc of human life includes the same arc that animates your garden: from birth, through life, to death. It doesn’t matter a bit to me. As long as I outlive Dixie Rose, I’m good. 🙂

    Like

    • I have some Louisiana iris which bloom after all the others are gone. It’s quite lovely in a deep grape-y violet actually. Through this post I heard from so many Midwesterners about the term “flag.” Had never, ever heard it used for iris These little regionalisms are charming in the extreme.

      Like

    • AS to the last part of your comment, I couldn’t agree more. Your observation about the garden is spot-on and has taught me, among many other things, not to fear the cycle of life.

      Like

  46. reocochran says:

    Just stopping by and saying your garden and your dog, always brightens my day. So glad you are here, will come back tomorrow. Smiles and hugs, Robin

    Like

  47. Joanne Butler says:

    I have been very lax in regards to keeping up with your blog and I do apoligize my dear friend. So happy that I took time today to read this chapter! This particular iris looks to have been worth the wait, and I am sure any gardener would be thrilled to see it bloom. Patience is indeed a virtue! I too am waiting for a very special blossom and it will be a joyful day when it appears. Happy gardening Barb!
    Love, Joanne

    Like

    • Hi Joanne, home after our trip up “north” and finally have a chance to get to my blog comments. I’m so glad you have some of this. I like my babies to go to good homes and I know you’ll give it one. And vice-versa. XXX

      Like

  48. Lola says:

    Wow… that’s cool! It’s the same withme, except it’s photography, not gardening, though I do both.

    Like

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