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Everlasting Iris

Bearded Iris are easy to forget about until RIGHT NOW! Their simple foliage blends into the

Iris sprouts among the post-fire wreckage

background until late May when they put on a show. I'd never really given Irises much attention until their resilience caught my eye.

It was Veteran's Day 2021 and my family and I were at the parade in Greenville. The Dixie Fire was fresh and raw, everything blackened, and crumbling buildings at every corner. I felt so heavy until I spotted some tiny sprouts on a burned property. These little rays of hope were Irises. I knew the owner of the property so I reached out to her and she invited me to come and salvage any Iris corms that I could. Shortly after that conversation, she passed away, making those surviving Irises even more precious. This is the first season that those salvaged Irises have bloomed. I am humbled by the fragility of life and the way that fire leveled parts of our community. I am strengthened by the fact that bits of beauty live on and we create new, beautiful things out of the ashes of the old ones. When I say everlasting Iries, this is what I mean, these plants lend themselves to sharing and preserving.

One of the Irises rescued after the Dixie Fire

Their corms are easily divided and shared in the Fall (I'll write a post about that in a few months!). These beauties are also deer resistant, and they thrive in our climate.

I've heard from a few people that they don't make good cut flowers, because of their short vase life. This is all a matter of harvest stage. If they are harvested when open, they wilt almost immediately in a vase. If they're harvested when they are closed and tight at "pencil stage" each bloom lasts for 3-4 days. As the bloom fades you can snap it off and the subsequent buds on the stem will open! I am coming to love them as a cut flower because they keep on giving! Watch the video below for a little demonstration of snapping off the spent blooms.

Irises glittery petals and array of colors has won my heart. I am already hatching new colors with lots of ruffles to add to our array. In the coming weeks if you see pencils of dark buds in our bouquets, know that they will unfurl into into Irises and now you know how to make the most out of them!

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