Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I is for Iris

is for Iris

In Greek mythology, Iris is the goddess 

of the rainbow and messenger of the gods.

In classical legends she traveled the rainbow down to

earth to deliver messages from the gods.

There is a tradition in Greece to plant purple iris

on the graves of women to summon the goddess to

guide the soul of the deceased individual to her heavenly home.

Irises, popular garden flowers,

take their name from this Greek goddess

because of the variety of colors

found within the species.

In Victorian times, an Iris meant

"I have a message for you."

The fleur-de-lys, modeled in the shape of an iris,

 and used by the kings of France as their royal emblem,

has been a symbol of France for centuries.

Digital Image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program

Irises, by Van Gogh, was painted in

1889 while at the asylum in Saint-Rémy, France.

One of the first paintings Van Gogh painted

while a patient there, his brother, Theo, immediately 

recognized its quality and submitted it to the

Salon des Indépendants in September 1889.

Today this painting is in the permanent collection of the 

J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

Iris are perennials

that grow from rhizomes.

My iris are mostly "pass along plants" from friends.

I grew up in a family of gardeners,

and it was common practice with my mother

and aunts and their mother before them to divide plants

growing in their gardens and share them with friends

and family who then planted them in their own gardens.

I rather like the tradition!

Beautiful as they are, 

cut iris only last a couple of days.

I usually just enjoy 

them blooming in my garden.

One of my readers, 

wrote to tell me that 

she has these wonderful "pass along" iris 

from her grandmother's garden.

How special is that?

Thanks, Gina, for sharing this beautiful heirloom with us.