Friday, May 25, 2018

Iris, the Perfect Pass Along Plant

My friends are hosting their monthly Garden Party.
This post is a reprise from one shared in 2015.
Do you grow iris in your garden.
I'd love to know your favorite varieties.

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.

Thanks to our garden hosts.  Stop by to visit their links below.
Home and Gardening with Liz ~ Life and Linda  
Poofing the Pillows


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah,
    What a beautiful post on the colorful, delightful smelling and elegant Iris. I so enjoyed the history about this tender Spring bloom. They are one of my favorite Spring blossoms and bring back glorious memories of Spring in Idaho with my parents.
    Thank you for sharing your garden joys with us!

  2. Oh my goodness Sarah, your iris are so beautiful. Regal looking. Sharing the history is priceless. I never tire at looking at beautiful gardens. So much beauty to enjoy. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blooms with us. Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend.

  3. I'm a big fan of iris - beautiful photos of your gorgeous garden. Living in central Florida, I can't grow bearded iris - it's too hot. I have a Japanese iris and it needs part shade here. Visiting from May Garden Party

  4. Sarah, there's nothing more old fashioned and pretty than irises. Yours are beautiful! I especially love the Siberian iris but have never actually had any. Better add to my list or find a friend who will pass along some beauty! :)

  5. I enjoyed reading this- and your pictures are beautiful. I have some purple iris that were shared with me a long time ago. It’s always nice to remember where they came from. Thank you for joining the Garden Party and sharing the links of all the hosts! Wishing you a wonderful holiday weekend!

  6. Loved seeing your iris post again. My mother's driveway was lined with purple iris and yellow day lilies. Your post reminded me of her love of iris and her green thumb growing them.

  7. Sarah, what gorgeous irises! I always think of my grandmother when I see irises. She had so many different varieties. I so wish that I had some from her lovely gardens I remember from childhood. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

  8. Your Iris are simply stunning Sarah! I so enjoyed reading about their history and legends. The pass along plants are such special gifts to be treasured for years!

  9. Sarah, I love your irises, all of them. Last year was my first year of having a bi-color bloom like yours, but not this year. Mine are just now on the withering end, and I need desperately to divide and transplant, and pass along a few of mine too. All of mine are pass alongs from a friend, and they were all part of her mother's and grandmother's gardens. I love the tradition!

  10. Your post brought back fond memories of my father who was quite a gardener. He grew many irises, and had a network of friends who gardened. They shared many plants in the manner you describe. Daddy grew many varieties of irises, and I have left them along the way in my various homes as I moved house along my journey. My sister's name was Iris, and I never realized it's meaning, so you taught me something new.

  11. Sarah,
    One of my aunts was named Iris, and she loved to garden. I have a large colony of white irises that was begun from pass-along plants. Every year when they bloom I remember the dear friend who shared them.
    Your plants and photos are beautiful.


  12. Several of my iris are "pass along plants" from friends. We have iris at home and at the camp. You saw how much snow we had at camp this winter, and boy are my iris such troopers!

  13. I sadly don't have any irises is my garden, Sarah, but I enjoyed seeing yours!! Happy Memorial Day to you!

  14. Sarah, your Iris are gorgeous! You know that I love them as well. All but one of mine have been gifted to me as well. My light purple ones were from my mothers garden. Thanks for sharing with the Garden Party.

  15. Such a lovely post with interesting iris stories Sarah. I don't have any in my garden however one of my neighbors said he will pass along some of his when he divides them later this year - they are purple so will look great in my little corner of North Carolina heaven!!!!!
    Meanwhile my blue hydrangeas, cut down last Fall for the house painting etc. have grown tall again - but few blooms this year, hopefully next - and the gardenia I planted is already covered in white blooms and looks pretty. Rabbits with their babies are doing some nibbling, as rabbits do, and the voles are driving us crazy under the lawn. Lots of birds nesting and singing so, despite awful weather this May, and more rain coming for the entire week ahead, life is good in the garden.

    Hope you and M enjoy your Memorial Day holiday - hugs, Mary

  16. I never knew about the purple irises in Greece but I LOVE that! They are a true favorite of mine.

  17. They are very beautiful and remind me of my childhood too. We would go to old home places that were abandoned and dig the bulbs on a country drive. I love all of the variations! Enjoy your afternoon sweet lady!

  18. What a great selection of irises you have. Gorgeous colours. I have a few Siberian Irises, but I pulled out many of the common ones whose name I don't know. They didn't stand well and looked so ragged. I dug them up a couple of years ago, but there are still bits in the ground because they come up here and there every year, but I yank them out before they get very far.
    They are long lasting!

  19. Luv your beautiful furling irises. Thanks for the Van Gogh i pinned it. Have a nice week

    much love...

  20. OH...!Your iris are so beautiful! I love to see some irises with drops and some beautifully get sunlight.It is hard to choose the best for me!
    Happy Garden Party,Sarah!

  21. What a wonderful and romantic history behind the beautiful iris! Passing along plants is one sure way to keep tradition, it also helps spread the species out to other areas.

    I just took a picture of some yellow iris' here that my husband planted for me years ago. They are much like yours in the first photo of your yellows ones.

    Sending warm (or should I say cool?) wishes your way!


  22. Sarah, thank you for sharing your beautiful irises at Vintage Charm!

  23. Irises are one of my favorites. They remind me of my aunt. SO very beautiful!


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