Iris are a big tradition for the women of the Dotter/Melton family. (I am, for reference purposes, Dr. Dotter's daughter's daughter). I can remember my Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mom, and Aunt's houses surrounded by Iris and the sent of them wafting through the houses as a few that were too heavy for the stalks or too pretty to miss during the day came inside.
My Aunt, Mom, and Grandpa Dotter now curate the family collection. This weekend at the farm, I watched them wander my Mom's gardens noting which colors she had, which ones they wanted in their own yards, and which ones they would bring to her to add to her gardens in the fall. As usual, I am fairly sure my Aunt Ann managed to leave with a few roots of something in her bag before returning to PA, even though it isn't time to dig up the Iris yet.
As each of my cousins and I have grown up and moved out on our own there has come a time when we are given our own Iris for our own yards. Not everyone is to that stage yet, but many of us are. Usually, my Mom or Aunt Ann will arrive with some when we have our own home and are somewhat settled. I've seen my Aunt carry many a bag of Iris from my Grandparents' garden onto an airplane to add to her own collection or that of her daughters. Some Iris are usually left as we each migrate on to the next home, but sometimes they come too.
Only when I arrived back in Oklahoma in 2008 did I really feel like I was ready for my share of the family Iris legacy. My Mom brought just a few bulbs for my front garden here. Now, four years later, the flowering stalks are nearly 5 feet tall and bursting with white blooms. This week is full of stormy weather in Oklahoma so a few have bent over and had to come inside. Now my house, inside and out, smells like Iris too, just like all those other women that raised and nurtured me. I hope my children learn to recognize this smell too and associate it with family and our love for each other.
Now my own beds are growing full of bulbs that threaten to take over and it is almost time for me to share some of mine back to the family gardens or to a friend that would like some. I love that this little bit of my family is spread across the country from coast to coast with us and into the homes and lives of our children and friends. May your spring be blessed with family, fragrant flowers, and love, just like mine is.
(NOTE: Let me know in the fall if you want some Iris as I'll be separating mine then. Also, it is the 12th so this is one picture from my 12 on the 12th series that should post later today. Want to join in the fun? Pick up your phone or camera and click away, then share with us later today or later this week. I'd love to see what you capture!)