The beauty of Irises in London & Tenessee

The beauty of Irises in London & Tenessee
We don't get Irises commonly in Bangalore unless someone grows them in particularly careful conditions. All I remember was a common purple variety which Dad had brought from Shillong, in the North East of India which is considered the Scotland of the East. But we lost the plant in the shift we made of our home.

Visiting my sons in the UK and US my love for the flower has blossomed. Irises grow well in the UK and infact I could not believe my eyes when I saw them grow wild along the banks of the river Wei in Woking. Beautiful big yellow Irises which lined the banks of the river and there were a few mauve ones as well. The locals call them orchids for some reason and with the wild baby pink balsam and the white daisies the sight made my walk absolutely a delight.

I was told wild flowers in the UK are protected and we could not help ourselves to any and bring them home to plant in the garden. The only Irises we could get were a bag of 60 Dutch Irises from the garden centre, which were quite different from the wild ones. However, walking home one day from the supermarket I found an Iris which probably was a garden escapee growing out of the flagstones of the pavement. I brought it home and it grew well but for two years just grew and died down in winter.

This year it popped up in the Spring and six young plants grew up alongside the larger original plant and in a few weeks a mass of yellow Irises bloomed have appeared. Like a ginger, an Iris grows from a Rhizome so obviously for a year it industriously grew and multiplied underground before it bloomed this year. The Dutch Irises have bloomed too, but they are a more sedate and perfect flower from these.

In the US where my Doc son Andrew lives, the Iris is the state flower and huge Iris flower shows are held every year in the Spring. It is so heart -warming to see the flowers which grow in a clump infront of every home in Knoxville. They could be purple or mauve, yellow or a pure white, but the best of all are the bearded Iris which look magnificent as they are always a double colour. I particularly love the yellow and rust bearded Iris. The flower is large and they last for a really long time.

The other flower which grows across Knoxville is a tall and thick Rose shrub called Knockout. The common colour everywhere in the state is pink, but the last time I visited there were stunning yellow Knock Out shrubs in the garden centre which Andrew definitely needs to bring home!

Coming from the tropics where plants grow and flower all the year round, it is a big learning experience for all of us to be educated about the Annuals and perennial plants that grow in the west.





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