Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Surprise Gifts!

Frank and I had the pleasure of driving down the coast of Maine last September, just cruising around, meandering through antique shops, garden centers and such on the way to my parents' house on the coast of NH.....those of you who are Yankees know that one always goes "down Maine," even though it's north of NH. Since the concept of swimming in the ocean in Maine is pretty ridiculous even in August, one might just as well visit when the foliage is at its peak and the kids are back in school.

While we were at my parents' house, my dad (the consummate Yankee gardener) asked if I wanted some "fancy irises" he had gotten from the guy up the street. You have to know that my father has never purchased a plant in his life (he has a large garden, but if it didn't come from a seed or bulb, it was a passalong), and anyone within a 25-mile radius of their house is "up the street." As a result, I have no idea where said irises came from.

While we were walking around to different beds in his garden, he related that the mystery man is an iris hybridizer, and that they are really beautiful flowers, but that he didn't mark any of them, so he doesn't know their names.......go figure! That will explain why I now have four different groups of iris in my own garden, marked, "Dad's Brown(?), Dad's White (?), Dad's Probably Blue (?), and Dad's Maybe Yellow (?)" .....Patti has a group in her own garden marked "Tim's Dad's Mystery Iris."

The only one getting ready to bloom is "Probably Blue," and it does appear to be a blue of some sort. In the "Dad's White" set, though, there was the most delightful surprise! In my father's usual way of planting things on top of one another, he managed to dig up both the iris rhizome and a big bunch of lilies of the valley, which were dormant in September in NH.

For those of you in the north, this is not a big deal, but for those of you in the south, you know it's about as big as having a real lilac blooming in your garden (not one of those "Miss Kim" pseudo-lilacs).

I know they won't live through the heat of an Atlanta summer, and I know they'll be up and gone within a week or so here, but for now, it's a pretty awesome thing to walk in my garden and find lilies of the valley growing in and amongst the mystery iris!
(This is a treasured photo of my father, participating in his favorite sporting event, with teammates Ben & Jerry)

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