For years on my birthday a package arrived,
Two or three heirloom iris bulbs selected
After pouring over catalogs during summer
When I’d visit my gardening friend
An autumn birthday is a perfect time
For planting bulbs for summer
An exercise in patience
For both me and the bulbs
Just as lilac purple is spent
Iris petals peek out of buds
Each year multiplying like a spreading joy
After winter’s work in secret
The blooms open up in praise
For their brief time each early spring
Reminding me to embrace the impermanent
Such as iris blooms and my life.
One of my sisters-in-law sent me prize iris bulbs each year for my birthday. They were so hearty that after a few years, my gardens were bursting with irises. I have moved some to other places throughout my yard and given hundreds of bulbs to friends and neighbors. Still year after year in late spring I walk through the gardens each day to see which variety is in bloom, which buds are bursting. This morning I looked out to see two had bloomed that had not yet bloomed last night. I am amazed they could open in the night.
This series of photos was taken of one iris blooming over a 24 hour period. The final photo is of an iris garden from last year when most were in full bloom.