First Blooms

The first spring blooms have blossomed.  I’ve watched my irises, recognizing that the burst of color was imminent, and here it is.

Dotted with last night’s raindrops, the unknown variety has graced my garden for years.  I’ve researched this lovely, mostly by photos, and have found several species that are similar to what I grow, but I haven’t ever committed to anointing this iris by name.  Weirdly, I look far and wide when I’m identifying native plants and have, on occasion, spent hours scrolling through photos and descriptions in attempts to identify an unrecognized plant.  Yet with the iris plants, I’m content to simply enjoy the beauty of this non-native, without need for a definitive name.

It’s really a misnomer that the irises abloom today are the “first” blooms, since there are several perennials that have bloomed all winter.  But irises are quintessential spring flowers and I think it’s fair to allow them the title of number one–just because.


The true surprise this morning was the first open poppy of spring 2020.

I’d seen the buds, but guessed one or another would open later in the week.  A German friend gave me seeds many years ago;  I sowed those seeds and 20 years later, reap the benefits of their beauty and pollinator activity.   I collect seeds from each crop in late spring, sprinkle those seeds in autumn, and enjoy the bounty in March and April.

The poppies, or at least these firsts, are early.

Honeybees love these flowers, though none were up this morning to work in this first bloom’s offerings. I imagine bees will visit as the sun appears and day progresses.

Honeybees–like the garden–are ramping up for the growing season.

Just Because They’re Pretty

It’s spring and a luscious one at that.  My garden is benefitting  from just the right amount of rainfall and at the right times–the rain is lending its bounty to a glorious spring show for urban gardens in Austin and I’m enjoying the results of that rainfall. Most spring-flowering perennials and bulbs are at their peak of beauty, including the many iris varieties growing in Austin gardens.

I inherited several varieties of irises when I moved to my home many years ago and they are bling for the spring garden. This iris,


…is always the first to bloom and multiplies most

It’s a common iris in Austin–I see it everywhere.  And why not?  It’s tough and hardy and who doesn’t want something like that gracing their garden space?

Here it is dancing with other spring bloomers like Columbines, Aquilegia and Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera. Also in the photo are the not-yet-in-bloom  orange daylily and Yarrow, Achillea, with a backdrop of Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra

I don’t know the name of this iris or the other iris varieties in my gardens. I have researched information in an attempt to learn the iris names, leafing through books and scrolling online, but there are so many iris varieties and just similar looking enough to one another, that I gave up exact identifications.  While I like to know the names of the plants in my gardens, I’m not an expert at iris identification–that’s a study unto itself and not a body of knowledge I can lay claim to.  I content myself with simply enjoying these garden gifts:  I anticipate and revel in stunning iris flowers  each spring, appreciate their hardiness during our hot summers, and value their evergreen habit in winter.

This lovely creamy yellow iris was given to me by a long-time volunteer, an  iris aficionado, at Zilker Botanical Gardens when I was employed there a few years back.

I dutifully wrote the name down, then promptly misplaced that piece of paper. With disorganization of method and haste in planting, I flubbed a chance to actually know  the name of an iris. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful addition to my early spring garden because all three of my original irises are purples and lavender, so I like having something different to pop the iris palette.

This yellow beauty is a show stopper of an iris.

Shoshana’s Iris is also in rich flowering-mode this spring. That’s not an formal name, but instead, penned by Pam of Digging, after I passed along some bulbs to her when she lived in the neighborhood long ago.

IMGP6996.newPam calls it ‘Shoshana’s Iris’ after my daughter, Shoshana, who died suddenly in 2006.

It is a touching homage to a beautiful girl.

On a recent walk, I noticed that a long-time resident of the neighborhood, one street from me, currently has the same iris blooming and I’ve never seen it in her garden before.  Did she gift the iris to the former owners of my house?  Or, was it the other way around?  Does she know the name of the iris?  I plan to ask her.

In the end I’m not sure it matters whether I know the exact name or not, or where this iris came from.  I love the color, form, and fragrance of this sometimes persnickety bloomer and am glad to grow it in my gardens and to share it when I separate the bulbs.

More iris blossoms will open in the next few weeks and I’ll treasure each during their fleeting appearance in my Texas garden.