It’s hard for me to see someone’s pretty flowers and not think of my mother. She loved growing and nurturing her beautiful flowers.
After relocating to Missouri back in the mid 80s and buying a home in Hannibal, my mother asked if we would like to have some of her iris bulbs to plant around our homestead. My wife, Nancy, accepted mom’s offer and planted them in a small area on the south side of our home.
We have not always had the best of luck with flowers. One year I helped Nancy plant 100 tulip bulbs, and not a one of the rascals came up the next April. But each spring we’ve been able to count on the iris to come out of the ground and bloom in an assortment of colors.
Since my mom passed away a few years ago, the annual rainbow of color has been a subtle reminder of my mom, especially around Mother’s Day.
As anyone familiar with iris knows, they are prone to spreading. And that’s exactly what our iris have done.
I don’t know how many iris my mother gave us initially, but they have pushed east along the edge of the house. Neither downspouts or large boulders could keep the determined iris from expanding their territory.
A few weeks ago, with the replacement of the facing on our front porch looming, Nancy suggested that the time had come for us to do something with some of the plants, as they were smack dab in the area where work would be taking place.
To an extent, I had mixed emotions about giving away something my mother had shared with us. But I also recognized that they either had to be thinned, or they would be trampled during work on the porch.
Nancy and I both agreed that the iris should not be pulled out of the ground and discarded. Consequently, we set out to find people who would like to plant them at their home to enjoy in years to come.
Mary Lou Montgomery, who has a deep affection for flowers, jumped at the offer to take home some of the flowers. The fact that they’d been given to us by my mom gave the iris a historical edge, which made them even more appealing to her.
As I set about digging the iris out of the ground, I quickly came to realize they don’t need a lot of dirt with which to work. In some spots, they seemingly were coming out of rocks. At least once, as I tried to dig out the bulbs, I lost my balance on the uneven stones and wound up in a sitting position. Fortunately no harm was done to the iris or my keester.
Page 2 of 2 - After Mary Lou had all she wanted, Nancy and I bagged up more iris for one of Nancy’s friends, Lorri Grimes, who was eager to plant something that will hopefully provide an annual splash of spring color around her home.
With still more flowers needing a new residence, Nancy loaded some plants into a bag, put them in the trunk of our Buick and hauled them up Levering Avenue to the Hannibal Evangelical Free Church, where lots of people were attending a Scriptorium.
Attached to the bag of flowers was a simple, hand-written note: Free to a good home.
In the future, I’d like to share even more of the iris. My son, Jacob and his wife, Whitney, are in the process of buying their first home. I’m hopeful that after they get settled in they will want some of my mom’s iris which will provide Jacob with an annual reminder of his Grandma Henley.