Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Lake Irises

Lake Irises blooming beside our storage shed in
Rapid City, June 2001.
The Lake Irises are blooming in my daughter's flower bed. They are a lovely lavender/purple color with a deliciously sweet scent.

I do not know what the real name of this iris variety is; in our family they will always be known as the Lake Irises. Therein is a little story.

My husband, Jerry, and son, Jeremy, were always avid fishermen. When we lived in southwestern Colorado they just had to walk a couple of blocks to be at the Pine River. It was a great place for Jerry to unwind after work, and he caught a lot of our suppers there. Jeremy fished with his dad from the time he was just a little guy, and cleaned his own fish when he was only seven years old. This love of fishing came with them when we moved to Wyoming, and then to South Dakota, Going fishing was a little more complicated for them then. No longer could they grab their fishing rods, head out the back door, and take a short walk to a river full of trout. Now fishing meant an expedition.

I referred to them as "Marathon Fishermen" because when they had a day free to fish they left early in the morning to drive to the lake, and I wouldn't see them again until after dark. No matter how many dire warnings I gave them about using sun screen, they would forget to reapply as their fishing day wore on. They arrived home tired, happy, and sunburned.

After one day of marathon fishing in South Dakota, they brought home a present for me. No, not the fish--we had eaten so much fish that they mostly did catch and release, keeping only the very best. Blooming around the lake that spring were a multitude of iris flowers. Knowing that I love flowers and had always had a fondness for irises, they dug up a number of them and brought them to me. We planted those iris corms alongside the storage shed and beside the house; they took root, thrived, and multiplied.

Lake Irises, May 21, 2012
When the irises were blooming, and especially if there was a light breeze from the south, the sweet, sweet scent of those lovely flowers would greet me as I stepped out of the car when I got home from work.

Several years after planting those irises, we moved back to Wyoming. But we took with us some of the corms from the Lake Iris plants. Before long there were Lake Irises blooming in the spring at my mother's house, my daughter's house, and our house.

Although I sold our house the year after Jerry's death, each spring I can still enjoy the Lake Irises in bloom. We had an addition built on to my daughter and son-in-law's home; the lower section is a large garage and the upper section is my apartment. From my living room window I look directly down at the big flower bed, where, right now, the Lake Irises are blooming. They are beautiful in themselves, and they carry with them a precious memory.


  1. They smell absolutely divine! I think they smell even better than the lilacs.

  2. My lake irises are blooming also!