Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Four Is

I is for iris gardens.I is for iris gardens Among iris fanciers, the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair (Exit 151) are known internationally as a living library of over 2,000 iris species and cultivars, particularly Iris germanica. It's a little early for iris flowers, so here's a photo of the big sign with the little basket o' I prizes. Click for a closer view and also see here and here for some of the display beds. Judging from the size of the fans, peak bloom will be late this year.

Bloom time, late April to early June, is an annual free spectacle that draws thousands of visitors to the modest grounds. But it's been a tough year for the gardens. Last summer, vandals hacked and uprooted over 150 plants in the display beds, some of them rare and historic specimens dating to the 1500s. The display beds were refurbished with other varieties and the damaged plants carefully replanted in nursery beds, only to be snacked on by hungry deer this winter (deer usually leave irises alone). As bloom time 2006 approaches, anxious eyes are on the gardens!

I is for impermanence. The paradox of constant change and the poignancy of fleeting beauty are often identified as Eastern or Buddhist concepts, illustrated by the familiar trope of cherry blossoms on the tree and petals on the ground.

Cherry blossoms on tree   Petals on ground

Yet the "fathers" of Western thought, the ancient Greeks, believed the immortal gods envied the freshness of mortal beauty. The search for the Apples of Youth or the Fountain of Youth has occupied many Western scholars and explorers and continues to this day.

I is for initial. I had two friends, a married couple, who referred to each other by first initial ("M. read a good book" or "C. planted the flowers"). Somehow that doesn't work quite right when DH and I do that.

And I is for Ingeo, a synthetic fiber derived from corn. Spinners are just beginning to explore the possibilities of the fiber, so the chance to knit it can't be very far behind.

See the rest of my ABCs.


--Deb said...

Nice "I"s! I'd never heard of that Iris garden before, either . . . Hmm . . . Bloom Time overlaps the Saturday Wendy will be in Montclair, so I WILL be in the area . . .

Calling Kahlo said...

Nice! Iris Gardens totally appropriate for Exit 151. I believe it is the largest Iris collection in the nation. At the end of May in Montclair you can purchase some of the bulbs. For all the May in Montclair activities, I believe it is (Can you tell I am from Montclair?)... ;)

Petra said...

Thank you Ina! I found a small article in my Southern Living mag that talked about a place in East Tx to get historic irises and I meant to do that this year. Thanks for the reminder. You can get them from the late 1800's! NICE pictures!

Stacie said...

Thanks for the "I"nspiration! "I" am working on mine now.."I" hope you will like it! "I" loved "Initial" LOL!