The iris, both early and late, have burst into full bloom at roughly the same time during the past week --- and I've been admiring this one in the big bed south of the Stephens House especially.
Kay tells me it came to us along with several others, just opening now, from the garden of the late Marilyn Bridgford. So I've taken to calling it Marilyn Bridgford's Iris, although I'm sure this variety has another more scientific name.
This all reminds me of my mother, an avid gardener, too --- since no Sunday afternoon visit to someone who gardened ever ended without a walk among the flowers. Sometimes only a few slips were collected --- to be taken home and rooted. At other times, a shovel and a paper bag were brought out and more substantial starts were hauled away.
Returning home by car from the West now and then, there were paper bags full of cactus in the trunk --- and sometimes these flourished, too.
Once planted, shared plants tended to be known by a name related to the source rather than a scientific designation.
Many of the iris on the museum grounds have been there a long time, divided and replanted --- so we're heavy right now on basic blue and bright daffodil yellow. But others will be along shortly.
Elsewhere, there are a few heirloom rather than hybrid varieties --- smaller but no less colorful. And since spirea tends to bloom with irs, these shrubs are coming into full bloom, too, right now.
Although the museum will be open on Tuesdays only until Memorial Day, when the regular season begins, you're always welcome to walk the grounds, or just sit a while. Don't forget the lower grounds. Here's a hint --- the easiest approach to Jim's heirloom garden, just coming up now, is down the relatively gentle slope that begins south of the barn where flower beds are tucked into foundation buttresses, too.