Lessons from my Irises

Iris__KG21I love my irises.  They are not only extremely beautiful, but priceless with sentiment.  They are from my grandma’s yard in LaVerkin, Utah.  I planted them in uniform patterns—pink, purple, pink…burgundy, yellow, burgundy…and other cool designs.  But soon after they stopped blooming, I redid my yard and had to hurry and dig them up and throw them in buckets before the landscapers came and excavated.

Afterward, I replanted, but had no idea any longer what color any of them were.  So it’s fun each spring to see them bloom and go—”Ah, that planting worked out nice.”  Sometimes there will be an odd ones in the mix that doesn’t seem to fit…but it still makes me happy and reminds me of Grandma.  She loved to nourish plants…and her art was in the myriad of varieties growing all together in her yard.  Eye candy!

Iris__KG26We had a few days of heat here in Boise that whispered to my irises that it was time to go bye-bye.  And so they are fading away—those beautiful, vibrant colors wilting up and leaving dry stalks behind until they burst forth again next year.  It’s been a wonderful 6 weeks of Glory…but now it’s waning.

My sister-in-law took these pictures for me, and I’m glad she did, because now I can look at them and remember stunning spring in my backyard, and anticipate next year when it gets even better.  Because it will get better.  But before it gets better, it might get worse.

Let me explain.  My irises went crazy this year.  They are healthy and dividing like ‘bunnies.’  I was taught to give them deep water and let them dry out in between waterings.  That forces them to push their roots deeper.  The whole plant thrives with a deep root system.

But if I left them alone, thinking I had done my job, within a couple years there would be all these dead spots in the middle of my irises.  As they divide and spread outward, the middle of the tuber doesn’t send out leaves and stalks anymore.  It’s ugly to see bare spots in the middle.

So next year I will begin to dig them up and break the tubers apart.  Then I will plant these pieces with space between them so they have room to grow and thrive once more.  It’s fun to see my yard fill up as I divide and spread the ‘iris love’ around.  My irises used to beautify my grandma’s yard.  Now they beautify mine and several of my friend’s yards.   By breaking my irises, I help them reach their full potential.

Iris__KG04God does that to us too.  We are irises in His hands.  He nourishes us, but let’s dry spells come in life, to force us to push down our roots for strength and beauty.  Then He sends waters, and we drink deeply.  We grow and blossom, but can become mired in a rut if He doesn’t break us apart occasionally and replant us so that we can stretch to fill a new space He has provided.  Sometimes we are moved physically; sometimes our circumstances change—we are yanked from a place we are comfortable and forced into rocky soil that lacks nourishment.

Iris__KG07It can be easy to believe when we are broken and transplanted that God has forsaken us.  Our blooms may wilt as we get used to our new circumstances or trials, but God never leaves us.  He is watching over us.  All the breaking, transplanting and holding back water is done according to what He sees we need in order to nourish our potential stalks and blossoms.

So when life gets hard, remember the Iris!  If I neglected mine and left them to their own, they soon would die in the middle as they got too big for the spot where they were planted.  But by breaking them apart and sharing them with others, my irises thrive.  Share your light with others; don’t hold it back.  And don’t curse God when he digs you up and breaks you.  He is saving your heart from shriveling up and dying.


23 thoughts on “Lessons from my Irises

    • Thanks, Jaqueline. I had to go smell the last of them last night, and fill my nose with their scent to last me for another year.

  1. Nice thoughts. Good way to look at it. Do you remember what the secret was to dividing them? My neighbor wants some of mine but I don’t remember what Todd did when he dug them up? And next time you come, bring me some of those pink ones. I didn’t get any of those.
    Love you Sis!

    • There’s not too much of a secret. I just dig up one and then break it into pieces, making sure some roots are on each piece. They are pretty forgiving flowers if you mess up. And I will try to remember where the pink ones are so when I come, I can bring you some. They seem to be everyone’s favorites.

  2. Oh this post really made me smile. My daughter hates change and this explains it so nicely. Well done!
    I also just love Iris’. Yours are outstanding. Those pink and yellows. Wow.
    Thanks for the awesome post, Char.

    • Glad it made you smile, Gina. I love my irises, and when I started writing about them, that lesson just hit me. Now to internalize it and remember it the next time some drastic change happens in my life that doesn’t tickle my fancy. If you hear me whining, remind me of my irises, will ya?

    • Thanks, Carrie. By the way, my sister in law just got back to me. She saw the Penn and Teller show several years ago and thought it was fine for kids (she said to ask at the box office to make sure, in case she has forgotten something). But I think you’ll be fine.

    • I hear you on the lazy part. I’m just going to have to tackle it little by little. I have too many to get it done in one season.

    • Are you cutting onions? Just kidding. I have tears in my eyes as I see less and less of these each day now too. The good thing is, different flowers are blooming to take the limelight. I just enjoy my irises the most though.

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