Emma’s Iris


I am not a gardener. At least not a very good one.

But what little I know, I learned from my mother-in-law who lived with us for five years before she passed in 2008.

Emma could grow anything. And I do mean anything. She didn’t always know the right names for plants, or the right terms. I loved that her name for hydrangeas was “high geraniums.” But she knew what to do with them.

She was an amazing woman, who during the midst of the depression was pulled out of school at a young age to come home and cook for the men. She did learn to cook and turned it into a career. And she was amazing in the kitchen. She could taste a recipe and know what was missing. It was like she was a chemist. She just knew what worked and what didn’t.

But, back to the garden.

I’ve tried over the years, with mixed success, to grow things in the yard. I didn’t grow up knowing how to do this type of work, so I’ve had to learn. I’m still learning.

When Emma moved in with us in late 2003, she brought with her a “few” plants from her yard. And by few I mean several hundred daylilies, bucket loads of iris, and at least one yucca.

I was digging for days.

I planted everything as she instructed, or so I thought. The daylilies came up. The yucca grew and has divided twice.

But the iris didn’t bloom. They grew. The leaves were there. But no blooms.

Until two weeks before Emma passed away. She was in a nursing home by then and not getting out much. She never saw them bloom here. We took pictures and framed them for a Mother’s Day present that she proudly displayed in her room.

Before the end of May she was gone.

The iris bloomed again today. On Mother’s Day.

They’ll always be Emma’s irises.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.