Each year it amazes me. Irises spring from their tight vertical buds into a blossom delicate as breath, and both intricately ruffled and simply spun open at once. Years ago, someone told me that irises smelled like the color they were, and since that time, I’m constantly testing this theory to find it true. Yes, the purple ones smell like grape, the peach ones like peach, the yellow ones like lemon, and the brown ones like chocolate. Or maybe all these smells are more similar than we realize, but who cares? Whatever it is, it smells like heaven.
The colors are both watercolor and oil paint at once. The hues are saturated with depth. The shine shimmers up close and from a distance.
Social flowers, irises tend to blown in groups, spending their winters rooting themselves horizontal to grow more friends for the spring. Partying against a broken faucet in an alleyway, or landscaped into a luxurious yacht club cocktail party near the marble stairs to the manor, irises defer class, looking completely at home whether admired by the monied or the local racoons.
They break out the champagne all at once, but linger a bit more than the peony, the ultimate party flower (all at once and then all spent). They turn quick to translucent paper and die on the stem while their sturdy flat leaves shoot happily on all summer. They’re here in such vibrancy, a cabaret for the senses, and then they’re gone. Against the wind, against the rain, they carry on — dancing like there’s no tomorrow and holding tight to that gorgeous bundle of blossom, alive and filling the air with that scent that can only be iris.
Each time they come around, I’m in love all over again.