Thursday, April 19, 2012

Joyce's Irises

The irises are blooming!  I love iris, in all their many forms and colors, so it was great to have a chance to paint several different ones.  Irises have been the muse for many artists through the centuries: Claude MonetGeorgia O'Keeffe, and of course Vincent Van Gogh.  Iris was a Greek goddess and messenger for the gods, linking the gods to humanity.  She was personified by the rainbow.  It seems fitting that the Iris flowers which display all the colors of the rainbow would be named after her.

Our pond has tall Blue Flag irises, blue and purple are the most common iris colors.  In contrast, Joyce's pond has these wonderful tall brilliant Yellow Flag irises.  So yellow that they seem to glow in the sun light.  These are a type of irises that grow best in very wet soil (bogs and ponds).  They grow from rhizomes, which grow out of the submerged pots and form large mats.  They are a great pond plant since they help keep the water clean.  In fact, this plant is used by water purification plants to remove nutrients and pollutants from agricultural runoff.

In addition to our pond irises, we have a few small Dwarf crested iris (photo above), White Cemetery iris and lovely grape scented lavender colored Sweet Iris, but Joyce has several beds of irises containing every color imaginable.  She has both the bulbous Dutch iris and  bearded rhizomatous iris.  The flowers are similar, but can often look very different.  Each flowers has three sepals which curve downwards, and in some of the rhizomatous irises the sepals have an area that contains lines and dots called a 'beard'.  There are three pedals which usually stand upright behind the sepals.

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