By Wayne William Cipriano
What is all this noise about orchids? Good looking? Sure, but how much arrogance is involved? How much of the desirability of orchids is all about how expensive they are? Must be wonderful if they cost so much. Difficult to grow? Must be wildly sophisticated if they are so sensitive, so reluctant to flower, so disappointing so often. I suppose if orchids bruised as easily and as quickly as magnolia flowers do, those orchids freaks would consider the flower just perfect.
Well, you can struggle and hope, sweat and swear over orchids or you can cultivate a flower that is superior to the orchid on every continuum you can think of. I am speaking, of course, of the Iris.
Every bit as beautifully colored and lusciously shaped as an orchid. As inexpensive as can be. Grows like a weed pretty much everywhere and propagates like it is Prom Night. And varieties? Do you dig the multi-colored petals so often striking in their opposition as does Rosalie or are you a purist like me that prefers one color and the deeper the saturation the better? Whatever your preference, Iris can accommodate.
Want to fool around with breeding different strains? No problem. Iris is easy to interbreed and rewards diligent and consistent work with reliable results.
And what about gifts? A health Iris can be presented to just about anyone regardless of their thumb color. Believe me, nobody can kill a plant faster than I can! Overwater, underwater, over-fertilize or just step on it, I have done it, I have done it all to Iris and she just keeps coming back –– sounds like one of those relationships on daytime television, doesn’t it? Anyone who can dig a narrow trench two inches deep in the back yard can plant an Iris successfully.
And when you have a mess of them growing around the house and you see the cattle moving in close to them, do not worry. Cattle look them over and then just pass them up (like orchid lovers, I guess). Cows will eat almost any flower, but not Iris.
Looking for a positive botanical experience? Grow an Iris. And when it blooms, clip it off long give it to a chick. Then you will have a double positive!