Saturday, June 25, 2011

magenta hana

magenta hana
shobu unfurl butterfly
petals, golden stars,
their bright enchanting colors 
cheer me up on these gray days

Both my mother and my younger sister are named Iris. No matter where we lived, our garden was always filled with Bearded Irises, with their delicious fragrance and rainbow colors. Whenever we moved, my mother would dig up the rhizomes and replant them at our new home. My father taught us that Iris means rainbow, and that in Greek mythology Iris is the messenger of the gods, the link between the gods and humanity. When we lived in St. Louis, my mother often took us downtown to Shaw's Garden, with its geodesic Climatron full of tropical plants, herb gardens, cactus gardens and a beautiful Japanese garden, complete with purple Japanese Iris growing in the water. Now I have my own garden and every year I add more Iris: a rainbow of German Iris with fuzzy beards, delicate purple and yellow Siberian Iris, Dutch Iris with tiny wings on the lower sepals, and Japanese Iris, sometimes called Butterfly Iris because of their beautiful wide, flat petals. Japanese Iris have been cultivated in Japan for over 500 years, and were once only enjoyed by royalty. Nowadays they are enjoyed by everyone in Japan in late spring during Hana-shobu Matsuri, Iris Festival. My magenta and purple Hana-shobu really love all the rain, and I love seeing their cheerful faces by the front gate.

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