first day of April --
dwarf bearded iris jesters
pop up from dead leaves
First April shower on April first. Last fall I planted two dozen bulbs of Alida, a dwarf bearded iris, along the front of one of the flower beds. Over the long winter I'd forgotten how quickly these miniature flowers spring up in the spring. So the joke's on me on April Fool's Day when I discover a staggered row of blue blossoms hovering above the cover of dead leaves.
Glistening with raindrops, they look like glass fishing balls floating on a russet sea.
Or a raucous line of jesters in striped hose, spotted bloomers and beaded, feathered caps.
The shoots are tiny spears, pliant yet strong enough to penetrate dense soil and pierce tough leaves.
But when I pull the leaves back, the slender stems have grown pale and weak from being covered up and some of the dew-laden blossoms flop over like a Jack-in-the-box. I spend a happy hour fooling around with my macro lens, trying to capture the capricious exuberance of these merry entertainers.
When I rise from kneeling in the leaf mulch, I get another surprise: a tick slowly climbing the front of my shirt. Over the long winter, I forgot how quickly these insects spring up!