May 30, 2006

Iris gracilipes var. alba

The Iris is an important flower in Japan. As with many seasonal plants and flowers, the period when the Iris species native to Japan bloom (in May and June) involve many cultural events and celebrations. On my last visit to Japan, I missed the Iris celebration but I have been fortunate to have friend like Masahai Yamguchi who so generously shared a few other plant events with me including Hydrangea in June, Plum Blossom in February and the Snow Peony in the winter. In the future, I hope top see some of the other evernts, but on this nice spring day in ouor home garden we can enjoy the tiny yet precious Japanese native dwarf iris, Iris gracilipes in it's rare but beautiful white form, "alba'.

This tiny native Japanese Iris is charming in the rrock garden, where even when it isn't in bloom, itt's foliage is attractive. No taller than 10 inches tall, the plant always recieves comments from visitors. In Japan, enthusuast grow many iris species in flat pans, where they are coddled and fussed over with as many as 20 ryzomes planted to a pan. Then they are forced and displayed in either competitions or in the home in a special place. Ther everence and respect of the Shinto religion is reflected in the patience and appreciation in the presentation when the pan is displayed in a Tokonama, a quiet japanese alcove consisting of a painted scroll, a tatami mat and grass cloth screens.

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