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Yellow Walking Iris: The Gardener’s Morale Booster

MsDora grew up, received early education and taught school in the Caribbean. Read her love and pride of the region—people and place.

I waited and waited to experience this unique flower!

I waited and waited to experience this unique flower!

Two of my friends invited me to accompany them on a visit to their friends’ house. While the two couples sat on the porch and talked, I meandered through the front yard among exotic plants, attractive and unfamiliar. As we prepared to leave, the hostess handed me what seemed to be just a sprig of grass. She said, “I can see that you like flowers. Plant this one. You’ll love it.”

She was right. Perhaps each of my plants extracts some positivity from me, but my yellow walking iris stands out as my favorite teacher, my morale booster, helping me improve my attitude specifically toward gardening, and generally toward life. I readily think of three virtues which this plant helps me to strengthen.

The plantlet bending right toward the ground can be broken at the joint  to start a new plant, or it will get buried in the ground, take root and "walk."

The plantlet bending right toward the ground can be broken at the joint to start a new plant, or it will get buried in the ground, take root and "walk."

Patience

It was January when the plantlet was given to me. Between then and November, the giver and I met three times in the grocery store. Each time she inquired how the plant was doing. “It looks really good,” I always replied, but the third time I queried, “But I thought you said it would bear a flower.”

“Be patient,” she smiled.

I had never seen the flower, but I did my research on its name. It is identified by its color because some species in this Iridaceae family bear white or bluish-purple flowers. Walking is part of the name because the weight of the plantlet (like the one I was given) bends down to the ground, takes root and strides or walks across the garden. It bears resemblance to the iris, so it is commonly called yellow walking iris or traveling iris, but its botanical name is Trimezia steyermarkii, one of about 20 of the Trimezia species. I waited and waited to see this unique flower!

The bright green stalks of the plant, forming a fan-like clump at the base were a beauty to behold. The sword-like leaves standing 2½ to 3 feet tall looked elegant, but where was the flower? At last, in December it budded and bloomed. Wish I had not seemed impatient a few weeks earlier. Now with every new bloom, comes a voice chiding me, “Be patient.” I learned that anxiety does not contribute to the gardening, or to any other life process. Better to enjoy what is in the moment, than to become frustrated over what is not yet.

At its base, the plant forms an elegant fan-like clump.

At its base, the plant forms an elegant fan-like clump.

Perspective

The yellow flower expands only 3-4 inches across. To appreciate its intricate beauty, it must be viewed close up. There are 6 outer segments, 3 small erect petals alternating with 3 larger ones. In the center are 3 flattened petal-like curves with conspicuous brown spots which add to its exotic flair. I took a picture of my first flower and forwarded it. One of my friends messaged me almost immediately that she wanted it in her garden. When I informed her of its size, she was disappointed. She wanted flowers large enough for other people, even passersby, to see from a distance.

Having invested so much physical and mental energy in anticipation of my yellow walking iris, the size of the flower is secondary to my admiration for it. It conjures up gratitude that I have the eyesight to observe the complexities within this little flower, and the mental acuity to appreciate it. My choice to like it needs no approval. Contentment needs no second vote. I want what I have.

There is a purpose for even a flower that lasts less than one day.

There is a purpose for even a flower that lasts less than one day.

Purpose

The yellow walking iris in my yard is located outside the reach of the earliest morning sunlight. The bud opens up about ten o’clock, and by four in the afternoon, it begins to fold. Gone forever! It lasts less than a day. So why nurture a flower with such a short life?

And why is this temporary beauty welcome in so many places? It is native to southern Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, and it is cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions including Florida. It is naturalized in Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands.

Why do gardeners bother to accommodate it in full or partial sunlight in humid areas? Why pay attention to its need for well-drained soil although, when established, it will survive drought and heavy rainfall?

My purpose for accommodating this plant is that having seen and loved it, I would hate to have a garden without its unique, interesting display. It gives me pleasure to show it off, and I appreciate its purpose in lending its unique beauty to my garden. There is a place in this world for everyone and everything with a purpose.

Edward F. Gilman from the University of Florida is also struck by the beauty of this flower. “The walking iris is quite lovely when massed together in the shade. The upright foliage combines with the occasional flower to strike a bold pose in the landscape.”

Conclusion

The yellow walking iris has a singular purpose—to lend its ornamental beauty to our gardens, parks and landscapes. The gardener’s purpose is to cultivate and share its uniqueness. Many other flowers nurture our well-being while we nurture them, but it is easy to select this little flower as a favorite morale booster, because the small, yellow flower which looks like a cross between an iris and an orchid is one of a kind. It reminds us that our uniqueness is an asset which can be beneficial to our world. It proves that size is not a factor in being the best that we can be.

References

  • CABI: Invasive Species Compendium, Trimezia steyermarkii (yellow walking iris), November 20, 2019
  • Illinois Wild Flowers: Weedy Wildflowers of Illinois, Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus, September 11, 2019 J
  • John & Jacq’s Garden: Trimezia steyermarkii (Yellow Walking Iris), June 12, 2016
  • University of Florida: Gardening Solutions, Walking Iris, July 31, 2019

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© 2021 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 01, 2021:

You're welcome, Brenda. So,this is our kind of plant. Happy to share it with you.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on February 28, 2021:

Ms dora,

I love this article. You have describe this flower & it's beauty.

I love this ...

Better to enjoy what is in the moment, than to become frustrated over what is not yet.

This plant teaches one to be patient & enjoy each moment.

Sounds like my kind of plant.

And the fact that the bloom only last a day...

Suggest to me that one needs to pay attention or they will miss the beauty in life.

Take care & thanks for sharing this one.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 28, 2021:

Manatita, I hate not bring able to comment on all your work. I wish I knew how you managed to comment on this one. I appreciate that you did. Thank you.

manatita44 from london on February 28, 2021:

Great write! The iris is a gorgeous flower. I have mentioned both iris and narcissus in my Spring poem. Don't believe you saw it. Good that this flower has so much to teach you. Peace.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 28, 2021:

Tamara, good to see you. I've not been as regular a browser as I used to be, but I'm still here. I love hearing from you. Hugs too!

Tamara Yancosky from Uninhabited Regions on February 27, 2021:

Beautiful MsDora, I hope you are well. It’s been a long time. Time is the fastest runner I know. It wins all the races! ♥️ Hugs from Tamara.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 18, 2021:

Thanks, Chitrangada. I'm also enjoying my rendezvous with my plants and flowers. I appreciate your kind remarks.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 18, 2021:

Beautifully presented article about the yellow iris. I love gardening and planting variety of flowers. To watch them grow, as their beauty unfolds day by day, gives me joy and peace. Flowers bring hope and positivity to our thoughts.

Thank you for sharing this inspirational, insightful and well narrated article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 18, 2021:

Thanks Laynie, on behalf of my flower and me. Your comment is so encouraging.

Laynie H from Bend, Oregon on February 17, 2021:

I love your delivery and storytelling behind this topic. What a beautiful flower.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

True, Mary. Some say that the yellow walking iris is a cross between an iris and an orchid. For that reason, they also call it the poor man's orchid. That's a whole other lesson. Both rich and poor have their sphere of influence.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 15, 2021:

It's a beautiful flower. It looks like an orchid. It's amazing how much flowers tell us when we are receptive.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Peggy, it's a pleasure. Kind comments like yours reinforces my willingness to find the beautiful in everything. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Tamarajo, In appreciation for your comment I will repeat it. " God's good creation seems to always have something to reveal that is applicable to life if we will only take the time to observe and listen." Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

James, it's all about the journey. That perspective make us feel blessed no matter what. Thank you.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2021:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about learning patience, etc., while sharing your yellow walking iris with us. It is a beauty!

Tamarajo on February 15, 2021:

Hi Dora,

I appreciate your lesson borrowed from this unique flower. God's good creation seems to always have something to reveal that is applicable to life if we will only take the time to observe and listen as you have here.

James C Moore from Joliet, IL on February 15, 2021:

The Yellow Walking Iris may bloom only briefly but as you say it's all about the journey. Nice photos, I'll check out your Pinterest post.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Thank you, Flourish. I'll keep trying because I'm enjoying it too. I appreciate the encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Shauna, I appreciate your kind words. I've only recently gotten serious about gardening, so I'm encouraged to know that my work is well-received. You inspire me.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Happy week to you, Bill. What you have done is so much more than what you haven't; and this flower only resembles the real iris. Thanks for your kind comment.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 15, 2021:

I like the lessons that you incorporate in the article as you introduce new flora and fauna. Lovely flower, even lovelier lesson.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on February 15, 2021:

Dora, your yellow walking iris brings cheer and effervescence to the beholder. Gardening is an act of love. The fact that each plant causes one to reflect on life makes them more alive than they appear to be.

I'm enjoying this niche for you. I hope to see more. You not only bless us with beauty, but you make us think beyond ourselves.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 15, 2021:

I love your love of nature and gardening. I've never grown an iris; perhaps it is time I do so.

Have a brilliantly happy week!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Heidi, it's my pleasure. I'm becoming intensely aware of the many lessons nature has to teach.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 15, 2021:

Nature has so much to teach us. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story and bloom with us!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Thanks, Devika. How grateful we should be for the gift of sight to appreciate the gift of color!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 15, 2021:

Dora this flower is beautiful. I like the color and Iris comes in many colors. Flowers in the garden shows its true beauty.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Great idea, Ann. The beautiful flowers in our yard is for our view primarily. Other person's admiration is a bonus. Thanks for your gracious comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Thanks, Sally, for introducing another thoughtful idea to the discussion. Truly, the individual who gifted me this flower gifted me a part of herself. I think of her kindness whenever I look at or think about the plant.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Thanks, Pamela. The yellow walking iris is a small flower with a large potential for significance, a posture to which humans can relate.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 15, 2021:

Thanks, Liz. Comments as kind as yours help me feel comfortable writing in this niche. I appreciate you.

Ann Carr from SW England on February 15, 2021:

I love yellow flowers, too. My favourite is the large trumpet daffodil - a sign of Spring. I think it's the vibrant colour that cheers everyone up - it says 'hey, wake up, get going and smile'!

I have blue and yellow iris in my garden - in the far corner so that I can see them easily from the house too. They are magnificent. Wild yellow iris can also be seen in our local irrigation rhynes.

Lovely hub, beautiful photos, Dora. Thanks for uplifting our spirits.

Ann

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 15, 2021:

Some of my most treasured plants have been grown from slips received from a friend's garden. The anticipation of them flowering sometime in the future is often only part of the story and I love your story.. To me a plant or a slip grown from a friend or stranger, is always a reminder of that person who gifted it to me:)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 15, 2021:

I think this is a lovely flower and I can understand why you have enjoyed it so much. I like the conclusion you have drawn from watching this pretty flower grow, Ms Dora. I can understand why people like it so much.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 14, 2021:

This plant certainly adds a dash of bright color to the garden. This is an interesting and well-illustrated article.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 14, 2021:

Carol, I'm happy to have made you happy. Hoping that your moods stays positive throughout the day and the week.

Carol Morris on February 14, 2021:

Hi, the Yellow Walking Iris is stunning! I'm always drawn to yellow flowers, they remind me of my mom and always make me happy.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 14, 2021:

Rosina, thanks for your affirmation. "In a similar manner, we all living humans have a special purpose in this world." Well said!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on February 14, 2021:

Rachel, what a sterling contribution your comment is to my article! You introduce the topic of mindfulness--pausing to learn from the moment, from the darling people who cross our paths. Great application. Thank you and bless you!

Rosina S Khan on February 14, 2021:

The yellow walking Iris has a special purpose of adding beauty to our gardens, parks and landscapes. In a similar manner, we all living humans have a special purpose in this world.

I am so glad you wrote about this flower in this article. It certainly carries a beautiful message.

Thank you, Dora, for this splendid share.

Rachelle Williams from Tempe, AZ on February 14, 2021:

This is kind of like how some people are only here for a short time, but the time they spend on Earth is super influential...think, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Chadwick Boseman...

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