Wild Iris

Wendy Johnson

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Spring is bellowing out now in California, full-throated spring, and I can barely catch my breath amid her explosive arias and high-pitched scales that run from January through the end of April. Time in the garden is told by linked events, and I mark the rapid ascent of spring by the unfurling of one of my favorite harbinger flowers, the wild iris of the Northwest Coast. With a mixture of panic and delight I notice the first iris blade, a slim white stiletto hidden within folds of wind-burned foliage. The winter pruning of elephant heart plums or the Gallica roses is still unfinished, and already spring irises are beginning to unsheathe!

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