A Snow Queen Greets Summer


I didn’t really expect it, but summer arrived here yesterday, both on the calendar and in reality. The sun shone for the first time in a week and the temperature shot up from 12 to 27 degrees C. I was tempted to complain about the heat, but prudently decided to refrain.

During the cool wet spring rhododendrons and lilacs still bloomed, albeit half-heartedly, their soaked and drooping heads dripping onto hosta leaves below. Bluebells showed colour, nodded briefly, then fell flat in the rains. Through several wet weeks iris leaves continued to spike upward, and then today it happened. Moments after 10:00 a.m., just as summer officially began, the first waxy iris bud opened. Perfect timing!


I love these flowers! The sturdy Siberian Iris “Snow Queen” was one of the first things I planted when we moved here fifteen years ago, and I have divided the original clump several times. A few of the lovely old papery Bearded Irises are scattered throughout our flowerbeds, too, but they never do as well in the heavy shade imposed by towering cedars and hemlock trees. They lean precariously toward the sun’s rays until they end up stretched out in obeisance on the ground. The Siberian irises prefer sun, too, but aren’t deterred by shade.

There is something pristine about the pure white falls and their sun-kissed throats. And when everything else is bedraggled and struggling, this first stubbornly upright iris bloom makes me smile.

 “Consider the lilies (irises?) of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

[Matthew 6:28b-29]

Welcome to summertime, everyone!


Be sure to join me here on Friday for an interview with author Joylene Nowell Butler
marking the launch of her second novel, Broken But Not Dead. 



15 thoughts on “A Snow Queen Greets Summer

  1. Laura Best says:

    A lovely post. Can hardly wait for your interview with Joylene…I’m sure her second novel will be as wonderful as the first..So excited for her…:)

  2. Judith Robl says:

    One of my earliest memories is of Aunt Ethel (my infant tongue could only manage Attitie) and her iris bed. Her lone extravagance was to order iris bulbs from Holland, half a dozen each year. The bed stretched 75 feet in either direction from the base of the windmill on their farm. The colors ranged from the Snow Queen white in your photo to a purple so dark it bordered on black with every hue and combination between. I never see the white around here. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

  3. What a beautiful iris! Summertime has its own special charm and excitement. The heat may be oppressive at times, but the beauty of summer blooms and flourishing greenery all around is breathtaking. Thank you for this uplifting and inspiring post. Blessings to you, Carol…

  4. joylene says:

    Stunning. My neighbour’s are blooming too. Which is wonderful because we’re so much further north.

  5. elderfox says:

    Good sunshine morning my dear friend. I have a cousin who propragated a black iris, and it was close to 12″ in size. I don’t know whether it was recognized by the horticultural world or not but I was amazed by its beautiful color and size. Dd is into house plants, especially ivy types. I’d love to have a flower/vegetable garden but have always been too busy or not in a place to have one…so I enjoy yours. 🙂 mE

  6. How lovely! I have many irises, and enjoy them so much in the Spring. Ours are done now, and wer’e looking forward to gladiolus. Summer is my favorite season!

    Thanks for your insighful comments on my last very controversial post! I appreciate your fearlessness.


  7. Lovely, Carol. Just lovely. I don’t have iris and would love to plant some someday. When we make our monthly 100+ drive north each month (for me to meet with my spiritual director), I thoroughly enjoy Abbot David’s iris – by the dozens. And I used to have a floral business and they were among my favorite flowers to work with. (Even though they keep growing after they’re cut, making for some interesting pre-planning. :>) Happy summer to you!

  8. I remind myelf of this so much—that my purpose is to glorify God, like the flowers of the field. A good reminder that they don’t strive or fret. They just do what they were created to do. Lovely posting.

  9. Good morning, everyone. Your welcome comments are a wonderful beginning to my day. I should add that it’s sunshiny again today. The forecast is for more rain tomorrow, but sunshine two days in a row is lovely. Several more irises have opened since yesterday.

  10. karen evans says:

    Those are lovely. A great reminder to bloom for God as these do.

  11. This is one of my favorite versus and the flower(s) I just love. Enjoyed your descriptions and the picture is gorgeous.

  12. A beautiful picture of a Siberian Iris. It is so great that summer is finally here but I am still cold at night. The rain is annoying (coming from the prairies I do miss the sun) but it sure produces some fabulous flora.

  13. Thanks for your comments. I do love all the irises and other flowers, but these early white ones are always special for me.

  14. Welcome to summer! I never heard this name for these flowers and they are lovely, aren’t they? Since I live in Fl it feels like summer from April on–too hot here. Not my time of year.

  15. Katt says:

    I love your pictures! And your blog—— my friends laugh at me because I say, “oh this is my favorite season—-and I say it about ALL of them! I love flowers and am happy when them bloom. We live in Florida, so we do have blooming flowers all the time, but they are different flowers each season.
    Hugs and blessings to you my sweet friend

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