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.