Article: In the beginning....The Blue Flag: not a quiet child?

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Image In the beginning....The Blue Flag
By Sharon Brown on May 13, 2010

It's been a long time since I lived in the mountains of southeast Kentucky, and a very long time since I transplanted wild Blue Flags from the side of one of those mountains into my great Aunt Bett's back yard. To me they were beautiful, to her, they were medicinal. Some things are not meant to be forgotten.

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ImageLance
May 13, 2010 3:54 PM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
I can't imagine you were an outspoken little person, not after all of the stories I have read from you! Another wonderful story, and the introduction to Aunt Bett.
Your Aunt Bett definitely sounds like the type of person that was good with children, the way more people should be. Maybe that is why I do so well younger people, as well; I have fun and play with them, but also give them the straight information when the occasion calls for it.
It is also good to see an article about a wonderful native plant, the blue flowering iris. Since Polly did such a wonderful job of giving more iris details, that means I don't have to this time, even though it is a native. I think I may have both growing around my yard, in my frog ponds and gardens.
A quick search of the USDA Plants database shows that Iris virginica is much more widespread than Iris versicolor, with Iris versicolor not even listed in Kentucky, so I wonder which one you had. You need to make a small water garden so you can have your favorite iris growing well for you again. And if you ask nicely, and don't take it all, I might even be able to part with some of mine. And your little girl picture in the garden is so appropriate.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
ImageSharon
May 13, 2010 4:05 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Maybe the USDA Plants database did not keep records in 1945, Lance.

I have not lived there since the 60's so I can't tell you which one it was with any accuracy. The only thing I can tell you is that it looked exactly like the first photo, the darkest one.

I'm going back there at the end of the month. They probably won't be blooming by then, but you never know, and I know exactly where they grew on the mountain behind my house. My brother and I still own that mountain, and if they are to be found, we'll find them.

Thanks for your added information. Maybe the trip will solve the riddle for us, but maybe it will remain a mystery. Whatever it was, it remains my favorite.

Thanks about the photo. Can you see the irises slightly in front and to the right of me? There was a pond there too, a small one, and it held goldfish. I think the pond is not showing in that photo, but maybe I can find another where it does show.

I'll think about the pond idea for here, thank you!
ImagePollyK
May 13, 2010 6:19 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

You own a mountain???? Really?? Well, now I know where I'm going to move to.

Kentucky Dept of Fish and Wildlife list Iris versicolor as a native, and do refer to it as blue flag.

http://fw.ky.gov/nativeplantsalefall09.asp

I also see quite a bit of reference to versicolor in Kentucky when I google it. Versicolor and virginica are so hard to distinguish it's no wonder there is confusion. The only difference between versicolor and virginica is that virginica has hairs on it's signals and the standards and falls are the same size, where versicolor has longer falls.

My reference book I've found to be most accurate and up to date is Irises by Claire Austin, and she states versicolor is native into Texas and Florida and in between.

So, when you go, Sharon, look to see if the yellow signals on the iris are hairy, LOL.
ImageSharon
May 13, 2010 7:20 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
That I'll do, Polly, I promise.
Yes, you can share my mountain.
ImagePollyK
May 13, 2010 7:23 PM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

You're on!
ImageLance
May 14, 2010 6:18 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thank you for the clarification; it did not make much sense, but that is what they had listed.
Don't forget to save some mountain space for me, as well! Group hug Ears perked up! Lovey dubby
Smileys from Skye.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
ImageLance
May 14, 2010 10:50 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
I will have to proclaim a bit of ignorance in regards to iris flower ID, even though it seems I should know this part well. Maybe an article on iris plant identification, with the various plant and flower parts labeled, would be helpful for many beginners. So which parts are the standards, falls, and signals? Thank you.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
ImagePollyK
May 15, 2010 9:09 AM CST
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY

Lance, this website will explain some of the iris terminology.

http://www.wildprairie.com/content/faq_terminology.asp
Imageirisarian
Aug 12, 2010 7:55 AM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
For all--standards stand up (even tiny ones) falls hang down or flare.
ImageLance
Aug 12, 2010 5:30 PM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Thank you both, now I know.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
jasmerr
Nov 1, 2010 7:47 PM CST
Name: Jody Scott
Wisconsin
How far is your mountain from Berea?

ImageSharon
Nov 1, 2010 7:58 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Hey Jody....
Not far at all, maybe a couple of hours or less. I'll check and let you know. I've been in Berea many times, still go there when I have extra time on my journey to the mountains. Love the crafts and art!

Great to see you again.
ImageSharon
Nov 1, 2010 8:11 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
It's about 120 miles from Berea to where my brother lives, Jody.
jasmerr
Nov 5, 2010 8:13 AM CST
Name: Jody Scott
Wisconsin
Farther than I thought. DD is still in Berea and I'm hoping to make it there yet this year. The plan was originally for October, but work is pushing the trip later...I'm not entirely sure it's going to happen.
ImageSharon
Nov 5, 2010 8:46 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I do hope you still get to go, you'll love Berea.

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