Mother Was Right

“Mother Was Right”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Mother was right. It just took twenty-five years to show she was right.

Many years ago, my mother shared some of her Walking Iris (Neomarica gracillis) with me. She gave me a small container of them and said to protect them in the winter as they could be killed by a freeze. I put the pot of irises in the garden for the summer and forgot to take them in for the winter, but they survived with no damage whatsoever. They gradually spread around and covered a very large area. They survived short freezes and long freezes, and I thought my mother was wrong about their hardiness.

In fact, they became so crowded last year that I knew I would have to dig a great many up. Hating to just throw away good plants, I tried to find someone to take them, but was unable. Time got away from me, and these irises never got dug up. During last fall, I was lamenting the overcrowded bed and made a resolution to start removing plants as soon as it warmed up. It is a good thing I never got around to thinning out that bed because this winter – Mom was right.

I couldn’t believe the damage. I think I was left with about 20% of the plants. I feel that many of the irises that didn’t make it were the “babies” that didn’t get a chance to root because of the overcrowding. I still can’t believe that so many of these plants died this winter. They have really survived bad winters before.

I was not too upset to lose so many plants because it seems as if Old Man Winter just saved me the job of thinning out the overcrowded plants. I was disappointed that there were no blooms this spring. Usually there are scores of blooms, and it is such a pretty sight. Since these normally bloom in the spring, I was surprised to see one flower this week, the middle of June.



The remaining plants are starting to recover, but without flowers, there will be no spreading. You can be sure that I will be digging up a clump to overwinter just in case we get another winter like this last one since I would hate to lose plants my mother gave me that are so pretty. Besides, I just can’t stand to hear her say “I told you so” even if it took 25 years to prove her right.


  1. Sheila said,

    June 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    It is a pretty flower. Always listen to your mom.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2010 at 5:54 am

      I’ll have to tell my daughter that, Shelia.

  2. June 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I love Walking Iris and was so sad when I lost mine … and I cannot blame winter kill. I hope yours revive and maybe you can take some inside this winter. We cannot tell what winters will be like anymore. I know what you mean about having someone say “I told you so”… not helpful at all. Twenty five years is a good record however. ;>)

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2010 at 5:56 am

      I think they are coming back okay. They did need to be thinned out, just not this badly.

  3. Ewa said,

    June 13, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Mom is always right 🙂 let her be – this is so damn difficult to see oneself getting old, so it’s good to think there is some wisdom given in exchange that can help the close ones – give her that pleasure 🙂

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2010 at 5:57 am

      Don’t worry, Ewa, as soon as I saw what happened, I called Mom. She commiserated with me and didn’t gloat at all.

  4. teresa said,

    June 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Those are very pretty iris. It would make me heartsick to lose all of them so i think you are very wise to bring some in from now on.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2010 at 5:58 am

      Teresa, I am very disappointed they didn’t have more blooms, but I am sure next year will be fine. I already have a container of them to bring inside if it gets too cold this coming winter.

  5. Jeannie said,

    June 13, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Beautiful. I have never heard of it.

    • Jan said,

      June 15, 2010 at 5:59 am

      Jeannie, these are so lovely. The buds are pretty, too. Reminds me of the Onion dome church in Russia.

  6. June 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

    what a lovely Iris, I too have never heard of it!

  7. Jan said,

    June 15, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Gloria, these are very common around here, but now that you mention it, I don’t think I have seen them for sale. They must be a pass-along plant. After the flower finishes blooming, a plant forms where the flower was and bends down to the ground where it will root, hence the “Walking Iris” name.

  8. Lisa said,

    June 25, 2010 at 8:06 am

    The “walking” method of rooting you describe above it really interesting.

    A propos of nothing, I know a lot of people working on the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico right now. I can only imagine how exhausted they must be! But they’re highly trained, because sadly, they’ve worked on so many many oil spills in the recent past.

    • Jan said,

      June 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      This oil spill just has me so depressed, angry, and frustrated. I can’t even watch the oil-slicked wildlife on TV anymore because it upsets me so much. They just released a group of cleaned, brown pelicans, but they were released in Texas. So, even though they have been saved, Louisiana still lost the pelicans. I don’t know how they are going to make a comeback.

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