I've always liked irises. Maybe because of Mary Mullins, who lived in the house next door on the street where I grew up.
Mary was a slim, pretty, golden-redhead, perhaps a decade younger than my parents—though still an enigmatic adult. She worked at one of the General Motors factories a few miles away, was a divorcee, drank beer, had a huge gray Persian cat named Fluffy, wore red lipstick and, when the weather was warm, tended to dress in shorts and halter tops like the Hollywood starlets you saw in movie previews at the drive-in. Even in my pre-pubescent oblivion, I thought she was special.
She was also friendly, nice to me and my parents, a good neighbor we liked—though many on the street treated Mary with a certain degree of standoffishness.
Mary had an obvious fondness for irises. On both side of her driveway, which led from the street, between my parents' house and hers, to a mostly disused garage in back, Mary had planted dozens—probably hundreds!—of iris, with more growing in back of the house, along the walkways, and bordering the side fences.
However, so far as I remember, there were only two flower colors—purple and white…though the whites ranged anywhere from icy to creamy, while purples came in every hue from nearly-blue to violet, orchid, mauve, lavender, and a plum so richly dark that from only a short distance away it appeared black. But none of the yellows, oranges, magentas, or reds of today.
Whether such color variations were available, or easily affordable, back then, or whether Mary simply preferred a more restricted palette, I can't say. Yet her garden was no less stunning for such limitations.
I have a variety of iris scattered around the yard—many of which I bought on the cheap a year ago at a local nursery sale. Three or four were purchased from a nearby big-box store where I buy groceries. A dozen others were given to me last summer by a neighbor who'd received more than she could handle from another neighbor when she thinned out a patch in her front yard; sort of twice-shared plants.
So far as I know, the one above is the only example of this particular variation. At least it's the only such bloom I've had this spring. The flower made its debut and too-so exit over the last few days. I believe it's from the nursery close-out's mixed bunch, but have no idea what it's called.
While it's neither purple nor white, I thought it looked lovely in the bright shade of morning light. Wonder what Mary would say?