Lately—and I’ll just admit it up front—for many years, my favorite flowers in the garden share a cultivar name of ‘Variety Unknown’.
These are the first two reticulated irises that popped up a few days ago. They are ‘Variety Unknown’, part of a mix of Iris reticulata I purchased years ago. They are slowly coming up to join the crocuses in full bloom now, which are also ‘Variety Unknown’. The crocuses are from mixed collections of Crocus tommasinianus, planted years ago, affectionately referred to as “tommies” by those of us who plant them in our gardens as harbingers of spring.
Not all my crocuses and irises are ‘Variety Unknown’. I know where I have Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’ planted, for instance. Last I checked, she is not yet blooming, though I see the sprouts pushing up so it won’t be long now. Queue thoughts of India and exotic lands far away… Lady Beatrix was the wife of a British governor in India in the early 20th century.
Lady Beatrix also had a snowdrop named after her, but not in my garden.
You guessed correctly that all the snowdrops, Galanthus sp., in my garden are also ‘Variety Unknown’.
Now, come back from those thoughts of exotic lands and return to my garden and I promise that in a few weeks, I will show you my crocuses that have variety names like ‘Pickwick’!
But not yet.
Right now, I have a lawn of Crocus tommasinianus ‘Variety Unknown’ in bloom.
I never know for sure when the crocuses are in their prime so I check on them everyday. I go out and stand among them. I listen for the bees. Yes, they attract bees! Hungry, winter-weary bees show up as soon as the flowers open. They don’t mind that these are all ‘Variety Unknown’. They just know that finally there are flowers and pollen and nectar.
And I don’t mind either. I just know that finally spring is arriving and bringing my garden back to life.
‘Variety Unknown’ is blooming once again!