May I introduce to you Iris histrioides ‘Lady Beatrix Stanley’, a new dwarf iris that I purchased last fall from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
Did you know that there really was a Lady Beatrix Stanley? I assumed she was a real person, and went on a little Internet search for her.
It turns out she was the daughter of the 3rd Marquess of Headfort, Thomas Taylour, and his second wife, Emily, who was the granddaughter of the 2nd Marquess of Bath, Thomas Thynne. Lady Beatrix married Sir George Frederick Stanley, who was the sixth son of an Earl and therefore probably had no chance at a title like Marquess. I presume Sir George and Lady Beatrix had an interesting life together especially when they lived in India where he was the Governer of Madras.
Lady Beatrix must have taken up with a bunch of gardeners or plant breeders at some point because in addition to this iris, there also seems to be a double-flowering Galanthus named after her. We should all be so fortunate.
With all those titles in her family tree, I feel a need to dress up a bit when I walk by Lady Beatrix Stanley’s iris and maybe even do a little curtsy.
I do know how to curtsy, sort of. As a fifth grader, I took ballroom dancing lessons with several other fifth grade classmates. Our parents plotted to sign us up so that we could learn the social skills necessary to conduct ourselves as ladies and gentlemen. Along with learning how to dance the waltz, the cha-cha, and the swing, we learned how to go through a receiving line and say very politely, “Good evening, Mrs. Colodon (that’s the name I remember), my name is Carol”. As the words came out of your mouth, you gracefully extended your white gloved hand for a ladylike handshake while placing one foot behind the other and slowly bending your knees in a little curtsy.
When I try to do a curtsy today, and I just did one so I could remember, my knees creak a bit. But I can still do one and am now ready to go through a receiving line where one might find the likes of Lady Beatrix Stanley, daughter of a Marquess, and patroness of my little iris and somewhere a double flowering galanthus.
On the other side of the sidewalk, under a crabapple tree named Guinivere, other irises are now blooming, too.
These are Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’.
Without a last name, or just a wee bit more information, I don’t really have the story on Clairette. I’m tempted to make up something about her, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter who she was.
What matters is that these irises are both blooming in my garden now, on March 10th, just five days before the next Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.
Spring is arriving in my garden.
“Good evening, Spring, my name is Carol”… as I gently extend a garden gloved hand and curtsy to the Iris.