May Flowers

May Flowers

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Secret Garden

And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed,
and every morning revealed new miracles.
Frances Hodgson Burnett from The Secret Garden

It's a secret garden hiding in plain sight. And it's in bloom yet again.

The Zenith Road is our thoroughfare to Stafford and home again. Early in our marriage, we lived in a house right along the road. But until four years ago, we didn't realize there were irises blooming under a grove of cottonwood trees, less than half a mile from that house. 
It was my sharp-eyed husband who first saw them. Every May since then, we subtly slow down as we approach the canopy of cottonwoods, glancing to the west to see if the blooms are back again.
It's like a surprise party each time they return.
As I parked in an old driveway and got out of the car, a pheasant squawked and flew away when I disturbed his afternoon nap. He startled me as much as I did him. After that, there was only the rustle of cottonwood leaves in the wind, accompanied by a bass line of tires slapping the pavement of U.S. Highway 50 only a half mile away.
Every year, I think about who might have planted this bed of irises. There's no concrete foundation, marking where a farmhouse might have been. The field to the west has long been in CRP, the brown grasses of winter still holding on while springtime blooms in this secret garden.
I stopped again as the sun was setting one day last week. The only other witnesses were swarms of mosquitoes who buzzed in my ears and came in for a landing.
Soon, the irises will fade again like the setting sun. But these blooms offer a lesson in appreciating life in the moment.
Last fall, Randy planted irises around our mailbox and near our front door. He knows that purple irises remind me of my Grandma Neelly's backyard, and, more importantly, evoke memories of my childhood. Not many of the irises bloomed this first spring. But to me, he couldn't have offered a more thoughtful gift.
Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. 
–Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist


  1. I love iris! They are so cheery, and their sweet smell is so pleasant! Great pictures of the secret garden!

    1. Thank you, Alica! They are among my favorites, along with tulips and daffodils.

  2. I look forward to their annual beauty,like you. They are so joyful.
    Lovely thoughtful Randy - a keeper.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jessica! And it's the best kind. I don't have to do any weeding!

  4. My grandmother (or one of my great-aunts) told me that people used to bury their valuables and then plant irises over the top to mark the spot. We have some "feral" irises growing out in one of our pastures. I keep thinking I should maybe dig around over there some year, the the irises are so pretty though. And they look happy in their spot I think I will just let them be...

    1. I've never heard that before! Well, if you find treasure, you'll have to let me know.