Grandma’s Rhizomes–Never Return Home Without One

Poor Man’s Orchids.

 That’s what my grandmother called  bearded iris. Every trip she made to visit friends or family, she returned with a new rhizome to plant in her iris bed. I remember the array of colors beside her house, the many varieties she  had gathered. Over time, the iris disappeared as Grandma grew less capable of tending them.

My husband believes bearded iris are more trouble than they’re worth. For two weeks every spring they flower, wither, and retreat, leaving nothing but the green foliage behind. They have to be trimmed, the stalks removed, and every few years, the rhizomes have to be cut up or they quit blooming.

To me that two weeks is a window of wonder, the colors of the blooms magical, the combination of hues amazing.

The term rhizome describes something that grows without any mechanism. Bearded iris rhizomes slowly creep over the ground, crawling in and around each other, spreading themselves as far as the earth will allow.  Eventually their very nature prevents them from blooming as the rhizomes become clogged from their slow creep. Their tendency to spread themselves every flowering season will become the very thing that will stop them.

According to wikipedia, rhizome has been used as a metaphor to describe communities or concepts that spread without any visible means of support. The Internet, which continues to grow in popularity, has also garnered the term.

Sin can be a rhizome for those of us who seek to follow God. We allow temptation to creep in, slowly changing how we think, sin rooting itself in and around our faith, choking off the truth that God wants  us to know.

James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

No wonder the word of God has been called a two-edged sword. Hebrews 4:12. Let it, like the gardener’s knife against the rhizome, unclog us so we continue to bloom where we are planted.

2 Replies to “Grandma’s Rhizomes–Never Return Home Without One”

  1. So true! We are headed off to Scheiner’s Iris Garden today, for a picnic. I’ll be thinking of you.

  2. Thanks for sharing, I was walking one evening about 10 years ago and a lady had put rhizomes for Mt Shasta iris along the sidewalk to give away. I planted them in the fall and had a beasutiful bed of white Iris. As you said they are lessening because I can’t get down to the ground and dig any more. I love flowers so much, but watering is about all I can do any more. Thanks for your writings. They cause me to think and ponder things. Bob

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