In Maine, June is typically a cool, rainy month more suitable for say, soup, than for barbecues and time spent on the patio. For those of us who love summer and being outside, June can be a bit of a trial. We want to wear shorts and t-shirts, but instead we are wearing turtle necks and sweaters. (Today, I am actually wearing a corduroy shirt over said sweater and turtle neck. I am determined to use as little heat as possible.) Every year in June my lament is the same, “Where oh where is summer?”
It will come in its own sweet time, I know. Fortunately, while June might be a rainy month, it is also a beautiful month. The leaves and grass are still lush and green. There is just the barest hint of the slug and snail onslaught that begins in earnest during midsummer. But best of all, the irises are in bloom at the little house in the big woods.
Now, I love all flowers—even peonies, those show-offs of the flower world—but irises are my favorite. Because our yard is so shady, many varieties of irises will not grow here, but I have found two very beautiful irises that do not mind partial shade and the damp it brings. Even better, the irises are purple, my favorite color for these lovely flowers.
Why do I love irises so much? I think it’s because they are both bright and elegant, a delight to the eye and soothing as well. Peonies, on the other hand, with their gaudy explosion of bloom and color, are just too darned much. Here I am, here I am, here I am, they shout. Full disclosure: At a friend’s house yesterday, I did admire her peonies, and my compliments were sincere. Still, when it comes to peonies, better her garden than mine.
This morning, before breakfast, I went out in the mist and took some pictures of the irises that have just started blooming in the backyard. Fortunately, the rain has not been heavy enough to beat down the irises. With any luck, there won’t be heavy rains for the next week or so, and the irises will bloom in all their elegant glory, bringing much-needed color to what can be a gray month.