Today I’m raging about my missing iris plants and asking myself who the fuck in my life will actually care about how I feel about this or anything else. Really.
I’m upset that I haven’t written anything decent in months and who cares. I’m angry that I’m the only one in my household that pays attention to recycling and it feels like it’s being treated like a joke and who cares? I spend my days waffling around, doing task after mindless task, and who cares. I’m aimless and sad and the highlight of most days is some random TV show and who cares.
Sure, my husband cares. He cares about how I’m feeling, I am sure, but not enough to help figure out how to ease my pain. He doesn’t have the time or means anyway. And to be fair, if I subscribe to the idea that my happiness is MY responsibility, then I guess so is my grief and anger and anxiety and angst.
I guess that leads me back to what I should do about the fact I could not sleep in the middle of the night because I could not stop thinking about my garden… and the iris plants that I discovered were missing yesterday. I was surveying the backyard and picking up winter debris because of the nice weather. When I turned the corner past the hedges on the north side of the yard, I fully expected to see at least 6 inches of spiky green right smack in the middle of the garden. Instead, there was nothing but dirt and a few low-growing spring weeds. The iris were gone.
Not gone like “newly purchased plants snatched before they could be put into the ground” gone. No. We’re talking Gone Gone. Whole bunches of plants–bulbs and all–yanked out of the ground. Upon closer inspection, the only remains are divots in the dirt where they are supposed to be.
The plants are/were the prized grape iris I’ve planted, divided, and transplanted everywhere I’ve lived since 1995. That is the year I bought my first house. The year I officially moved to Omaha and had my first big-girl job. The year I discovered I had an interest in gardening. My mom gifted me a bunch of bulbs from her yard and I stuck them in the ground on the border of my house. To my amazement, I really didn’t have to do much more than that and the plants just thrived.
They bloom with purple flowers in the spring, a common color for an iris. These, however, are unique because they aren’t just purple, they also smell purple, like grape jelly… They’re amazing.
The bulbs grow and multiply underground and every few years I would thin them out and move bunches to other locations. When I sold that house and moved in 2000, I dug some up and brought them with me to my new house. That was four houses and 27 years ago and I haven’t missed a beat. With each move, I’ve repeated the process.
5823 Hamilton Street, 1995-2000
7822 South 97th Circle, 2000-2009
9818 Margo Street, 2009-2016
704 Edgewood Boulevard, 2016-2019
Most of my moves have been in autumn so it has worked out. They are basically dormant at that point in the year. Their spear-like foliage and flower stems are dry and yellow-blown and the knotted clumps of bulb can be dug up and easily transported elsewhere.
My last move, to the house I am at now, was a little different. It was in January of 2019. I had known the move was coming ahead of time so I dug up a few bunches and put them into storage before the ground froze. If the ground is frozen it would be impossible to dig them out. They stayed in cardboard boxes until the move and then lived in the garage at the new house for quite some time. I had to wait for spring to put them in, which is exactly what I did… and then waited another year to see if they survived. They did.
27 years equates to a fair amount of dedication. A person might say I’ve been more committed to these plants than I have any job, marriage, or home. And they’re the only thing I’ve brought on the journey of life with me, with intention and care, besides my children. In a way, they’ve provided peace of mind and a sense of quiet beauty I can count on. They don’t need much. Sunlight, water… and they come up reliably every spring; always in bloom right around Mother’s Day.
I only moved two bunches this last time. I didn’t want to take too much from the family that bought my house or leave giant holes in the ground. In the three years I’ve lived in this house though, they’ve multiplied considerably and grown very dense. I just haven’t dug any out to move elsewhere on this property yet. I figured it could wait. But then yesterday happened and now I’m at a loss.
Though it was just yesterday I discovered they were gone, I’m sure they were yanked out sometime before winter–at the end of the growing season. Jim hired a crew to do yard cleanup and I’m sure it was some person doing a job he or she was told to do. They probably didn’t recognize the plant or know it was a perennial flower. I mean, who puts those in the middle of their veg garden anyway?
Obviously, I do. The rest of this property was largely already landscaped and I needed to put them somewhere. When they came in nicely in spring 2020, I decided I liked to see them there and worked the rest of my annual veg planting around them, so that is where they stayed.
Now they’re gone and the whole scene feels wrong… like a table missing its centerpiece. A piece of me that’s missing. It makes me angry and sad and I really want someone else to feel this with me. I want someone to apologize to me. And more than that, I want someone to fucking care.
Sometimes I feel so alone. I feel better when my kids are here but they are almost grown and often gone. When I have my husband’s attention, I know he cares, but I know his time is often not even his own. When it is, he’s still very busy. I have friends, but everyone has their own life and shit to deal with. I don’t think anyone would understand my sadness today anyway. The plants are just plants, after all.
Perhaps I’ll resort to relying on the kindness of strangers. Strangers who have bought my houses and acquired my gardens. I really wonder what would happen if I drove to those addresses and started knocking on doors. I just might. I might wait about a month though, to see if the plants are still there. I am sure they would be, at least at the last two addresses because that wasn’t all that long ago.
It wasn’t long ago I had a very different life. Single mom, career, independence. I’ve been through so many changes. I think it would be nice, you know, to have something familiar-something that hasn’t changed-to rely on. Guess today that’s too much to ask.
PS. I know I said I was done.. blogging. But a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that. For now.