For this week’s vignette, I want to feature a happy accident in my garden. A friend gave me a start of some sort of Iris siberica. I had commented favorably on those long, strappy leaves, and the elegant Fleur de lys flowers so – being a gentle and generous soul – she kindly shared. I think I stuck it in the ground just to get it planted, more so than actually thinking about where it should go. Then one day, suddenly I saw this:
I wish I could take credit for this, but I really can’t. Somehow, I had forgotten (or failed to notice) that our little native Vancouveria hexandra – or Inside-Out flower – was planted in just about that same spot. The following spring, the Vancouveria pushed through the smothering foliage of the Iris to showcase its odd little flowers, and remind me of its existence.
I think what struck me most about this combo is the linear texture of the Iris contrasted with the duck feet forms of the Vancouveria leaves, while the colors of the two are nearly identical. That monochromatic backdrop serves as a great foil for these minuscule little flowers. Have you ever looked at them close-up? They are really quite stunning. Their common name refers to their adorable parachute-like flowers, which you have to get down on your knees to really see.
The first time I ever saw a Vancouveria was shortly after we moved to the Pacific NW, and were hiking in the gorgeous Gorge. I thought they were some kind of monstrous Maidenhair fern on steroids, and it took a while for me to figure out that they were indeed a plant in their own right. It was love at first sight, but I really don’t think I noticed they flowered until I spotted them as part of this auspicious accidental pairing. Sometimes, cram-scaping really pays off! I still haven’t decided on a permanent home for the Iris (which by now has gotten quite hefty in size). But what I do know is that when it moves, the Vancouveria will have to go with it – otherwise I will miss out on one of my favorite springtime treats.