What made you smile today?

When you come upon something in the garden, completely unexpected, are you like me, standing looking at it with a soppy grin on your face? When I put the car away in the garage this morning and started walking up the drive, I was greeted by this beautiful flower, Iris unguicularis.

Iris unguicularis

So beautiful, so pristine and so unexpected in December. It is usually after Christmas when they flower here, so I wasn’t expecting to see it so soon.

Iris unguicularis

I counted 5 more buds, so there should be flowers for a while now.

Iris unguicularis

Something has had a bit of a nibble at this flower, even so it is still beautiful, speckled with raindrops. I think this variety is Walter Butt, I have another clump of Iris unguicularis in the back garden which is darker when it flowers and is the species, so off I went, but not a bud to be seen. Never mind, the ones in the front made me smile when I saw them, what has made you smile today?

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30 Responses to What made you smile today?

  1. Cathy says:

    Oh that’s easy, Pauline – it was the sunset…. If I hadn’t seen irises at Plas Newydd on Wednesday I would have been surprised at your pictures, and I certainly exclaimed when I saw the ones at PN! I was hoping someone would say what sort of irises they were as I have never come across any flowering in winter – they were a lilac colour, but darker than yours. What a lovely surprise for you!

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, we didn’t have a sunset unfortunately, grey clouds all day.I think the Iris unguicularis you saw would be I.unguicularis Mary Barnard, which is a deeper purple. So lovely to see such fresh flowers in December.

  2. rusty duck says:

    That Iris is a stunner!
    Watching a woodpecker, with the sun on his feathers, has made me smile today.

    • Pauline says:

      Woodpeckers are so beautiful Jessica, lovely markings, we had a Great Spotted one on the feeder today for such a long time, it was enjoying the peanuts.

  3. pbmgarden says:

    Well, your Iris unguicularis makes me smile today! Such a lovely delicate color. I watched birds at our feeder all day–very peaceful time. Susie

    • Pauline says:

      Susie, I love watching the birds on our feeders too, just outside the kitchen window. The iris is a lovely colour isn’t it, it was wonderful finding it, I’d forgotten all about it.

  4. michael says:

    Your iris is beautiful!! 🙂 those grow wild here in our area!

    My grandson is 15 months old, he makes me smile! 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Oh Michael, a 15 month old grandson, I bet he keeps you in smiles all day long! My grandsons are now 13 and 11 years old, they still make me smile! How fantastic that you have them growing wild where you live, I hadn’t really thought about where they originated.

  5. Beautiful iris! Love the soft color! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  6. Cathy says:

    What a lovely surprise! Made me smile too – irises in December!
    On Sunday I spotted our resident squirrel – he always makes me smile with his antics. We only have red squirrels here, but he’s almost black in winter.

    • Pauline says:

      Irises in December doesn’t seem right does it, it was a lovely surprise. You are so lucky having red squirrels, we had them where we used to live in the NW of the UK, but down here we just have grey, even so they keep me amused when they leap from tree to tree, we can see them now that most of the leaves are down.

  7. Helen says:

    hi Pauline
    I think I have the same iris and it is also flowering, only got mine recently and it is called Walter Butt, which amuses my son

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Helen, I think mine is Walter Butt, I know it is paler than the one in the back garden, so this morning I looked it up in my book “Bulb” by Anna Pavord and there it was. The one in the back, which isn’t showing any signs of flowering is the species and is a bit darker. It was lovely finding it yesterday, totally unexpected.

  8. Christina says:

    Ah! Pauline, this year your Iris unguicularis is earlier than mine. I did check the plant last week as last year there were flowers at this time but no sign yet; and yes I am just like you, I find something surprising and I smile.

    • Pauline says:

      I don’t think Christina, that it has ever been this early before, it was so lovely to find it. I must go and clear round the one at the back, so that I can see when the buds do decide to appear. Glad to hear that you too wander round your garden smiling!

  9. Wendy says:

    The Iris is lovely. It would make me smile, too – especially in a gloomy December.

  10. I haven’t seen Walter Butt in years, so your pictures made me smile! In the spring I sowed Cerinthe major and the seedlings were all eaten by slugs – and then, mysteriously, I keep finding a seedling here and there. I have absolutely no idea where they come from (they were never in the garden before), but each time I come across them I have another huge grin on my face – that’s four seedlings now I think. Thanks for reminding me on a rather gloomy Monday.

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Cathy and thanks for leaving a message. It’s super when the garden surprises us and makes us smile, so glad your Cerinthe is still there in your garden, keeping you happy!

  11. Chloris says:

    Oh wow! That is a bit early, mine are not showing at all. I’m not surprised you had a big smile on your face.
    My smile was caused by plump buds on two of my narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ Sometimes they are out for Xmas so I shall be watching them every day.

    • Pauline says:

      I thought it was early too Chloris, that’s why I wasn’t expecting to see them ! How wonderful to have N.Cedric Morris almost in flower, I’ve read about it in Beth Chatto’s books, but not seen it for sale anywhere, no wonder they put a smile on your face!

  12. Angie says:

    It’s no surprise your Iris made you smile. It’s very early isn’t it?
    What made me smile….sourcing a plant at a nursery that I have been unable find for the last year!

    • Pauline says:

      It is supposed to flower in the winter Angie, but I think mine usually flowers after Christmas. You must have a great feeling of satisfaction, finding your plant at last, will we be seeing it on your blog, I hope so.

  13. Anna says:

    Oh what a beauty Pauline and scented too I believe – now that’s gone on to my wish list but what a shame that I’ll have to wait a year to make that particular wish come true. Making me smile today has been galanthus ‘Faringdon Double’ which is now out in flower 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, it’s a long way down to sniff it! Hope you soon find one. How wonderful, you have a snowdrop flowering, I have Faringdon Double somewhere, I’ll have to go and try to find mine and see if it is flowering.

  14. wellywoman says:

    I spotted a primrose flowering. I’m hoping there might be a few to pick for the Christmas table.

  15. I love this iris which I have been enjoying in a friend’s garden for years. This spring he gave me two plants so before long I will be smiling too. For now though, my fall-blooming snowdrops make me smile.

    • Pauline says:

      Carolyn, I’m not surprised your snowdrops made you smile, they would me too! The Iris unguicularis looks so vulnerable, flowering at this time of year, it was a lovely surprise when I noticed it.

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