When the big freeze happened here in the hills in the late 70's, we were without power for ten days. On several of those fridgid days the temperature got down to NINE. Yes, NINE! We survived, but most of the exotic tropical plants in the yard and poolhouse did not. The large lemon tree dissolved. The 1,000 plus collection of temperature/humidity controlled orchids in the greenhouse, which had come with the house purchase, turned to mush, and no wonder.
For a while I took solace in the large rose garden. Then, about fifteen years ago my friends Stacey and Andrea invited us to an excursion to an iris garden in San Jose. What was an iris, I wondered? Surprise, for I was soon to add another addiction to my collection. I think I bought three bulbs that first day. Since then I have expanded my pleasures to about 75 clumps, and visited eight iris gardens. My computer overflows with iris photos, and my house walls sport eight framed iris paintings. My painting storage drawers are stuffed with fifteen or twenty more, not counting the ones I have sold. This week there are about fifty blossoms still strutting their bearded faces. In another two weeks, however, they will hibernate till next spring, and I will either have to find a new indulgence, or go back to ice cream.
The photo at the top is one of the current smile producers.