Saturday, July 21, 2012

still-sound 86. Iris

I pass irises when I walk Rosie through the campus of a respiratory hospital near my home.  The garden there is well maintained.  I associate irises with my birthday since, in Pennsylvania, they only bloom in May.  In California they bloom throughout the year.

I read that the iris itself has no scent - that perfumers use the rhizome, the iris root, for its distinctive earthy, powdery smell.  I know this rhizomatic smell.  But I also know the smell of the iris blossom itself.  Not the compact flowers they sell at supermarkets -- these irises truly have no smell.  The big, bearded blooms that appear on my walks with Rosie have a beautiful fragrance.  I lean in and breathe deeply, directing my nose towards the pale yellow fuzz that crawls into the center of the flower.  The scent is a combination of clover and a spray of lemon oil released from a peel...with a faint trace of a small skunk shuffling by, a half mile away.

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