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.