In late March I stayed with my friend Todd in Arlington, Va. Todd is a former neighbor, and I first spoke to him as I walked past his rented house on Barton Street toward the Metro. Todd was sitting outside on the front porch, reading the paper. I complimented him on the beautiful irises growing rampant in his front yard, which is how I earned his nickname of “Iris” before he knew my real name.
A while later Todd and I got to know each other more and became friends. He’s even made the trek down to visit me at Bonafide Farm. I very much appreciate his humor and intellectual curiosity as well as his willingness to pitch in with nonglamorous labor such as driving me to the airport and and helping me move. Which involved Todd carrying about a hundred heavy book boxes, one on each shoulder, two at a time out of my third-floor apartment—a sight and a kindness I won’t forget!
Well, this latest visit was no exception, as we dug an entire bed of irises and daffodils out of his back yard. These are old beds that were planted sometime before Todd moved into the property by someone who obviously loved gardening. It was hard to tell how old the beds were, but the irises had completely filled them with exposed rhizomes growing up and over the brick edges. Definitely good candidates for division!
Though Todd has been living in Barton Manor for many, many years, one day he will have to move out and the property will succumb to the new development that’s overtaking the Clarendon area. Todd wants to make sure every last useful piece of the house and yard, living and not, is salvaged before the demolition begins. Which is how I came home with this:
Those contractors’ bags were full of soil and plants. They were so heavy I had to call in reinforcements just to get them out of the truck. Thank goodness for the tractor!
It took me an entire day to get these irises and daffodils planted in the beds around the house, below. By the end I was running out of spaces to put them, so I stuck a few clumps of daffodils around the giant oak tree at the wood line.
To my surprise the daffodils, which were in bud when we dug them, went ahead and bloomed as though their relocation had never happened. I was very thrilled to see that some of them are a fascinating type that bloom with a yellow corona (the center cup part) that then fades to a peachy pink as the blossom ages. Very cool!
I totally didn’t expect it, given the late transplanting, but several of the irises also bloomed as though nothing had happened. I guess they like their new home.
I am very grateful to Todd for his gift and glad to see a bit of Barton Manor live on at Bonafide Farm. Seeing these plants remind me not only of my years spent living in the city but also of my good friend.