My daddy had the most beautiful iris bed I have ever seen.
We both ordered from Cooley’s (now defunct) decades ago.
I divided up my collection, but Daddy constructed a bed just for his dozen types.
Those iris exploded with color for years.
Then they got too crowded, so Daddy and I dug them up. We amended the soil in the bed. Then we bagged up the leftover rhizomes and gave them to Daddy’s friends.
We attached the Cooley planting instructions to each paper bag.
His iris bed looked perfectly spaced and tended. We were looking forward to spring.
Then the cancer came. Daddy could not garden anymore. He could only direct from his chair next to an open window.
During a visit home, I walked up to check the iris bed. The leaves were lying flat on the ground, detached from their half-eaten rhizomes. A vole had been eating my precious Daddy’s precious iris.
I researched solutions, I mixed sharp gravel in with the soil, smashed every tunnel and installed a stake that makes noise. I guess this helped some.
Daddy died in July that year.
I still tend his iris bed. There are signs of a vole despite my efforts.
The iris are blooming again now. Only two are hybrids. The rest are old types that were never planted there.
Maybe Daddy and I missed some seed pods during that terrible time. I do not know.
All I know is I feel like I keep losing things of great value no matter how hard I try to prevent it.