Currently, it's a perfect May morning with blue skies and sunshine. That could change at any moment of course, so I'm basking in it (fully) while it lasts. We had a frost yesterday morning. Fortunately, the new beet sprouts that were planted several days ago didn't seem to mind. But I'm thankful the tomato seedlings are under the protection of a gro-lite. Looking out the window, I spy Iris standing tall, still in bud. Any day now I expect a beautiful show. From past seasons, a few were blogged here. And here. Who can resist this gorgeous confection of spring, I ask you?
Surprisingly, it wasn't an easy shoe-in as the Tennessee state flower. In 1919, Tennessee legislation started the process of choosing a state flower. School children were to designate a favorite. The "flower candidates" were listed in the newspaper and the voting began. To the surprise of some, the Passion Flower was certified the winner, when apparently, it wasn't even known to be in the running. Poems and pamphlets were quickly issued to usher in the selection and it was accepted--for a time.
Eleven years later, as the gardening clubs gained attention for its efforts in cultivating the Iris, and Nashville became known as the "Iris City", dissatisfaction for the passion flower as a representative for the state grew. A claim arose that the passion flower had never been officially adopted which prompted the Tennessee Legislation to get involved and it approved a joint resolution on April 19, 1933 to adopt the Iris instead. The passion flower had not been forgotten however, and garden clubs, botanists, and newspapers across the state all had something to say. For a time, Tennessee it seemed, had two state flowers. Indecision and confusion about which flower was legit lingered for years.
Finally, in 1973, there was resolve when the General Assembly designated the passion flower as the official state wildflower, and the Iris as the state cultivated flower, making everybody happy. No specific type was designated out of over 170 species of Iris (Genus Iridaceae), but today purple is still the most commonly recognized and accepted as the official state flower.
COLORS: outer petals--purple #550; upper petals--lilac blue #3839; knots--yellow #744; leaves--yellow-green #989, center--navy blue #823; letters--smoke gray #645.
If you are new to the project--the State Flower Quilt Block list is updated with each new addition, so if you are looking for a specific flower, it's a handy resource. Enjoy!