The heirloom small yellow Iris was first grown by Mary Pientka Henninger‘s great-grandmother, Karolina Tanistra Pientka, of Wilkes – Barre Township in Pennsylvania.
Mary’s grandmother, Evelyn Timek Pientka, of Plains, Pennsylvania, continued to grow the family Iris. Mary’s mother, Regina Leonardi Pientka, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, carried on the tradition of raising the Iris.
Then the Iris was passed down to Mary Pientka Henninger, who raised the beautiful flowers in Hennertown, Pennsylvania, and later in Saratoga Springs, New York. Mary Pientka Henninger dug up a few iris plants from her mother Karolina’s grave in 1980.
The family heirloom Iris is now grown by Mary’s daughter, Jill Henninger Burks, of Cambridge, New York, and at the Wesley Community, where Mary resides, in Saratoga Springs, New York. Now, the flowers grow at the Embury Apartments Cafe Patio Gardens, where a resident gardener introduces the heirloom iris to fellow residents.
Intergenerational gardeners have a living treasure to cherish and look upon today. It is essential to remain connected to our history. We need to know our ancestors to understand who we are today. The destiny of the yellow Iris tells us so.
To learn more about the Heirloom Iris species, visit http://www.signa.org/index.pl?Intro. The Website states, “Scientifically speaking, it is a family of plants which has existed for 60 to 100 million years. In the present day, the family contains roughly 80 genera and 1500 species. They are found in almost every habitat and on almost every continent.”
(Photo copyright Jill Henninger Burks).