An Heirloom Iris Story

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 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).


About Butterfly Woman Publishing

Butterfly Woman Publishing, is owned by the author. Books include "My Name is Butterfly" and "The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book." 2021 publication includes Butterflies of the Prairie Habitat. 2014 "My Name is Butterfly" is now available as an eBook on Amazon. The book was also published in Spanish. My second book, "The Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book" was published in Spanish in 2014. Owner Butterfly Woman Publishing Former Executive Director: Happy Tonics, Inc. A nonprofit for environmental education in northwest Wisconsin. I live in Saratoga Springs, New York, the home of my ancestors since 1866. My mother's ancestry is from Ireland, and my father's ancestry is from England.
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