Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tansi Smoke Signals

May 28, 2014

Tansi in full bloom!

CROSSVILLE — Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The earth laughs in flowers.” The irises were especially gorgeous this season. Having graced the gardens of Lake Tansi, irises beautified the community and illustrated Emerson’s idea.

The Tennessee State flower has an especially unique history dating back to Ancient Greece. The iris genus is a part of the Iridaceae family of flowering plants belonging to the Liliales order. This same order includes freesias, gladiolus and crocus. Irises are categorized as rhizome or bulbous and subcategorized as bearded, beardless and crested.

The Greek word for iris means “rainbow” and is suiting in consideration of the vast array of colors displayed by its flowers. It is named for Iris, the Greek goddess, who was the messenger of the gods and the personification of a rainbow that acted as a bridge between heaven and earth. In death, purple irises were planted over graves to summon the goddess to guide those on their journey across the rainbow bridge to heaven. 

In Ancient Egypt, depictions of irises have been found in several palaces denoting victory, power and rule. In the Middle Ages, the meaning of irises became synonymous with the French monarchy and the emblem of the “Fleur-de-lys” (flower of lily) became a nationally known symbol of royalty.

Irises can be found all over the world. And while every flower has a meaning, the iris flower represents eloquence. Through its history, the iris has loosely come to symbolize faith, hope and wisdom. The iris has been known to adopt other such meanings based on the geographic region and color. Generally, purple (or dark blue) denotes royalty, means wisdom and sends compliments. The yellow iris can mean passion while blue stands for faith and hope, and white represents purity.

The iris can also be suggestive of a host of other virtues, such as valor, promise in love and cherished friendship. In China, the iris is known as the “Tze-Hu-tieh” or “The Purple Butterfly.” In Germany, the iris is known as the “Shwertlilie” or “sword lily.” The blue flowers of the Japanese iris is a symbol of bravery in Japan. The iris is well known as an icon of chivalry and stylized national emblems of the iris have been adopted by Sicily, Navarra, Hungary, Britain, and France at different points in time.

From early on, irises were ideally used for the purpose of making perfume, not surprisingly, as their florets possess a delicate, yet prominent, sweetness reminiscent of violets. Irises were also used medicinally. The irises’ rhizomes (tubers) contain a highly concentrated amount of tannins and glycosides used for their emetic and purgative qualities. 

The iris was designated as State of Tennessee’s cultivated flower by the legislature in 1933. The purple iris is commonly accepted as the state flower, although the state specified only the genus Iridiceae and neither a variety nor color.

Lake Tansi residents enjoyed the lake-luster of beautiful iris blooms exploding all over the community. Wanda Justice’s had her white ‘Immortality’ irises front and center in her landscaping. And rightfully so, since they were perfectly breathtaking with bloom-heads so illustrious, the stems sagged under the weight. Justice also cultivates the dark blue Siberian irises, "Iris Siberica," or "Blue Flag," and often mistaken for Japanese irises as they are very similar. Hearty iris varieties also adorn her border gardens along the perimeter of her yard. 

“The irises were so beautiful this year,” said Justice. When asked which iris was her favorite, she hesitated as she obviously enjoys them all, and finally said, “I guess these white ones are my favorite. They are just so lacy and delicate.”

Amelia Hawk’s favorite flower is the iris. She adores any and all varieties of irises, but is drawn to the deep, rich purples.

“They are so elegant,” admired Hawk. Some of her irises she received as gifts from her friends in Richard City and the others came from her mother’s house. Every year, passers-by inquire after Hawk’s irises and she loves them so much she is always ready to share them with others.

Hawk’s iris bed included such beauties as the soft, barely yellow "Flavescens," with almost white falls with purple veins. She also had the beardless "Blue Flag" irises with smallish, cobalt blooms and a fantastically unique white and purple large bearded variety akin to "Hemstitched" with solid violet inner petals and white falls with violet outlines. 

No matter the variety, no matter the color, the iris is a symbol of Tennessee love and Tennessee pride; especially here in Lake Tansi. 

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Tansi Smoke Signals
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    June 25, 2014

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    Brenda Toodle has made quite an impact on Lake Tansi in her nearly two decades of being a resident. Before her move back to Michigan, her many friends held a farewell reception on May 28 at the Thunderbird to send their best wishes with her.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tansi launches Operation Safe Community

    You may have heard that a neighborhood watch group is being established again in Tansi. After a recent break-in in our neighborhood, my wife, Paula, talked with Lt. Gary Howard of the Sheriff’s Department to see what we, as a neighborhood, could do to minimize crime in Tansi.

    June 25, 2014

  • Lake Tansi Golf Club honored for support of veterans

    Naval Master Chief Dennis Sassenger II, stationed in Hawaii, visited his father, our own Dennis Sassenger, in Lake Tansi. He was so impressed with the way he was treated as a guest and veteran at the golf course that he returned home and started the process of thanking us for the welcome and support he received.

    June 25, 2014

  • Lake Tansi celebrates Memorial Day in a big way

    Memorial Day is a time to reflect upon those of our fallen troops who gave their lives to preserve America’s values and freedoms. To those soldiers and their families we give our greatest admirations and deepest appreciation. Knowing what Memorial Day is about gives reason to pause, to pray and to share in those hard won freedoms with family and friends.

    June 25, 2014

  • Swim 1.JPG Never too soon to start water safety lessons

    Lake Tansi would like to encourage everyone who enjoys the water to play safely. Lake Tansi has such wonderful amenities, including the lake and pools, but playing it safe is better than not playing at all.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pan 1.JPG On the Hook with the Pan Fish Club

    Hook, line and sinker, the Lake Tansi Pan Fish Anglers Club has enjoyed the first half of its fishing season.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Mike Steinmann/Salvation Army Golf Tournament set for July 26

    The seventh annual Mike Steinmann/Salvation Army Golf Tournament is set for this year on Saturday, July 26 at the Lake Tansi Golf Course.

    June 25, 2014

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