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HIST: Iris rescue project

A few days before the national convention, my pals Gesine and Laetitia
enlisted my help with an iris rescue project - digging historic iris
from Betty Ballew's old garden in Stockton, California. Betty passed
away about five years ago, and a number of her extensive iris plantings
are already gone - the rest may be gone soon, as her heirs have
finally settled some legal matters with her estate and may be
selling off the property.

As our interest is mostly in historic iris, we dug mostly
from her historic beds. Unfortunately Betty's trademark
Sharpie-on-plastic-knife markers were nearly all faded
into unreadability or missing altogether, so we don't
have IDs for the iris we dug. A number were blooming,
so we do have descriptions and digital photos of those
flowers. We're confident that they're all named varieties,
and we will be getting a copy of one of Betty's old
lists, to help narrow the possibilities.

As is often the case with these sorts of endeavours,
we dug far more than we have space for, so if anyone
out there would be interested in getting some
unidentified historic iris for their own garden or
elsewhere (say, a community beautification project),
we'd be happy to send some rhizomes to you if you'll
pay the shipping costs. If you'd be interested in
trying to figure out what they are, we could include
a copy of Betty's list too.

Happy irising - the season's just about over for us,
which is making for pretty slim pickings for entries
in tomorrow's iris show!

Jean Richter
San Francisco bay area, zone 9

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