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OT-BIO: Steve Markley

Hi Everyone,
I am new to the list(just found it) and 3 years new to growing Iris. My
wife and I moved to Boise (zone 6) about 7 years ago from a 20 year stint
in the central mountains of Idaho -- doing that Rocky Mountain High thing.
Growing anything but grass, pine trees, native wild flowers, and maybe some
pansies was a real chore. In fact some of you may have heard of the town --
Stanley, Idaho -- a few times a year they have the coldest spot in the

My wife and I were raised on farms and after not growing any plants for 20
years we had a lot of pent-up plant idolatry in us. After moving to the
valley we discovered all the great plants that grow here. We are awestruck
every spring and summer with the explosion of color. A couple of evenings
every week we drive through the neighborhoods and look at gardens and see
what is blooming. 

The house we bought was owned by an old couple who had been here since the
late 40's. He was a gardner so we inherited a lot of plants. He was really
into roses but had quite a few perrenials, including some Iris growing (is
it OK to capitalize the IRIS word here?). Actually, he had quite a
periennal garden in one section and we took a lot of it out. Coming from
grass and pine trees, we thought it was a weed patch! Now we are sick about
it, but console ourselves with the fact that it was overgrown... Anyway, he
had 4 different Iris (3-TB: and 1-MED: SDB or MDB) growing and we kept
them. They appear to be historics or at least from the 70's according to
some of the neighbors. 

Well, we watched those Iris bloom for a couple of seasons and got hooked.
We cleared one of the veggy gardens and started planting... We have been
adding rhizomes from a local Iris growers, Maryotts, and Schreiners. We now
have about 30 cultivars growing. Mostly TBs but we have some SDB and MDBs
too. I see more rhizomes in our future and maybe some hybridizing -- looks
like we may lose another veggy garden, maybe some of the lawn, too. Wait,
maybe a lot of the lawn!

I have been reading Grosvenor's book and am eager to learn. I just found
the list a little over a week ago and immediately signed up. I am sure I'll
have dumb questions from time to time so I'll apologize in advance. I also
get kind of wordy at times...

Steve Markley

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