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new to this list...

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: new to this list...
  • From: plb123@psu.edu (Paul and Heather Bruhn)
  • Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 14:38:35 -0700 (MST)

Hello everyone!

I'm Heather Bruhn, and I'm hooked on my iris garden (sounds like I just
joined Iris Anonymous!).  I'm currently pursuing a Master's of Arts in Art
History at Penn State, so my garden is one of the few outlets I have.  My
husband Paul is also pursuing a Master's at Penn State (Electrical
Engineering) but he manages to hold down a "real job" as well.  I guess you
could call us starving newlyweds.

I got hooked on irises as a kid in Jr. High.  My folks had recently moved to
Morgantown, WV, and mom and I found this great old farm about 1/2 mile away
that had a sign reading "Bakers Flowers" out front.  Well, old Mrs. Baker
was quite a flower nut, and she supported her habit by selling off pieces of
her flower beds.  She had a booming daffodil business and quite a good
daylily business as well.  Mrs. Baker also had some Siberians and a pile of
her own Japanese hybrids.  We bought almost everything we could get from
her.  When my parents moved to Indiana while I was in college, they weren't
able to take the irises or daylilies with them.  I took Paul, while we were
still dating, to see my old home a few years ago and found, to my horror,
that the flowers had been dug up and replaced with tomatoes!  Later we
visited Mrs. Baker's and found out she had died and that all her Japanese
hybrids had died as well--there was nobody there who knew how to baby them.
Two years ago I went back to Morgantown and purchased a bit of each of the
Siberian iris from Mrs. Baker's daughter.  Paul and I had finally moved into
a house with a yard and I was determined to save the Siberians I remember
blooming every spring when I was growing up.  That's how my garden started.

I currently have a decent selection of beardless irises and daylilies, most
from the wonderful gardens of George Bush and Jack Norrick.  I also have
some I. pseudacorus that I rescued from a tractor in 1995 and lots of
Japanese and Siberian irises that I've purchased on sale at local nurseries.
Folks around here just don't buy the beardless iris, so I snap them up on
sale.  My bearded irises come from a very different source--a friend of my
next door neighbor.  I live next to Rob Berghage, who runs the Penn State
Test Garden, where many of the All America Selections are determined.  One
of the other professors in his department is an iris nut who cleans out his
bearded iris beds every year and gives BOXES to Rob.  The little duplexes we
live in here have decent sized yards for small families and newlyweds, but
there isn't room for the Berghages to put in boxes full of iris every year,
so I get what's left over.  It's a great way to get plants, particularly for
a starving student. 

 I'd like to do a lot of trading in the future (already have started some
with Donald Mosser) so I can support my habit but still manage to feed my
husband and pay the bills.

Thanks for "hearing" me out.  Hope to get a lot of information and
entertainment out of this!

Heather Bruhn

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