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Re: OT AIS membership

I'm trying to think back and remember how I came to be
a member of the AIS...
When I was a child, I remember our neighbor had a few
irises growing between the vegetable garden and the
lawn. She would just mow them after they bloomed. I
remember thinking they were unusual. I've always had
an interest in plants and living things in general. My
mother didn't grow irises until I was much older. She
only grew one large light purple kind. On one of my
wandering walks, I found a purple bitone iris that was
growing in an overgrown barnyard area. I'm guessing
that it came from discarded rhizomes or seedpods that
had been thrown across the fence with other yard
waste. This was a common practice in the old
neighborhood. I was already playing around with
pollination of roses and anything else I had growing.
So, after a mis-start (applying pollen to the beards)
I pollinated my found iris with Mom's purple. I got
pods and then seedlings and then started looking for
information. I must have read about the AIS in an
article about irises in some gardening magazine or
other. I figured I'd try it for a year. I've been a
member ever since. I'm 38 now. I've never been an
"active" member of the society; I've only attended one
or two functions. Other matters of life have kept me
"too busy" for much of that. But I've enjoyed the
bulletins and "The World of Iris" and enjoyed getting
to know (even if only marginally) the iris nursery
owners, the hybridizers and even the "grow and show"
folks. Even when money's been tight, like now
actually, I would be hard-pressed to give up my
membership. I think that there are plenty of future
iris-lovers out there who only need three things to
get them hooked:
1) a few irises (even if they're not the latest and
greatest). That's why I like someone idea of giveaways
for new members. After all, historically irises have
travelled all over by way of gifting.
2) Some basic information, and resources to find more
about whatever specifically interests each new
3) A little exposure to the wonderful bunch of
iris-people who are overflowing with enthusiam for the
flower and good will in general.

With those thoughts in mind, I'm thinking of gift
certificates (for irises) and gift memberships (to the
AIS) for a few people who I think already have the
makings of iris-lovers.
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