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"Maine Chance" Tour Group Continues Despite Monsoon Bertha

  • To: IRIS-L@Rt66.com
  • Subject: "Maine Chance" Tour Group Continues Despite Monsoon Bertha
  • From: tedwhite@juno.com (Edward W White)
  • Date: Sat, 13 Jul 1996 21:47:30 PST

I got to meet three very special people today when Kathy Guest, Carolyn
Schaffner, and Ellen Gallagher arrived in Maine as part of their "Maine
Chance" tour. They were here principally to view Japanese iris gardens,
but you can bet they had
their eyes glued on some of the very early daylily bloom here, too. Kathy
as a judge at our Maine Iris Society's Japanese Iris Show held today in
neighboring Auburn. Judging with Kathy were Hal Stahly, Bob Bauer, and
John Coble (hope I haven't left someone out). Following the judging, Kathy, Carolyn, and Ellen, stopped by our garden with about 22 other members
in their entourage. Torrential rains didn't stop these brave souls from
trudging through the garden. It was a
pleasure guiding them through the garden despite the deluge. We toured
the John White JI seedling garden as sheets of rain fell.  We even took
in the Ted White daylily seedling garden.  Before leaving, Kathy
presented me with an official "Maine Chance" T-shirt with a large
Japanese iris on the front, and on the back, a list of all the gardens
their group was visiting while on tour.

 As far as I was concerned, the best part of my day was just meeting
Kathy, Carolyn, and Ellen, and at last being able to match at least
three faces with names. As their vans were leaving, I finally realized
that I was soaked to my skin. So much for that old military raincoat
that I have found so dependable in the past. Rain saturated every part
of it, and there wasn't an inch of clothing that escaped the downpour. I
decided I best shed the soaking wet clothing, and while doing so, heard
the doorbell ring. I couldn't answer it as a was headed for a warm shower. When I came out, I looked down into the JI seedling patch, and there
was Dr. Currier McEwen, age 94, his wife Elisabeth, and a Maine Iris
Society guide. I was stunned to see Currier sloshing around in the monsoon conditions to check on the latest  John White seedlings. Just checking
on the seedlings was not enough for the good doctor. He was gathering blooms which he would take back to South Harpswell to pollinate some JI's in
his garden. Currier and my father are the best of friends, and they are
constantly sharing pollen. 

Dr. McEwen is an amazing person -- a man of many talents. He is a virtual
living library of botanical information. We are all very fortunate that
he has written and published his last two books on Siberian and Japanese
irises, for they contain a wealth of information that otherwise might
someday be lost forever. He did all this work when he was more than 90
years old --- incredible!!

Looking outside about 8:15 P.M., I noticed that one of my father's JI and
Siberian iris seedling gardens was under several inches of water. On the
opposite end of the property water is racing through the daylily
seedling garden. Only the foolhardy would venture out now. The ground in
the seedling areas is so soft it might pull a grown man  right down
through God's green earth. The daylilies, of course, are simply reveling
in all this rain. 

When Kathy, Carolyn, and Ellen return, they will give you all the details
of their tour, so I'll stop right here.

That's it for tonight.

Ted White
Minot, Maine
USDA Monsoon Zone 5

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