A VIEW FROM A FIRST TIMER! (long)
This is a hello from another excited irisarian! This is my first
National AIS Convention. I left a dry [unusual] Southern California on
Saturday morning at 5 a.m. I was driving with two fellow irisarians.
The first day took us to St. George, Utah. A pretty community just
across the Nevada border. The main thing that stood out was that the
California desert is still GREEN the first week in June! It was
Sunday found us traveling from St. George up and across Utah to Grand
Junction, Colorado. We stopped at an Indian museum just after going
from Interstate 15 to Interstate 70. The construction of the highway in
the mid 80s brought to light a fairly large Indian settlement that was
last inhabited in the mid-thirteenth century. The museum had several
easy hiking trails in the vicinity complete with printed material to
guide you to the important sites. The area was covered with pictographs
and petroglyphs. Eastern Utah may not have many people living in it;
but the landscape is awesome. Sometimes you felt like you might have
been on another world.
Monday took us along the Colorado river through the Rockies. The sheer
cliffs outside Grand Junction are incredible. At one point a portion of
the side of the Grand Mesa had come down on the highway this winter.
There are boulders beside the road that are large than several houses.
The Colorado river is really high and moving very fast. It is easy to
see how the Grand Canyon and other areas were carved out by this very
beautiful river. Interstate 70 winds through the Rocky Mountains and
delivers memorable sights. I took several "out the window" shots. I
hope the final results will capture just a little of the beauty that I
saw. We arrived at "Marriott south" [AKA Motel 6] about 2 in the
afternoon. We checked in and unpacked. Next task was to find an easy
route to the convention hotel and get registered.
Yesterday, we checked out the boutique and then headed in to the city
for shopping and flower watching. We hit several antique shops and in
doing so found a wonderful garden store. The shop had lots of garden
architecture (fountains, sculpture, etc.). For the zillionth time we
decided that we really needed to have a trailer if we wanted to get
everything that we wanted home. The store had several TBs in pots in
full bloom. Much to the credit of the store's owner they didn't have
names. They did have accurate color descriptions. With so many iris
that have similar characteristics the most responsible thing is not to
guess on the name.
All over Denver gardens had blooming iris. Most were historics and not
just yellow or blue. One commercial garden that we went to see was
called IRIS4U. It is located in the middle of an older neighborhood on
approximately 2 acres. The garden doesn't appear to be a "working"
garden because I saw NO tags indicating an active hybridizing program.
>From my observation it looks like in this part of the country that you
have to allow a rhizome at least two years to produce sufficient
increase to sell. The selection ranged from new introductions, i.e.
Larry Lauer's BOYSENBERRY BUTTERCUP and Brad Kasparek's BEWILDERBEAST to
wonderful historics. The garden had some smaller varieties but there
weren't any in bloom. The garden does have a problem with a wild
morning glory. Quite a bit of the TB beds and almost all of the beds of
smaller iris were almost choked with it. I promise not to complain
about my weeds ever again.
We also went to the home of Dr. Jack Durrance. We weren't fortunate
enough to meet him; but, just to be able to see his garden was a
wonderful experience. The garden is tucked away in a busy neighborhood
quite close to the Cherry Creek shopping area. One section contained
quite a few of the many iris that Dr. Durrance has introduced over the
years. I hope my pictures do the flowers justice. I got shots of
HIDDEN SAPPHIRE, ARIZONA HOLIDAY, and HILO SURF to name just a few.
Another part of the garden contains two beds of his last seedlings. So
many beautiful flowers. The portion of the garden with other introduced
iris was just a first year bed and so the bloom was sparse.
After stopping by the Tattered Cover bookstore to explore and shop it
was back to convention central. There we met lots of friends and made
some new ones. I picked up my "GEEK TAG". I am very excited an looking
forward to the next four days. Lots of section meetings tomorrow and
then TWELVE (yes 12) gardens to be seen. Hmmmm. Maybe I didn't bring
enough film. From the small portion of Denver that I have already seen
it looks like the folks in Denver and mother nature have gone out of
their way to deliver a truly breath taking national convention.
Time to get dressed and head out for a very full day.