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Greetings from Denver.  I can't remember the last time that I was
soooooo cold.  I have had an unforgettable experience so far.  On
Wednesday I attended the section meetings for Tall Bearded and PCN iris
plus 1/2 of the meeting for Louisana's and 1/2 of the section meeting
for Reblooming iris.  There is just no way to go to all the section
meetings because to avoid adding another day to the convention they have
to over lap.  Learned lots of inspiring things.  I am all ready to go
home and try my hand at those temperamental PCNs.  I have a much better
handle on when to divide those rebloomers and how quickly to get them
back in the ground so that you minimize the potential to lose a bloom
cycle.  I met many new friends and have actually met several of the
folks with geek badges face to face. 

It is funny.  I am not a person who usually wears buttons or the like;
but, I too sport buttons for Denver, Oklahoma, and Dallas.  I am no sure
if my suitcase will hold another catalog; but, if I spot one I am sure
that the uncontrollable urge will over come all logic and I will get it.

At the welcoming dinner 'meet and greet' I met Rusty from Texas.  A very
gracious young man.  There are quite a few future AIS leaders in
attendance.  At dinner we got the chance to visit with some of our
Region 20 hosts.  It is really awesome to listen to all the hard work
that it takes to get the National Convention put together.  Their work
doesn't end when we get here to have fun.  They are unselfishly putting
long days of work so that we have the best possible Denver experience.

Now to the reason for the title.  On Monday it was in the 90's.  Tuesday
was a little colder -- high 80's.  Wednesday, I think that the weather
man said that the high was in the mid 50's.  Today, we got up to drizzle
and low clouds.  It was windy or rainy or both all day long.  No one on
our bus had enough clothes.  As soon as we got home several of us hit
the local K-Mart looking for warm clothes -- NO LUCK.  It seems that
they had just sold the last of the winter stock.  Tomorrow is supposed
to be even colder.  I am going for layers--a couple of tee shirts, a
couple of sweatshirts etc.

Today our bus way on the "CITY" garden loop.  We saw 5 gardens.  Our
first stop was the Chapman's garden.  The garden is about 45 minutes
south west of Denver in the foothills of the Rockies.  On the way we saw
deer, rabbits and other wild life.  In the garden everyone got down to
the business of evaluating and enjoying the iris.  In addition to the
guest iris, they have a fairly extensive collection of TBs, IBs and
historic.  I even got a lesson on why one iris was NOT MADAME CHEREAUX
[spelling -- I am really tired.]  from Mike.  One of the highlights (?)
was when the cat brought his breakfast into the iris garden--a baby
rabbit.  I am not sure if he wanted to share or just show us how great
he was.  Glenna says that with El Meano they have a lot of rabbits and
the cat performs a real service in protecting the iris beds from the

The whistle blew all too soon and we were on our way to the next garden
at the Chapman's home.  This garden is also in the foothills of the
Rockies.  A little higher but not quite so hilly.  Here we got to see
Arilbreds, Historic, Guest iris, Lowell's seedlings and a "Fabulous
Forties" garden.  They also have some incredible peonies.  (Can you tell
I come from Southern California, where we would kill for the ability to
grow these wonderful flowers.)    You never seem to have enough time in
a garden.  I quickly learned to go to the farthest point in the garden
and work my way back to the front.  In doing this I avoid lots of

Next we were off to the Hudson Gardens.  This is a regional public
display garden.  Here we met up with the other three buses on our loop.
It gave us a chance to compare notes and have lunch.  The folks from
Region 20 even had guest iris for us to enjoy here.  It is really great,
I go around taking my pictures and making notes AND eaves dropping on
all the wonderful information that goes on around me.  In addition to
the iris, the garden has a collection of roses, a nifty rock garden and
a bed of perennials.  There were even some PCNs in bloom.

The first garden for the afternoon was at the home of Rob Stetson.
Rob's garden is in south central Denver.  He has about 2 1/2 lots in a
residental neighborhood.  Rob is an active hybridizer.  Every garden we
have been to has lots of his seedlings.  He is really working hard on
that elusive TB red.  By this time the temperature is still dropping.  I
still don't know how my fingers can work the camera; but, I did get a
lot of great pictures.  In Rob's garden we saw our first beardless guest
iris.   (Several spurias)

Off to the last garden at the Love's.  They have a rather large lot (at
least by Southern California standards).  In this garden we had lots of
guest siberians in addition to the bearded iris guests.  The Love's
personal iris collection includes siberian, spuria, historic and lots of
bearded iris.  Once again that whistle got us back to the bus and back
to the hotel.  

I had about a 2 hour break to get something to eat and warmer clothes
and back for two sessions of judges training.  The first was on Aril and
Arilbreds.  I learned so much.  Let's see if I can retain it.  The
second session was on Border Bearded iris (it the proportion --
stupid.).  Then back out into the rain and wind and back to Motel 6.  I
realize that this is way too long and may be a little incoherent; but I
have been up since 5:30 and have to do the same tomorrow.  We are off to
the Boulder and Golden, Colorado area.  Northwest of Denver.  Keep your
fingers crossed that all the iris haven't been frozen.

Hitting the hay in chilly Denver. They set a record for the lowest high
for this date today and the forecast is for the same tomorrow.
Sleep deprived in Denver
Shirlee Lewis

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