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Convention news & views

I'm convinced that Kathy Guest ("Irisborer") has the Strength of Ten
because personally, I've been 'way too tired to post Convention updates
-- & I'm not even an official attendee! Whatever her source of non-stop
energy  (caffeine???), I've thoroughly enjoyed Kathy's reports as well
as Shirlee Lewis' description of her car trip from Calif. to Colo. & her
first (chilly!) day of garden touring. I can't top 'em, but, now that
I've had a restorative nap, I can offer a grab-bag of news & views.

Last Friday 5/29, I again helped out in Glenna Chapman's Host garden,
which looked fabulous & loaded with iris blooms in a wonderful high
plains location between Denver & Colorado Springs. (Hard for this iris
newbie to single out favorites but I am drawn to many of Tom Magee's
intros, especially COLORADO AMBROSIA.) Saturday afternoon, fellow Lister
Diana Winship ("Mikesmom") arrived from Texas -- we met up in west
Denver & I took her on a mini-tour of the nearby foothills, including my
own chaotic house-&-hillside in Evergreen, an experience she'll not soon
Sunday Diana attended the Region 20 show at Denver Botanic, then went to
visit Randy Penn's & Rob Stetson's gardens (my fellow High Country Iris
members.) I spent the day weeding & soaking up rays (I got more sunburn
because I forgot the sunblock) at Lowell Baumunk's Host garden. His
place also looked terrific, with a great variety of iris in bloom --
historics & moderns, TBs, MTBs, BBs, plus some SDBs, IBs & ABs still in
flower & many, many fascinating seedlings including Lowell's own
crosses. Again, it's hard to pick favorites but two recent intros that
stopped me dead in my tracks are SPLASH OF RASPBERRY & TOASTED
WATERMELON, both from another Colorado hybridizer (Hoag) whose first
name I can't bring to mind. I realize I'm only mentioning Colo. growers
here -- they just naturally stuck in my memory best & I never did find
time to make a proper list of the gazillion other irises I lusted after. 

Monday Diana & I drove to the old silver mining town of Georgetown near
the base of Loveland Pass where I forced her to spend money in the shops
& galleries of my former hometown -- this did not seem to make her the
least bit unhappy. On the way back to Denver, we took time to admire the
abundant wildflowers, such as great swathes of Rocky Mtn Iris (I.
missouriensis.) At the Marriott we ran into George & Margaret Sutton --
George was toting a fat wad of photos which we pounced on. Great fun to
see so many new-to-world flowers & to meet the delightful people who are
raising them. I reluctantly trekked home & spent Tues. in my own
neglected garden, where the rest of my SDBs are blooming & more TBs are
now budding. I even did a teensy bit of housework on Tuesday but stole
time to visit by phone with fellow Lister Ellen Gallagher, whose plane
arrived, after long delays, Monday night.     

You've probably heard the Denver-area weather, uh, CHANGED a bit -- thru
Tuesday it was hot & dry but by Wednesday afternoon it was cool (read
"cold" to those from Sunbelt states) & misty-moisty, with heavy clouds
cloaking the mountains & lying close to the ground thruout the
flatlands. High temps varied by at least 30 degrees F between Tues. &
Wed., which sent folks scrambling for warmer duds. In some cases they
piled on every piece of clothing they'd packed, a fashion statement not
uncommon amongst Colorado tourists at any time of the year...

Many locals, especially Host gardeners, had been hoping for several days
for cooler weather to help extend the bloom but we didn't intend for the
pendulum to swing quite so far nor for it to seriously start raining,
which it did by Thursday evening. But that's Colorado weather -- TV
weather forecasters frequently throw themselves off tall buildings here,
to avoid being lynched by testy viewers.

The upside of the weather is that bloom is holding beautifully & camera
wielders, such as Mike Lowe of Iris-L & HIPS, are ecstatic because
colors are especially vibrant in the greyed light. I chatted with Mike
at Lowell Baumunk's because I'd lost my head & volunteered to help
hostess for the day. I rolled out at dawn Thursday to a distinctly cool
41 degrees at my house, located about 1,500 ft. higher than Lowell's
which is due south of Denver proper in Littleton. We had a big demand
for hot coffee & tea all day & at least one tourer was seen hugging the
coffee urn (it might have been Shirlee, who WAS there & claimed her
fingers were too cold to work her camera buttons.)

Forgot to mention that late Wed. afternoon I had an errand in east
Denver, giving me an excuse to slide by the Marriott to pick up my Geek
Tag (thank you, Kathy!) I found many fellow Listers by wandering around
the hotel eyeballing for these bright yellow name tags & got to meet &
visit with Dorothy Fingerhood, Barb Mann, Shirlee Lewis, Rusty
Thornsburg, Roger Duncan & Rick Tasco (both of Superstition Gardens,
CA), Mary Forte & Kathy Guest, who was dashing from the AIS board
meeting to change for the welcome dinner. Kept company with Jeff Walters
at the pre-dinner reception -- he turns out to have a sense of humor
almost as warped as my own, poor soul -- & we chatted with Ellen
Gallagher, among several other people from Iris-L. Caught glimpses of
Bill Maryott & Anna Mae Miller but didn't get to corner either one. 

Met Gerry Snyder & on Thursday & a lady Lister from Kansas whose name
has escaped my wee brain, as have the names of a couple of others I know
I said howdy to on one day or the other -- sorry to be so dim but Friday
night is the Geek Gathering so perhaps I'll match more names with faces
at that time. Mike Lowe was funny Thur. afternoon when he told me that
he's assumed, without really thinking about it, that the people he "met"
via email were all about 30 years old. Imagine his surprise when faced
with the reality!

I'll end on that note.

Marte in the mtns -- at 7,400' in Evergreen, CO, where it's about 40
degrees & drizzling & the white stuff is no doubt falling in the High
Country tonight...

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