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RE: National Convention? (a.k.a. POLAR TREK '98)

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: RE: National Convention? (a.k.a. POLAR TREK '98)
  • From: "Lewis,Shirlee E" <Shirlee.E.Lewis@kp.org>
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 23:53:25 -0600 (MDT)

>      To those in Denver?  How are the Irises holding up in the wake of
> the
> snow?
> 
> Mark A. Cook
> billc@atlantic.net
> Dunnellon, Florida.Mark,
The bloom looks pretty much like you would expect.  Quite a bit was hurt
by the weather; but, there were a surprising number of iris that took
everything that mother nature could dish out and just continue to be
exceptional jewels in the garden.

We woke up to snow falling in the foothills and the surrounding
communities.  The forecasted high for metro Denver was 43.  I don't know
if it reached that.  (News flash -- we hit 45 in Denver again today.)

Buses were loading for the second day of garden tours.  I am on the
"YELLOW" circuit.  Today we went to 4 gardens and the Celestial
Seasonings plant northwest of Denver in the Golden / Boulder area.
Since we weren't "priority" today we stood around in the rain until 7:30
a.m.  Our bus arrived and then came the big surprise.  Our bus captains
came loaded down with coats, jackets, sweatshirts, gloves, hats and all
manner of things to wear to keep warm.  These ladies are SAINTS!.  Off
we go.  Our itinerary was Long's Gardens, Celestial Seasonings, Bob &
Carol Townsend's garden, Ann & Dave Miller's garden and John & Fran
Evers Rancho de Oro.

A short bus ride to Boulder brought us to Long's Gardens.  It was
raining and everyone had abandoned any style for multiple layers and
anything waterproof.  The guest plantings at Longs was HUGE.  In the
convention book it is 27 pages long. Dennis and Kathy Gates greeted
everyone personally and gave us a diagram of the guest beds.  The
bearded beds covered 14 rows of 7 beds each.  Each bed had a
alpha-neumeric designation.  On the side of a wall the cultivars were
listed by either named variety/seedling number or hybridizer name.
Mostly we just systematically went through the beds; but, you could find
specific iris.  This is a wonderful innovation because on Thursday I
never found a couple of iris that I was looking for.  Lots of damaged
bloom and several bloom stalks that had been broken.  I think that the
most impressive iris in standing up to the elements were the French
ones.  My favorites here were OURAGAN (Cayeux, R --96 TB) and AMBROISIE
(Cayeux, R --97 TB).

Next we were off to Celestial Seasonings for your choice of a tour of
the plant, lunch or shopping.  I shopped and then got lunch.  We
actually saw the sun for one brief moment.  Next we were off to the
Townsend's home.  Thy apologize and tell us that their garden is a work
in progress.  I should be so lucky.  This garden has incredible iris
plantings.  Extensive historics had Mike Lowe off and clicking away.  By
the way he actually had on long pants.  Mark that one down.  The guests
were in 8 separate beds.  The Colorado hybridizers were in their own
beds which helped when we were evaluating for the President's Cup.  This
garden was built on a slope.  The Townsend's have terraced it into three
separate levels.  Lots of BIG rocks which have been given special names.
We have Dolly Parton Rocks, Garden Madonna Rocks, Hobbit Rock, Bambi
Rock, Mouse Rock and on and on and on.  The garden has twon ponds on two
separate levels with a connecting waterfall.  The description said that
the koi and goldfish all had names; but, try as I might not one of them
told me their name.  And I was very polite.  In this garden I came face
to face with the cover girl WORLD PREMIERE, Schreiner's '98.  Pretty
impressive.  In one of the beds several of the guest iris were suffering
various degrees of exposure to Roundup.  We had far too little time in
this garden.  Partly due to the bus driver missing a turn.

Off to the home of our host, Convention Chair Dennis Miller.  Here the
rain got down right serious.  POND LILY (Jones, E -- '95) looked at the
rain and laughed.  Up and down the rows we went.  There was a
particularly beautiful cultivar, ROCKY MOUNTAIN MUSIC by Foster.  It is
a clear deep cky blue.  Great form, good branching.  I was getting it on
film.  Recording its lineage and birth.  What's this?  There is not
birthday.  It is a seedling. ARRGH!  Keith Keppel had an incredible
flower.  NIGHT GAME is a very dark blue violet.  The clump had over
twenty fans and 5 bloom stalks.  It is a TALL TB.  All of this aside it
had FIVE open blooms and at least 14 buds.  By this time it is raining
so hard that the pencil won't even write because the paper is too wet.

Here comes the whistle and off we go to Rancho de Oro.  We are almost to
the garden and are we in for a surprise.  The bus gets to back up a
fairly steep dirt road.  What lengths the locals go to so that we will
have a memorable trek.  We were told that there was snow in this garden
in the morning; but, there is no sign of it now.  I think that this
garden took the elements the best.  MOBY GRAPE (Laure '98) and NAVY BLUE
(Dunn, B '94) were particularly striking in this garden.  

We got back to the hotel in one piece and warm.  Tonight we had our GEEK
meeting.  It is really great to hear some ideas of in what direction the
iris community might go in cyberspace.  How about electronic
registration & introduction in addition to the paper version?  Met lots
of people that have only been e-mail tags.  Lots of fun.

I just looked at the clock on the computer and it is midnight.  This
pumpkin has a 5 am wake up call.  More to come.

Warm and dry in Denver
Shirlee









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