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INFO: Bios (I-P)

My name is Julie Irwin...I have been growing iris for about 10 years and
have enjoyed gardening since childhood.  Currently I am studying to
become an AIS student judge; I am also taking classes at our local
extension office to become a Master Gardener.  I particularly enjoy
reblooming iris and space-age iris.  I grow bearded, siberian, and
japanese iris, so far.  I find as I learn more about iris, I grow more
kinds of iris!  I hope that by joining this group that I will learn more
about iris and also make new friendships along the way!

Julie Irwin <bajai@mtco.com>
USDA zone 5 Pekin,IL

Now that I am out of the closet (so to speak), decloaked (clever),
delurked (enen cleverer), unveiled, embodied (maybe I should say
un-unembodied for consistency)or whatever, he's heeeeerrrrr.

I live in northern California, just south of San Francisco. The clime
is nice, long warm season, not too hot for very long and rarely below
freezing in the winter. Not so good for Liliac's, but pretty good for
Irises. I guess I would say I'm a zone nine (but not so hot in the
summer). Unfortunately, my soil is heavy clay, so anywhere I plant
something I use lots of soil conditioner, mostly redwood compost
because it lasts longer. Generally, getting nourishment out of the
soil is not a problem, it is just keeping reasonable tilth.

I'm a real novice at growing Irises, but pretty experienced at general
gardening. My wife started an Iris bed several years ago to augment
our gladiola plantings. (early season/late season idea - have flowers
all summer). We both loved them. My kick was all the oooh's and
aaaah's I get when I take them into the office. She took care of them,
with occasional heavy labor from me to till a new bed or whatever.

When she died last year, some friends wanted to plant some more
Irises in sort of a memorial bed for her, so I built some large raised
beds, lined with rabbit wire to keep out the gopher pests, and pulled
all the existing plants to divide them and re build the bed. They
hadn't been divided in +/- three years, so you can imagine what it
was like. Unfortunately, for all her wonderful attributes, she
hadn't kept up with the weather and plant tags, so I have a lot of irises
that I don't know the names for. Once they bloom this year I hope I
can identify them by the process of elimination, using what tags I
found and my two Schriener's catalogs (1992 and 1995).

I also have about 60 new varieties that people have brought for the
new beds. So total now with all the dividing and new stuff, I have
about 220 plants, I intend to thin them down to a reasonable
number once I figure out what each is.

I have about 10 flower spikes now, I have already cut a Heady Perfume
(January if you believe that), and a Beyond (recently). Next up is
Persian Berry, I think.

I guess I'm a TB fan, but reading what all you say about the
other types, I may have to start investigating some others.

I look forward to reading all sorts of interesting stuff, and will
contribut when I can. I must say that I was a little daunted by the
volume of traffic (some of it having little to do with Irises), there
were 168 messages posted in the first three days I was away on
my trip. I haven't joined any of the local societies yet but intend to.

Glad to meet you all!


John                     | "There be dragons here"
                         |  Annotation used by ancient cartographers
                         |  to indicate the edge of the known world.

Tom asked us to introduce ourselves so here I go. I am thinking about
growing irises again. I haven't grown them since I was a young girl. I live in
southern New Jersey. The soil here is green marl so I am not sure I will
be able to grow them. I do have my own compost pile so of course I will use
the soil I get from there. It snowed here last night so right now I have
plenty of time to plan my garden. I have one daffodil bed, one lily bed and
three annual garden beds. In my annual garden beds I grow marigolds, begonias,
verbena, snapdragons and some herbs. I am thinking of turning one of the
annual garden beds into a iris bed.


Hello everyone.  I've been watching messages since early February and thought I
should introduce myself.  My name
is Scott Jordan.  My day job is pathology professor at the University of New
Mexico here in Albuquerque.  My wife Reita and I have been interested in irises
for about 10 years, the last 5 with increasing seriousness.  We have both
become AIS judges this year and keep busy with many related activities,
especially with the Aril Society, which you have learned from previous messages
is an independent group affiliated with AIS.

Hello from Mountain Home AR - which is in Northcentral Arkansas about 25
miles across the Missouri border.  I have been growing iris for about
10-12 years - just as another perrenial, not as a specialty.  I have
about 100 varieties at this time - 30 of which I brought with me from
Minnesota when we moved south 3 years ago. The others were gifts from
friends in Minnesota who got them from a fella who decided to give up
his gardening. I'm not sure of all the varieties but am looking forward to
seeing what happens this spring. Most of the 70 were given to me since
last spring.  Majority of my iris are bearded though I have some
Japanese.  My home is on a bluff overlooking Norfork Lake. Soil is
classic Arkansas - clay and rocks.  I have amended it significantly in
the short time I have been here. There are some really neat rock
formations that I have been able to "work" into gardens. Some huge
boulders (sandstone) with great character.  All told, I probably have
1500 square feet of flower garden.  I'll keep the list up to date as the
flowers bloom. One last thought, iris is one of the few flowers that the
herd of deer do not bother.  Happy to be on the list.

Hi, everybody.  I just discovered this mailing list, and thought I'd jump
right in with a question.  (I hope that's not being *too* forward.)  I
noticed that a bio is required for this group, so here's a bit about
myself first.

Actually, there's not much to say. I would guess that I'm probably the
least experienced and knowledgeable person to ever grace this list in the
history of time.  (Regarding irises, I mean, although maybe in general,
too. ;-)  I've been gardening about five years now, mostly veggies -- nice
long growing season here in Seattle, but cool -- but two springs ago my
wife (who also does veggies, but also is Mom to three dozen rose bushes,
and who I'm going to be trying to talk into subscribing to this list, too)
bought five yellow Dutch irises, and they grew well and we were really
struck with their beauty.  Then, as luck would have it, we discovered
growing wild on the back hill a dozen or so irises that looked exactly
like out yellow Dutch irises, only they were purple and yellow.  (We
figure a previous owner of the house had planted some up there years ago,
and they had naturalized.)  After the "wild" irises bloomed last year, we
dug up the bulbs, and planted them in a planter on the deck last summer,
and ever since then we've been excited about them and have been reading up
on irises in general, trying to learn more about them.

So, that's about it for the bio.  Nothing spectacular, and I'm almost a
little embarassed by my "novice-hood" in the midst of experts, but what
the heck, I've been embarassed worse. :-)  So you all have my permission
to laugh out loud at any and all dumb questions I may ask; I'll consider
it my "price of admission."  :-)

Well I've been lurking since this list started and will probably go back
to lurking after this.  My knowledge of Irises is small, but I love
them.  My experience is also small.  I garden in New Mexico, ~7500' in a
Ponderosa/Pinon/rock area, zone 4,5 & 6 depending on where you are on
the property.  There were a few bearded Irises here, planted in the
shade when we moved in.  I've watered them and sprinkled wood ash on
them for the last three summers, and fertilized once in a while.  They
do better each year.  I bought 6 new irises last fall and they arrived
as we were leaving for a two week trip, so I potted them quickly in pots
and got them planted about a month later.  They seem to be doing well
also, but I'll find out this spring/summer.  I have them planted in the
zone 6 bed.

I find myself wishing I had a horticultural dictionary around, but I know
that I will soon start understanding what everyone is talking about.  In
going through some of the message regarding what the list is for, there
seems to be some confusion.  It is my understanding this is a discussion
list for all people interested in Irises, not just members of the Iris

I'm not a member of the Iris Society, and at this time I am not ready to
join because my interest in Iris is not that focused.  I'm glad that this
list is here and I hope it continues.  Thanks Tom.  I'm sure there are a
lot of newcomers to the Iris world out on this list that are lurking the
same as I am.  It would be wonderful if someone would explain about the
different types of Irises, I understand Siberian, and Japanese and
Bearded, but some of the others leave me baffled.

Thanks everyone.


Hi iris lovers,

I'm looking forward to being part of this group and wanted to introduce
myself. I'm just getting started with bearded irises.  For a long time I
was scared off them by what the general gardening books say about rot,
borers, staking, and the amount of work they take, and by my mother's
unfortunate prejudice against them (caused by an overdose of forced
viewing on a hot afternoon early in her garden club days; on her return
she banned them from our garden).

But after my parents' death I came back to live in the house where I grew up
(southwest Virginia) and took over the garden -- and quickly came to the
conclusion that there was not enough happening between late April (tulips)
and late May (peonies).  Siberian irises were my first sizable addition in an
effort to change that, and although I love them, they weren't quite early
enough to make a big difference.  Then a family friend gave me divisions of
several of her tall beardeds that I admired, and now I'm hooked.  This is
probably the way most people start: a friend who says as Anne did to me, "Oh,
you *must grow irises!"

Encountering Larry Doucette on the Compuserve garden forum drew me
in even further, as he encouraged me to join the Historical Iris Preservation
Society. As it happens, the TB cultivars I was given, and most of the Siberians
I planted, are all from the '30s, '40s and '50s. falling within the HIPS
definition of historic iris (introduced more than 30 years ago).  It seemed
like a great way to limit what could become an impossible selection process
to grow only pre-1950s cultivars, but a visit last May to Weikles' Wonderland
south of Roanoke showed me that even that 'rule' still means having to choose
from a huge array of beautiful flowers.  And although historics are still my
main focus, I'm now determined to try some modern rebloomers as well, and to
lengthen the bloom season by growing some dwarf and intermediate beardeds.

Just joined the AIS this winter, and am looking forward to visiting and
several iris gardens this spring.  Also am a member of the HIPS email
round robin. Don't think I will become an active member of my area's iris
club for a while, because I'm one of the steering committee members for a
daylily club that's just starting out. I have lots of questions for this group
but will save them for another message as I've gone on way too long already!

   Nell Lancaster, Lexington, Virginia

Hi. Since I suggested introductions, I suppose I'm obliged
to provide one for myself.

I got actively interested in irises as a teenager, at one
point having about 1300 different varieties in out backyard
(my mother was very tolerant!) I started breeding them,
getting involved in iris societies, and so on.

Then my education and career got in the way for a few years,
as I traveled from place to place and was forced to lead
a gardenless life.

About three and a half years ago, my wife and I "settled
down" here in northern New Mexico, and I started a garden
again. We're renting and have very limited space, so the
irises now number less than 200. We're in the mountains,
so even though people thinking of New Mexico as hot and
dry, my garden is in Zone 6a, and the last frost comes in
mid-May here. The tall bearded irises bloom in June.

I grow _all kinds_ of irises (space permitting), and lots
of other ornamental plants too.

I'm currently the yearbook editor and acting president
of the Aril Society International (empahsis on *acting*),
an iris society devoted to the exotic aril species of
the Middle East and their hybrids.

If you have access to the world wide web, you can learn
much more about me than you could possible want or need
to. (The URL is in my signature.)

Thanks to everyone who's already subscribed to the list.
We seem to be getting off to a great start. I must admit
that it was a little scary at first ("What if they had
a mailing list, and nobody came?").

Best wishes and happy irising, Tom.

Tom Tadfor Little at Telperion Productions
Los Alamos, NM
telp@Rt66.com  - - -  also at tlittle@lanl.gov

--> on the web at http://www.rt66.com/~telp/

I am in NW Arkansas, zone 6b.  Have been interested in plants all my life.
Several of my family have nurseries in Louisiana, so it is inherited I
suppose.  I have some Siberians, several Japanese & a miserable
assortment of beardeds. Also love bulbs, esp. Amaryllidaceae.  I am
serving my first term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and I am
on email thanks to the University of Arkansas.  It makes communicating
with them so much simpler.  Sue

My 'garden' is in east Tennessee where i have lived all of my life except for
a brief stay in montclair new jersey, where i recently learned i was exposed
in utero to the display garden of tall bearded iris in upper montclair (i
can't think of the name of the garden right now).

i live on 150 acres of mostly steep woods with about 15 acres of pasture,
wetlands, and streams with lots of excessively drained rich loamy gravel soil
for garden in full sun with some shade around the house (which is a patched
together 100+ farmhouse riddled with termites and rot).  i work part time as
a research ecologist,  just enough to make ends meet and leave plenty of time
to take care of my geriatric horse and enjoy the natural world, which
includes trying to grow tall bearded iris against their will.  i experiment
with various kinds of plants every year, but usually only keep growing ones
that are a spectacular success without much input or care, and am obsessed
with tall bearded iris.

i joined ais to try to find out why some iris seemed to do so well for me and
others would either rot or waste away and to improve my ability to pick out
ones to buy that would live and bloom.  about two years ago, we started the
east tennessee iris society which has grown to over 50 members already.  we
nearly had a riot at our 2nd annual demonstration show when passionate local
gardeners showed up wanting to buy plants just like the ones we had on
display.  to say iris are popular around here is an understatement.  we are
thinking about starting another club centered closer to kingston where i

linda mann

I just realized I had sent my first post to the list prior to any sort of
introduction ... I'm Steve Marak, living in NW Arkansas, USDA zone 6b. My
plant interests are too wide for my budget, and one of those is Iris, as well
as other genera within the Iridaceae (arguably, I'm told, making me a
complete Iridiot).

I have a couple of beds of TB hybrids, some Louisianas, a couple of
Siberians, some of which I have names for and some of which are
hand-me-downs from
relatives and are grown for mostly sentimental reasons. I have had one brief,
disastrous affair with a couple of oncocyclus which ended in heartbreak (they
pined away, I was heartbroken).

While I like hybrids very much, I find species fascinating and am trying to
expand my knowledge and collection, mostly via seed from seed exchanges and
an internet friend who has shared his extras.

The most common native species here is, of course, Iris cristata, nearly
everywhere in moist areas. (A quick question: I've heard that the white form
of I. cristata is less vigorous than the usual - in my case, the white form,
a propagation from a local population, is not only vigorous but completely
overwhelmed the normal form within a few years. Anyone else seen this?)

I. brevicaulis, I. fulva, I. verna, and I. virginica also occur within the
state but (with the possible exception of virginica) are much less common.

I. pseudacorus (which I resolutely refuse to pronounce pseu-DAC-orus, to the
amusement and irritation of the truly knowledgable) has escaped near my home,
and since the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department propagates it
every year (by mowing it in late summer, and uprooting large clumps) I've
established a nice stand of it as well.

I've been haunting gardening lists on the Internet for years now, but have
seldom seen one start up and reach a steady stream of postings as this one -
congratulations to Tom, and thanks for starting it.

-- Steve Marak

Hi! I'm Beth Matney, yet another Iridiot from Arkansas, central Arkansas in
my case.  I've had iris as long as I can remember, almost exclusively Tall
Bearded until recently.  Most of mine are pass-me-around from family and
friends, so I do not know what most of the varieties are.  Some are very old
(prior to 1929) from old home places. I have two different natives found on
our farm, that have been identified as Iris verna and Iris cristata (both
blue), an unusual (to me) that is supposed to be a wild iris from Israel,
Iris pseudacorus, Siberian, Japanese, Louisiana, and the usual assortment of
Dutch and English bulbed iris. I am especially interested in other natives
(at this time). We have 66 acres of ex-timberland that we're reclaiming. I
grow quite a few daffodils and daylilies also.

My name is Margaret Maurer. I am a librarian in Cold and snowy
northeastern Ohio. We just bought a house sitting on 2 acres of
overgrown under-irised hard pack clay.  We're really looking forward to
lots of flowers, vegetables, and of course, irises.

I have to admit I really don't know much about irises but got interested
in them when a neighbor of mine handed me some unidentified rhizomes.
They turned out to be a type of short iris - the flowers kind of peek
out of the shortened green foliage.  They're quite prolific, and will grow
under almost any conditions.

I am quite impressed with the credentials of some of the people who have
joined this list.  Hope I also have something to contribute.

Thanks for starting this list.


Hello everyone,

I'm Jim McMillen, I grew my first Iris when I was about 3 1/2 years old.
I'm a hybridizer as well as an AIS accredited judge for the past 8 years or so.
Currently I live in an apartment so have no place to grow any Iris except
for a couple of species which adapt well to pot culture.

Might be going to Sacramento, not sure yet.  I try to go to all the
conventions to visit with all my iris friends.

Talk to everyone soon


I grow dwarf, median, historic, louisiana and siberian in upstate NY, near
Albany.  I have 3 boys, ages 3,7 &12.  And a husband who keeps our computer
working, so I really do appreciate him, even if he doesn't garden.
When I joined I'd planned on just lurking, but since I passed out about 8
pots of Iris uniflora "Carcina" at a Regional meeting in Oct. I guess I have
to jump in.

Kathryn Mohr

Hi, my name is Donald Mosser, and I'm an iris addict.:-) I've only been
growing bearded iris about two and a half years, but I'm already hooked.  I
live in North Augusta, SC (mostly pine trees and sand in Zone 7 or 8,
depending on the source).  I have a small collection of mixed sized bearded
Iris, most purchased from Schreiner's.  I'm anxiously awaiting the bloom of
my first dwarf bearded iris "Making Eyes".  However, I hope that late frost
in my area haven't stressed the poor thing to the point of not blooming it's
first year here.

I am interested in trying some Japanese Iris, Louisiana Iris, small species
iris, and more dwarf bearded iris. I prefer fragrance and color to
flamboyancy and size, in any type of flower. Any recommendations for Must
Have! iris cultivars or species which fit my preferences would be greatly
appreciated. Like any other new iris grower and newbie to the internet, I'll
be mostly ears, after this initial introductory message (at least until I've
increased my knowledge and experience with iris cultivation and use of the

Hi everyone,

I live on the eastern end of Long Island. I think this is zone 6. We rarely
go below 0 F or above 100 F. I had this house built three years ago.  It
sits on about 1 acre of wide open land. Except for the handfull of trees
that I have planted there are no trees with 1/4 mile at least in any
directrion. This provides great views, but the WIND.:(

My basic interest is in gardening in general. I do grow some vegetables but
I have in truck farming country and the farm stands are so near that I
really should not grow too many vegies. If I was inclined (which I am not)
I could walk about 200 feet and pick the nearby farmer's corn or pumkins!

I have put in many shrubs as starting landscaping and alot of lawn (ugh!).
Most of my favorites in this group (the rhodies) have had a very hard time
of it because of the winds.

The last two years I have started a perenial bed, a rose bed and an Iris bed.

I am hoping to expand on these beds this year.

As far as Irises are concerned, I have about ten plants last year, mostly
bearded Irises. I hope they all come back this year for we were very dry
last summer and extremely cold this winter. The last three mornings we were
at 0 or -1 F.

Looking forward to participating in the list!

John Packard
Calverton, NY

Dear iris friends,

        It's very nice that there is an iris list, now, and I'm looking
forward to some pleasant conversations on it.

        I've been growing irises since I was a teenager in the 1960's when
I lived in Michigan near Grand Rapids.  I tried my hand at breeding irises
there including space-age irises, siberians, and spurias.  After moving away,
I didn't have a garden for some time.  I was a graduate student studying
mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelpha, and later a
professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and I'm still
here, but for a few years lived in an apartment in town.
        About nine years ago, my wife and I bought a new house in the
nearby town of Spencer on a nice but relatively shady lot.  Immediately
we planted irises of various kinds, but only the siberians and cristata
irises flourished.  A couple of years ago we squeezed some tall bearded
irises into the vegetable garden, the sunniest space we have, and they're
doing well.

        Last May, I started an iris web page at


If you have a web brouser, please check it out.  There are references to
other iris pages on the web and various other things.  Should you know of
anything I've missed, please let me know.


David E. Pane-Joyce                             Dept. Math. & Comp. Sci.
djoyce@clarku.edu                               Clark University
http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/home.html      Worcester, MA 01610-1477

I am just getting started with this mailing list.  I am very excited to
find others as interested in the Iris.

I am originally from Nebraska.  My Mother inherited her Iris beds when they
bought the house.  She did not particularly like this plant, but tolerated
them because I fell in love with them.  She had great luck with them..she
dug them up, moved them, ignored them, mowed them down and they still were
beautiful..much to her consternation!!

I moved to White Plains, New York about 8 years ago and up until 2 years
ago,  I had no place to have any type of garden.  I planted only about 8
bearded Iris 2 years ago and 10 more last fall (was this the right
time?????) ....and am anxiously awaiting them this season.  I really don't
know if I planted them in the right season, if I am supposed to dig them up
or what.  I just planted them in the fall and poof..there they were in the
spring.  I don't know much about them other than that I LOVE them.  But I
want to learn all I can. They have the most wonderful scent and beautiful
colors!!!  I really hope to learn from all of you experts out there!!

I have a very thick clay soil.  When I planted the iris I mixed the soil
with sand  (?) and this seemed to work.  I checked them last fall and they
seemed to be intact with no rot.  I have a large area for gardening but at
this point I have only a small section actually planted with
anything..Roses, many spring bulbs and a few small shrubs.  I have the Iris
in a separate section from the rest because I like to be able to open my
windows and let the wonderful sent flow thru my house!

Well..that is about everything..now you know a little more about me and I
hope to learn about all of you!   And of course..I can't wait to learn from
all of you!!!!

....A womans place is at her computer...

Hello Iris lovers;  Since I am joining the list I will give this
introduction.  My name is Bob Pries.  I garden South of St. Louis in
Zone 6.  At least it used to be zone 6 until this last cold blast.  I
grow every type of Iris I can, even tall-beardeds.  My favorites are
miniatures and species.  I like to think of myself as a rock gardener.
The smaller Iris fit best in that setting but with an acre to work
with I do large plants also.  A friend of my says I never met a plant
I didn't like, so count me out for saying which are bad.  Some are
just better!

Hi, from Virginia Prins.I'm a retired school librarian with lots of time
to (at the moment) worry about the mud and slush in my iris beds.  I have
(had?) about 100 TBs and a few siberians.  We live on a small holding
with a few beef cattle, ducks, banties and an aged dandie dinmont terrier
I got onto the net to talk to my kids -scattered from Alaska to Grand
Cayman and points inbetween. BUT BONUS-irisarians.  I hope to learn tons
about my favourite flower.  I joined the Cdn. Iris Society 2 years ago. B
Bought some iris from Cooley's last year but don't think they fared well
this winter.  They seem very mushy. Northern molligrubs? Maybe some side
shoots will have survived. Should have stayed with Cdn growers but was
seduced by cooley's catalog. Virginia Prins   Inanda@lindsaycomp.on.ca

I guess I should reintroduce myself. I had to sign off the list for a
while when I was changing my provider. My name is Joanne and I live in
Hamburg NY (outside Buffalo) I've been trying to grow TB's for about
3 years now and this year I'm planning on adding some JI's and SIB's,
also possible some LOuisiana's. I've got a couple of spots that they
should enjoy. I usually just hide out and listen to what everyone else
says and have found this list very informative. Hopefully spring will be
here soon.
Joanne Pyszczek (jopyz@earthlink.net)

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