>Hello! My name is Merrily Smith and I have a small iris garden in
>Washington, DC. I first learned to love iris
>as a child when one of my jobs was to pick the spent flowers from my
>mother's iris garden in St. Paul, MN.
>She had over 100 varieties, most of them given to her by her mother, whose
>garden in New Jersey
>abounded with them. They grew like weeds in the relatively uncultivated
>prairie soil and the back yard was a
>mass of color in the spring. Each flower had its own particular
>fragrance, which I loved to sniff. I remember
>the three seasons when she entered stalks in the amateur competition at
>the local iris show. We were out
>there at the crack of dawn, meticulously inspecting each bloom, cutting
>the best ones off at the base, and
>sticking them in glass milk bottles to transport downtown. The few
>ribbons she won in 1957, '58, and '59
>only added to the thrill of visiting the show after the judging was done.
>That garden is long gone, and only about thirty varieties made it from the
>old house to a new garden at a new
>house in 1965. These had long quit blooming as encroaching trees and
>bushes had gradually shut out the
>sun and my mother became less able to care for the garden. About four
>years ago I decided to try planting
>some of these old iris in a garden of my own. I thought it would be fun
>to see them blooming again -- sort of
>a family tree of flowers. So far, ten of these historic irises have
>bloomed, each one a pleasure and a
>challenge as my mother (now 84) and I work together with old garden maps
>and catalogs to identify them.
>We have spent many wonderful hours on the project, which has enhanced my
>love of iris even more.
>I'm glad to have discovered kindred souls on the Iris-l and look forward
>to getting to know you all and to
>learning from your experience. Maybe you can even help me identify names
>for a few of those frustratingly
>similar white flowers.
>Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Are you a member of any area iris societies