OT-BIO: Kathy Poore/OKC, OK
Greetings from the Oklahoma City Poore House!
I live in the middle of thrill-a-minute Oklahoma, in near-northwest OKC
between OSU-OKC Horticulture Center/Arboretum (by the State Fairgrounds) & our
beautiful Will Rogers Garden Exhibition Center where all flower shows, sales &
meetings occur. I'm an avid iris, daylily, daffodil, perennial plant-tree-
shrub, & Persian Kitty-Kat enthusiast. My kitty-kat-kidz consist of Gizmo (a
lilac point Himalayan), Kazoo & Bouquet (both blue, white & cream
dilute/pastel Calico persians), & Kitty a black & white domestic shorthair.
My place is usually called the Poore-House because I always spend too much
lute on daylilies, irises, & Katz! Those are the worst of my afflictions at
Although my education at Oklahoma City University (boy is that another topic)
was all along the lines of Sociology, Psychology & Criminal Justice (finishing
up in '76, '78, & '80) I skipped on down the street to take ONE class in
Garden Flowers about 10 or 11 years ago at OSU. I guess that's how my plant
possession problem got it's start. Having been a juvenile probation,
detention, & intake officer & counselor for Oklahoma County for 8 long years
('77 to '84) before tackling another 8 year stint with Kerr-McGee Corporation
('84 to '91) as Financial Systems Project Coordinator serving as liason
between the Computer programming gurus & all the accountants in a major
General Ledger computer implementation, I felt like I might just need a little
relaxation... Hence the "one" class...
Meanwhile, in late '89 (by this time I've knocked out about 30 hours of
horticulture classes & not gotten to take Garden Flowers yet) my boyfriend's
parents gave me 5 of their favorite irises (Starburst, Tender Thought, Study
in Black, Lacy Snowflake, & City of David-which turned out to be Fiery
Chariot) insisting I must use metal markers & keep track of the names.
Totally clueless I did as directed. At work my K-M friend Judy from Guthrie
brought up her Schreiners & Cooley's catalogs (12 years worth) for me to see
what these 5 were gonna look like. Freaking out over most all of them,
especially the plics I just had to order a few more. What would just 5 look
like? I built a bed 8' x 8', 2 landscaped timbers high & planted them. Then
Judy asked if I liked Daylilies. Lord NO, I hate those awful orange things!
I shreiked to her. Again she came this time with Wilds catalogs (back to
1963) & astounded by their beauty, I ordered just 8 of those to go in that bed
with the irises. In '90 2 more beds went in to handle the "few more" hems &
irises I bought. Judy "drug" me to the sales. More raised beds were built.
We met Nancy Fernandes on the pond tour the next year. Along came COHS, AHS,
Sooner State Iris Society, AIS, & well---you don't want to know the rest,
except for the Median Spree in '93 when I was introduced to MDB's, SDB's,
IB's, BB's, & MTB's... That's when I really went bonkers. I really love
those early little bitties too!
The grass had all vanished in the back yards & side yard of my oversized
corner city lot by '95. In '96 so went the front. A 40' x 60' raised bed
built like a maze wiped that out in one fell swoop. I adore trees & since my
hort classes began I've planted a couple dozen ornamentals including a Gingko
biloba, a smoke tree, a Chinese Pistache, 2 crabapples, a weeping cherry, 2
dogwoods, an Amur Maple, a stand of Ilex decidua (possumhaw/deciduous holly),
a Capital Pear, several clematis, crapemyrtles, Burning bushes, Yews, Rose of
Sharons, Barberries, Nandinas & a Liriodendron tulipifera (true yellow
flowering tulip tree). Last year I finished building JI, SPU, SIB, & more LA
beds. I can always squeeze in (with a shoehorn) more MEDs but it's getting
tight for many more TB's. How I love those bells & whistles though. Space
agers are awesome too... I grow all but PCN's. The beds are packed full to
accomodate my 1100-1200 or so irises and thousand daylilies. Daffodils pop up
everywhere as I can't ever pass up a new variety to try. I get new ones
planted so late I always have daff bloom from Feb 1 to the 4th of July!
My saving grace is that by the time gardening season is over the Oklahoma City
University Mens Basketball season begins. Spending a year working at OCU
before joining the City of OKC 6 years ago as a dispatcher for
Police/911/Traffic/& now Streets, tossed me forever into the fever that
culminates with "March Madness" of which OCU won national championships in
'91, '92, '94, & '96. I never miss a game no matter how far away. The
weekend after the natl' tourney is the Daffodil show signalling the start of a
bevy of spring flower shows which I do not miss. As a fierce competitor (yep
Iris Shows are the worst) I enter as many as I can... just love all those
ribbons, trophies & medals, not to mention getting even more newly introduced
rhizomes that follow for winning major show awards.
In '93 or '94 I became an AIS Judge & AHS Senior Exhibition & also Garden
Judge. So if I'm not exhibiting in a show it's only because I'm judging it!
Last year I entered 10, this year 6, from Lawton to Hobart to Enid to Topeka
to Dennison/Sherman to Dallas to Wichita & Kansas City... I've not been crazy
enough to venture beyond those distances... yet. I also finally became an AIS
"Lifer" last year. You wonder "a husband?" Don't know where I'd fit him in
even if I'd of have had time to locate one by now. I served 2 terms for the
local OKC Daylily group as Hem-Lines Newsletter Editor from '92 to '96 & spent
a bit over a year as Editor for the Sooner State Iris News. Since '93 I've
been a docent/Tour Guide/& Volunteer for the 17 acre OKC Myriad Botanical
Conservatory & Gardens.
Every other flower fanatic I know keeps busy too. If you think we don't do
much here in Oklahoma, we're hosting both the '99 National AIS & AHS
conventions next spring May 4-8 & July 16-20th. I'm saving up that 'ol
vacation time to take leave from my "stressless" dispatch job to go relax &
play bus captain for both of those events. Hope to see y'all here. You won't
be disappointed. With nothing else going on around here I'm back in class
down the street, this time it's "Plant Propagation" Thursday nights from
5-10pm which interferes not with my M-F work schedule from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
With only 11 hours to go for a Horticulture degree why stop now?
That's all folks. Twasn't short but it was thorough. Can't wait til this
weekend for the Sooner State Late Iris $ale. I think I could use (okay-need)
a few more iris... Next weekend George Sutton of Sutton's Green Thumber will
speak at our SSIS meeting. Looking forward to hearing from you all and
learning much from this robin as well as the whole Internet experience. The
past few years the only thing I've managed to gather more of (than plants) are
the many wonderful irisarians & hemerocallis aficionados I've met along the
way that I'm proud to call many as friends.
Happy Irising & hope y'all have a cool fall! Kathy Poore, Oklahoma City,
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