Irises forum: Which were your first iris? A trip down memory lane......

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Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
Grandchildren are my greatest joy.
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Paul2032
Sep 15, 2015 7:26 PM CST
Which were your first iris? We built out house in the mid 70's and one of the things I decided to plant first were some irises. I saw an ad in the Sunday classified for iris for sale so we went to look. I remember getting Radiant Apogee, Seashell Music, Whole Cloth, and a few others. We also got a start of Son of Star which was more money because it was newer. Then I learned there was a man in my home town who grew 300+ named irises. His name was Ray and we became fast friends, ordering together, swapping rhizomes, and spending many hours discussing our beloved iris. My first order from him included Dream Lover, Gay Parasol, and Beaux Arts. Then one Sunday we were in Salt Lake City and drove by the UAGC building and spotted a sign reading "IRIS SHOW TODAY". We went in and that was when the bug really bit. It was a Utah Iris Society Show and we saw gorgeous irises and met some very nice people. Now 40+ years later many of our friends are gone but we have added new members/friends. We have a wonderful group of people. They had a stack of catalogs at the show and I took some addresses and sent away for my first catalogs which I read and reread many times. I ordered some TB's from Keith Keppel and some medians from Paul Black while he was still in Oklahoma. I've always been a fanatic about keeping records and labeling my plants. To each his own but I have never had room in my garden for noids.....just my preference. Now I'm at the point in my life when I am only adding a few new things each year and cutting way back on the numbers grown. What were your first???????
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
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lovemyhouse
Sep 15, 2015 7:39 PM CST
The first ones I had on my own were already here at this house when I bought it. A yellow and a purple--1930s versions if my 'advisors' are correct. The first ones I bought--and that survived my ignorance--were Orange Harvest and Terra Rosa. Now that Iris Virus is in full raging swing with me, I am eternally grateful for the generosity of ATP folk who help feed the fever. Lovey dubby
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Sep 15, 2015 8:10 PM CST
My Dad always had iris but never was much for the names. The first iris I had, like Debra, were already here when I moved in. Fortunately I do know their names. Acoma, planted in the 90's and Quaker Lady, planted by Mrs. Troutman in the 1940's. I had ordered iris for my Dad from Schreiners in the past and that glossy catalog kept coming. So I made a first order not that long ago and you have all seen my pictures by now. The order included Owyhee Desert, Tanzanian Tangerine, World Premier, Starship Enterprise, Michigan Pride, Gnus Flash, Isn't It Something, Bumblebee Deelight, Frosted Velvet, and included the bonuses Grateful Red, Sunrise Elegy and Montmartre. Funny how easy it is to remember all the first iris compared to what was ordered the second year, etc.!!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Sep 15, 2015 8:15 PM CST
Ain't that the truth, Leslie! Hilarious! Thankfully, we have ATP to help keep track. Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Sep 15, 2015 8:21 PM CST
Your are soooo right. When I first started I thought to map them, but was SURE I would remember what was what and where. Ha!!! Now that I have increased my iris exponentially (thanks ATP Glare ) there is no way I could tell you what I got when. I couldn't even name all the iris I got this year. But it is an embarrassingly long list...... *Blush*
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Jen Jax
Northern Kentucky (Zone 6a)
Irises Peonies Region: Kentucky Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Boxergirl
Sep 15, 2015 8:31 PM CST
Well, Most of my Iris are newer. My mother was a gardener but never grew iris. Both my grandmothers moved away to flordia when I was young so I never knew a garden from either of them. A few years ago while we were building our house I met a woman who has become a second mother to me that I fully blame for my iris addiction. I feed her fire and she feeds mine. Our husbands laugh at us because they think we're crazy. She gave me my first iris from her mothers yard. That year I placed an order for my first modern iris, snowed in, connection, millennium sunrise, be a dream, and great gatsby.
Name: Linnea
Southern Maine, border 5b/6a (Zone 5b)
Irises Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Composter Organic Gardener
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Linneaj
Sep 15, 2015 9:51 PM CST
We had a lady down the street with a great hill of perennials. She was very old, or seemed to be to a 4 year old. The whole hill had been terraced. I don't remember specific flowers, just that it was beautiful and she never minded a couple of little kids showing up to tell her how pretty her flowers were. We had a remnants of a garden at home. My dad told me the same lady (Mrs. Howard) had lived in our house many years before. I bet she moved at least a few of each.

We moved. The next house had some purple iris and rhubarb probably where the out house had been. They smelled good. I didn't pay much attention.

In my twenties I found I. versicolor, Blue Flags in a field at work. I brought them home, moved them to my friend's house in Maine, moved some to my office and never got them to where I live now.

The house came with 4 kinds of iris, a tenant planted some Sibs that took over a whole garden and I got some rhizomes at a storage auction. It wasn't until I tried to look up irises on eBay that I realized there are a gazillion different ones! Then I found HIPS and ATP! I went from 6 kinds to over 200 in 2 seasons!
Don't make fear based decisions.
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
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irisarian
Sep 15, 2015 9:58 PM CST
A neighbor who lived behind our house when I was a child in Wisconsin had a backyard with nothing but irises. He gave my mother a few purple & brownish yellows which she liked by noting like his garden full.
When whe were married & lived in CT., John saw an add for Ben Hager's garden & spoke the immortal words 'they have the little ones.' What little ones? It seemed that his grandmother grew dwarf irises. So off we ordered 'Green spot' & 'Bright eyes'. We have not looked back since.
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Sep 16, 2015 7:36 AM CST
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Our first iris came from my mother, as "pass a longs', with names like 'Mrs. Buckner's", Aunt Marie's Yellow, and "Bacon and Eggs".....and while most of the 'real" names are now known, and there are many, many more iris in our beds..........these always get "special" attention !
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
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janwax
Sep 16, 2015 8:19 AM CST
Ruby Hulbert was a well-known gardener in our little valley - always a blue-ribbon winner
at our annual Apple fair. She invited me to see her greenhouse once, and in the garden were
some irises, mostly at the end of their bloom. I bought several from her in the 1980's and, when I moved, lost the list ! - until
recently, when her daughter offered to lend me her extensive scrapbook, with photos and her list! (She'd passed away
some time ago). I was able to i.d. the most prolific one that had survived with very little care over the years - Milestone. There's
still a white and a purple that I have to i.d.- but the list will help! ( to do this winter). Then, on a whim, I bought a few from Zebra Gardens. I'd fallen in love with the shade of blue in Millennium Falcon! I also bought some other broken colors. They led me to other catalogs, and eventually to the iris forum. No turning back now - with 400 cultivars!


Milestone

Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
[Last edited by janwax - Sep 16, 2015 8:23 AM (+)]
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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Sep 16, 2015 8:47 AM CST
I started gardening as a middle schooler, first with some fall planted bulbs from the grocery store. I soon started sending off for catalogs, and then the doors opened to all the amazing plants out there I had never seen! Jackson and Perkins rose catalogs were among the first, and they used to send frequent offers through the mail for collections of various perennials. One was a bearded iris offer, a collection of 5 or 7 varieties that I saved allowance money for. Until that time the only irises I'd seen had been various historics like pallida, flavescens, and an old white one from my grandmother's yard. I've forgotten the names of most from that collection, but recall one that blew me away- Stepping Out- I was never the same after that! LOL

Soon after I found out about Schreiner's and Cooly's. That's when I acquired my first pink and orange- colors I hadn't seen in irises before. I also recall one I loved from that time called Praise the Lord, a midnight blue self with a striking white beard.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Sep 16, 2015 8:52 AM CST
What an interesting middle-schooler you must have been, Neal!
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Sep 16, 2015 9:00 AM CST
My first Iris was an unknown which I found growing near the foundation of a house long gone, out in the prairie surrounding the new subdivision where my parents bought their first home when I was ten years old. I was enchanted with this *strange* flower (I'd never seen an Iris before) and talked my Dad into going out there with me to dig it up and bring it home. Out we went with his shovel and brought that Iris home. It was tan and burgundy in color (to the best of my recollection) and grew just fine in our garden. I considered it mine. When we moved from that house (I was eighteen by then and my life was filled with things much more *important* and exciting than an Iris), my Dad did not bring his flowers with him. I have never seen that Iris again -- that I'm aware of -- but I'm certain that it sponsored the purchase of *Suave* years later when I discovered that Schreiner's SOLD Irises -- all kinds of Irises!! Life has never been the same! Green Grin!

Suave:
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Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Mary Ann
Kentucky
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Muddymitts
Sep 16, 2015 9:22 AM CST
I would like to take a minute to thank my Dad, who passed long ago, for doing that for me. The streets for the new subdivision ended abruptly a couple of blocks from our (new) house -- so we drove as far as we could, then had to park the car and walk out into the prairie to get to where that Iris was, carrying the shovel and a bag to put the plant in. In my mind's eye, it was quite a hike. How great was that that he did that for me, relying on my word that there was something out there worth having. I'm not sure that I ever thanked him for that.

So -- thanks Dad!! In doing that, you fostered an important part of my life. Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. ([url=www.tut.com]www.tut.com[/url])
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Sep 16, 2015 9:30 AM CST
He knew you were thankful, Mary Ann, and it made him happy.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Sep 16, 2015 9:33 AM CST
Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Sep 16, 2015 9:45 AM CST
That's a beautiful memory, story, and realization Mary Ann.

Jan, I was certainly an odd kid. My siblings were all adults and living on their own by the time I was in 4th grade, so I had more adult friends and company than peers my own age nearby. There was a retired widower who lived in the neighborhood behind us, and a sweet older, widowed lady who lived across the street. They were both gardeners, and were the neighborhood friends I would visit.
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Sep 16, 2015 9:53 AM CST
I envy you those experiences, Neal. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
Garden Art Cat Lover Vegetable Grower Birds Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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janwax
Sep 16, 2015 10:42 AM CST
An interesting arc to your life, Neal. My youngest son had a somewhat similar experience in that his three older siblings were already in college when he came along! It was like growing up as an only child.It makes a difference where you are in the line-up!
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
Sep 16, 2015 12:18 PM CST
The first Iris I planted was blue. It may have had a name, but I was going for color at the time. I have a picture of my newborn daughter on a blanket on the lawn with the Iris in the background. We moved when she was about to start Kindergarten, and by then I was receiving catalogs from nurseries and seed houses. It was either Wayside or White Garden that was offering 'Stepping Out' and 'Edith Wolford', which I ordered. By the time we moved to Los Altos in '89, I was ordering from Schreiner's, Maryott's and Roris catalogs. When I moved here, I only brought a few with me.. 'Edith Wolford', 'Sarah Taylor' and what I thought was 'Stepping Out'.. I managed to keep myself under control for years, and only bought in numbers under 10 (Imagine!?!)... Then I went to the local club sale and encountered the masterful way the Joe Ghio managed to get 60 Iris into my bag ("Oh you *have* to have this one, oh, and this one too!").. I was dizzy by the time I got home, and haven't been the same since.
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.

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