Powell Gardens' Iris Hill greets the morning ready for the American Iris Society's (AIS) national convention visitors. Iris are not quite in peak bloom but are ready to put on a good show. Iris Hill is the Master Planting for the 2009 AIS Annual Convention so is at its maximum size with over 1,400 iris on display. Volunteer Pat Taylor was responsible for their immaculate care leading to the convention.
Convention visitors hike through the sweeping beds of iris that line the hills on the east side of Powell Gardens. The iris hill is open to all Powell Gardens' visitors and can be reached by trolley today, Friday and on weekends.
An AIS judging group huddles around select iris for judging. Powell Gardens Iris Hill normally displays only those iris judged Merit winners for each year -- going back 20 years; plus some iris of local and historical significance (approximately 660 iris in total).
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The 2009 AIS Convention Dedication went to Dr. Norlan Henderson for A Lifetime of Science (left in this picture with volunteer Betty Gember center and Doc's daughter Peg Homeier right). Doctor Henderson has donated all the Iris of the original planting on Iris hill. He also maintained the garden for many years and still checks on the plantings on nearly a daily basis.
Historical Iris 'Kansas City' greeted guests with full bloom! This was Dr. Henderson's hybridization breakthrough in dark iris. It once graced the city sticker of Kansas City as the iris is Kansas City's official flower. Look for even more spectacular dark iris that have since been hybridized including: 'Before the Storm', 'Hello Darkness' and 'Fade to Black' on Iris Hill.
Gorgeous and fragrant merit Iris 'Vivid' immediately draws attention on a quick overview of all the iris in flower.
Merit Iris 'Everything Plus' deserves its name as a spectacular clump in full bloom.
All iris in the original Merit Iris collection are labeled so you know their name, who hybridized them and what year they were introduced.
Merit Iris 'Lady Friend' appears close to red but their is no true red flowering iris.
Merit Iris 'Nordica' sparkles in white with heavy substance, ruffling and contrasting orange beards.
Merit Iris 'Halo in Peach' is aptly named and simply stunning.
Over 800 convention guest iris currently are on display including Iris 'Solar Flare' that really has an inner glow! This portion of iris hill will be dismantled this summer so is a great chance to see up and coming iris in bloom now.
All guest iris are also labeled so you can see their name, hybridzer and year introduced.
Guest Iris 'Burst of Glory' epitomizes the beauty of iris on Iris Hill. They should be in peak bloom over the next several days. Be sure and come take a closer look at these "flowers of the rainbow."
All photographs taken May 14, 2009 at Powell Gardens by Alan Branhagen.