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Iris Society of Austin Annual Iris Show
The Iris Society of Austin will present its Annual Iris Show on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at the Zilker Garden Center Auditorium. Judging will take place during the morning and all entries will be open for public viewing (at no cost) from 1 – 4 pm. The show is judged by experienced gardeners trained as judges under rules of the American Iris Society. The Annual Iris Show is an exhibition of blooms only rather than the entire plant such as seen at the popular Orchid Show or Cactus and Succulent Show. The theme for inspiration of this year's show is "Music in the Garden".
The Horticulture and Youth divisions feature several classes depending on entries: specimens from the Tall Bearded and Louisiana groups are most popular locally. Entries as Collection are shown in classes for two, three or five of the same variety or of all different varieties. Entries to the Horticulture and Youth divisions must be grown by the exhibitor.
In addition to the gorgeous blooms displayed for the show The Artistic, Educational and Commercial divisions contribute immensely to viewer interest and entries may be grown by anyone or even purchased from a commercial source.
The Artistic Division may include accessories, even other blooms so long as an iris is the dominant bloom. There are five classes in the Artistic Division: a Novice class for anyone who has not won a blue ribbon in an Iris show; the Religious setting to be called "In the Garden"; Pairs will be displayed with the theme "Texas Two Step"; Designer's Choice usually yields the most creative display; and a table arrangement "Tea for Two" to feature plates, napkins, glasses or cups (no silverware).
The Education Division is to inform and instruct the public about iris and or the American Iris Society or local Chapter. Multiple specimens may be used along with published materials, photographs, posters, or other accessories.
Iris are increasingly popular with Austin gardeners, especially the tall bearded varieties. Iris are well adapted to the exigencies of our local soils and climate. They are hardy, tolerant of drought and alkaline soils and do not require a lot of water. They do need a well draining soil and at least six hours of sun each day. For best bloom performance, they should be fed at least twice each year (around Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day) with a high phosphate (the second number) fertilizer.
While the traditional blues and whites growing essentially unattended in cemeteries and around abandoned farmsteads remain very popular, there are literally thousands of modern cultivated varieties to choose from and several hundreds proven to do well locally. If you have contemplated growing iris in your garden, the show is an opportunity to see which varieties you especially like as all entries are displayed with a varietal name. Many of the same varieties will also be offered at the Iris Society's fall rhizome sale since most specimens offered at the sale are donated by members. Fall is the time for dividing and re-planting the crowded clumps.
Watch for the delightful display of multi-colored and textured blooms in the Iris display bed along the front fence just west of the entry to Zilker Gardens and you will know time for the Annual Iris Show is near.