LYNDA MILLER’S SHOW EXHIBIT PREP TIPS
Walk your garden two days before the show. Look for well-balanced, straight (vertical) stalks. To achieve ideal balance, you can wedge branches apart with short stem sections of a spare stalk. Remove dead buds now.
Show supplies needed: sharp knife, scissors, cotton ball, cotton swabs, BALLPOINT pen, and writing pad to make notes.
The night before the show, cut stalks with buds about to open or partially open. Avoid leaning stalks. Leave wedges in place all the way to the show.
Write the iris name on the bottom end of the stalk with a ballpoint pen.
Store stalks upright in cool water and in a dark, cool location, e.g., a garage.
Leaning stalks: Cut and store with a light shining on the back side of the flower(s). Flowers will straighten up as they lean toward the light.
Prepare transport system, such as plastic crate filled with empty bottles. Use various size bottles, based on size of your stalks. Fill the bottles halfway with cool water. Use stem segments or wads of paper towel to wedge show stalks upright in the bottles. Another system: Fill a large bucket halfway with cool water. Cut two layers of chicken wire slightly larger than the mouth of the bucket. Bend the edges of one wire layer under and push it down into the bucket. Then bend the edges of the second layer and push it down into the bucket, leaving a 4-6” space above the first layer of wire. Align the wire holes over each other. Place stems in the wire holes. Wedge stems upright with wads of paper towel or newspaper. The goal is to transport your stalks to the show without their moving around in your vehicle.
At the show, hold the stalk by a leaf to avoid leaving fingerprints on the stalk.
Select a vase appropriate for your stalk. We have vases for tall, medium, and short irises.
Cut the stalk to be proportional in length to its vase: about 1/3 vase to 2/3 stalk.
Cut off brown leaf tips in a natural line with the leaf edge.
Do not use green paint to cover leaf or stalk imperfections.
Do not pin, tape, or glue a flower to a stalk.
Lightly brush the stalk with a cotton ball to remove fingerprints from the waxy coating. Do not polish the stalk until it’s shiny.
Place completed exhibit tag on the vase in the same plane as the front of the stalk. The front is the stalk’s side you want facing the judges.
Dark flowers: blow them open. Use cotton swab to carefully remove debris on petals.
You can leave small stem wedges in place on the stalk, but they must not be visible.
Wedge the show stalk upright in the vase with sections of spare stalk.
OUT AND ABOUT….
Kevin Vaugh recently flew to Iowa, where he was the key note speaker for the Iowa Arboretum’s Spring Fling symposium. While there, he also gave two lectures: “Not Your Grandmother’s Irises”, which covered all the iris groups he hybridizes, and “Hybridizer on the Loose” in which he described all the other plants he hybridizes. Many iris members from various groups attended, including several from Minnesota. His hosts arranged for a book signing event, too, giving Kevin the opportunity to autograph copies of his new book, Beardless Irises.
Locally, Kevin was the subject of a Garden Time video at his Salem garden. He was interviewed about his sempervivum hybridizing, which he’s been doing since he as nine years old. See the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvVHjM5u5eM.
We are the Oregon Trail Iris Society and we meet monthly in the Salem area. Each meeting has a new and fun topic. You don’t need to be a member to join us.