Corner Iris Picture

Prepping for exhibition

by Kristee West

Treat for aphids and thrips early enough so that the stems and blossoms show no evidence of the pesticide. Growing garlic or onions next to your iris may also minimize the presence of the bugs.

Use high phosphorus fertilizer (Bloom Booster works well for me) 4 weeks and 2 weeks before bloom season to encourage high bloom count and better branching.

Print a list of the irises that you think you will have in bloom for the exhibition.

Clarence Zurbrigg 1990 M RE
Returning Rose 37" Maryott 1998 M & RE
Midnight Mink 41" Cadd 2000 EM & RE
Midnight Caller 37" Byers 1989 M & RE
Feed Back 36" Hager 1983 E-M & RE

Highlight any that you may wish to sell at the fall sale. Be sure to get good pictures to include at the sale.

Review the printed schedule to determine the best category for your iris. Now you have a plan.

If windy or rainy weather is predicted a day or 2 before the exhibit, cut the iris (being careful not to leave fingerprints on the stems) and bring it indoors.

Decide whether to use plain water, water with sugar or water with floral preservative.

If the blossom appears like it will open too early, wrap it with toilet paper and tape or very carefully pin it. I have known avid iris competitors who empty their spare refrigerator and keep the iris cool to delay the bloom time. This gives them more entries.

If the blossom appears like it will open too late, place it in a warm, well lighted room to speed up the bloom time.

If the iris has fingerprints or other mars on the stem, use a makeup brush or cotton ball to smooth out the blemish. Some people even use talcum powder to blend away the blemish.

When placing the iris in the display container, be sure that there is no leaf touching the top of the container.

Position the iris so that the branching is visible from the front and place the label on the container so that it is obviously the front.

Use 2 address labels to put your name on the flower entry label.

Bring extra flowers so the group can make floral arrangements to take to the shut ins or nursing home.

Have fun!