JOPLIN, Mo. —
Garland Bare fell in love with irises when he was a child of missionaries in Tibet.
Mary Bell’s chiropractor suggested she get a hobby like growing irises, and he offered her some irises from his garden to start.
Ed Young said to say that irises are easy to grow is an understatement. He once threw some irises away in the woods and they took root.
“They’re reliable bloomers,” Barbara Knell said. “They don’t require watering once they are established and growing in the ground, except during drought or near drought.”
Bare, Bell, Young and Knell are among the Tri-State Iris Society members who want to share their love of growing irises with anyone who might be interested. The club’s annual sale and auction is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Ewert Park at Seventh Street and Murphy Boulevard.
Modern and historical irises will be available for $1 to $5 during the table sales beginning at 10 a.m. Newer varieties from the last five years will be auctioned at 11 a.m. Bare will be selling the irises left over from the sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Webb City Farmers Market.
Young said the best time to start them is August to September. “They’re so beautiful,” he said. “This last spring, they were really nice.”
Bare and his wife, Dorothy, now live at Spring River Christian Village, where they grow about 60 reblooming irises and species irises in a 6-by-20-foot area. The Bares have species from Tibet, Kashmir, Siberia and Russia.
Iris do not grow from a true bulb but from a rhizome, Bare said. They produce new rhizomes each year, which he referred to as increases.
Bell said she got four or five irises from her chiropractor’s garden in 2005, and she now has about 300 different irises she can identify by name and numerous others she cannot identify by name.
“I bought some because of the names and some because of the colors,” said Bell.
Some new iris introductions may cost $50 to $100 in catalogs, Garland Bare said. “The longer the iris has been introduced, the lower the price.”
He said $45 is the most he has ever paid for an iris.
Bell said she has paid from $5 to $65 for irises.
“Once I got into it, it just became a habit,” Bell said of her irises. “I didn’t plan on getting this many. It’s become a hobby.”
Want to join?
THE TRI-STATE IRIS SOCIETY members meet at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday of most months at Southwest Missouri Bank at Zora Street and Range Line Road. The group welcomes new members. Annual dues are $5 for an individual or a couple. Details: Garland Bare, 417-621-0555.