Eeek- I'm an iris rustler! Historicals- lots of pics

berrytea4me(Z5 CO)June 2, 2008

Well, we were rained out from our annual treck to put flowers on our family gravestones for Memorial Day so I took the kids down there yesterday...and noticed all the iris were in full bloom (usually miss this but our cool spring has delayed bloom).

Of course "I had to rescue" a few rhizomes of each because they were growing out into the lawn area and being mown.

Unfortunately I did not come prepared with bags to keep them separated so I planted them all in one area and will have to wait for them to grow and bloom to separate them by ID.

And, all I had was my cell phone camera so not the best pix too.

I only "rescued" the ones that I recognized as historicals that were in bloom at the moment. I'm sure there are many others in the cemetary that either were not blooming or I didn't recognize the "look" of "old".

Check out my album. If you open the pictures you'll see any comments I made on the flower.

Rescued Historicals

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I'd like to seem them but can't without a password.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:12PM
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mike_g_(Zone 5b OH)

I wonder what the family members would think when you brought the kids to honor them and then teach them stealing is OK if you say it is rescuing.

It is always stealing when you take something that does not belong to you.

I hate when people rescue my iris when I am not around.

What do you others think?

Mike G

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:14PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I think the family members would say "Hoorah for preserving the heritage of the plants of our day. I love x flower and I'm glad someone cares enough to make sure future generations will appreciate it and have it available to grow. Thank you for teaching your children to appreciate something special from my life".

Protecting heritage plants growing at cemetaries by harmless divisions or cuttings is quite common. More so among roses but growing interest among other plants as well. Now that said, I agree that there is a problem with this if people deface or damage the plants so the others who visit the graveyard can't also enjoy and appreciate them.

To be clear, I think it is important that people doing this do it w/o damaging the "mother" plants or defacing the graveyard in anyway. I did not and would not take any blooming plants, damage any plants at any gravestone, take any from a grave that was actively cared for. I only took the smallest possible starts and only from the edges were they were already being mowed down regularly as part of the graveyard maintenance.

My family gravestones were here for 60 yrs without anyone tending them and I would not mind in the least if someone would have taken the interest to preserve plants from their gravesites during that time. In fact I'd be delighted.

If the caretaker had been present that day I would have gladly asked to help divide some of these badly overgrown & neglected plants- in fact I plan to call to arrange a time to do that later in the season.

In my geneology research I have found that caretakers welcome this kind of help and are excited to have people care enough about preserving heritage to want starts of the plants in addition to information about their relatives. I would actually like to map the heritage plants at the cemetaries in my area for the study & preservation of the plants.

Have you had people help themselves to plants from your persona property? If so, I'm very sorry that you experienced that as your maintained personal property is entirely different from a neglected public cemetary, especially in a town where generations of my family served in public office and helped to pioneer for the rest of us. I can understand an experience like that making you oversensitive to something like what I have described.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 7:14PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Sorry, I thought photobucket would let you view my album from the url. I'll post them separately here:

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:06PM
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mike_g_(Zone 5b OH)

I introduced an iris named Sunshine Louise to honor my sister. My brother plants it almost every year at her grave and it gets rescued when it blooms.

They often get rescued at my camper to.

Bottom line is it is still stealing if it does not belong to you. It is up to the people who own them to decide if you can have them. You could spend jail time for doing it.

If you are realy interrested in preserving the old ones join Historic Iris Preservation Society.
I am done

Mike G

Here is a link that might be useful: Historic Iris Preservation Society

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 9:51PM
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Thank you so much for sharing the pictures. They are beautiful.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 11:57PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Yes...thanks so much for posting the pics...I never tire of seeing more iris pics.


I emailed you about sending you some of the Sibs, but have not heard back from you...did you get my email?


    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 12:38AM
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As the caretaker of our small country cemetery -- Your "rescue" efforts would not be welcome. No matter what is happening to the plants, if you didn't plant them, you are stealing from someone else.You are also trespassing on someone's grave, the lowest form of theft - must be stealing from the dead.Your clever wording does not change the fact - it is stealing. Your wording to the thread - leads me to believe you know that all ready.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:20AM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)

I agree they are beautiful! and belong to someone else! Call it what you want...stealing is stealing.

You want heirloom plants that's a great thing to teach kids about--- do the work, hunt them down-- on the web, plant swaps, ask friends & neighbors, ask a living family member, join a society but for goodness sake don't steal them...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 6:14PM
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stage_rat(5--Indiana Riviera)

Irises that have spread into lawn and were getting mowed--I'd grab them too. How is it a theft, not a rescue, when the plant is being killed? You can see a mowed stub in one of the photos.

Irises that have needed division for so long that the plants are overcrowded and not blooming--I'd grab some rhizomes right out of the middle and hope it helped.

It's sad that people have stolen iris or any plants that were not in those circumstances. I agree that it's wrong. However, I have seen so many neglected and under-cared for cemeteries that I am not going to leap into judgement about this poster. Just because some people outright steal, I don't agree that the lady who took some irises overgrowing a grave was stealing.

"Stealing from the dead." Hmm, seems more like the cemetery wasn't caring for the grave appropriately. Isn't it stealing from the dead, to not provide the services that they or their family have paid for? In addition to stealing iris rhizomes that would get mowed to death, this lady may also have stolen some weeds and garbage from those graves--I hope we track her down and make her pay for this crime!

You know what I like to steal from graveyards? Dead grass. Some of my relatives' graves are lost in a "well-cared for" graveyard. Flat headstones need to have the grass clippings removed from them, or soil builds up and grass covers the stone. After I couldn't find my own family's stones, I scraped a lot of other people's stones clean, so it wouldn't happen to them. Those stones were twice as big as I expected--that task hadn't been done in years.

I once visited a graveyard in Mexico when the graves were decorated around Day of the Dead. I was wandering a lot, not stepping on graves, but sometimes stopping short as I realized the row had shifted, and I'd have to backtrack. A cemetery worker admonished me to treat the graveyard with respect. What? I'm walking through with care, and this is something wrong? I used my horrible Spanish to ask if having human bones exposed, as they were at a grave that I showed him, was proper respect for the dead. He didn't get my point, (or at least I didn't see him grab a shovel) so I suppose many of you won't get my argument about the irises. But I tried.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Well put stage_rat,

I imagine that a lot of family members think that planting perennials will be something that will just be there forever...well, a lot of them won't...just as we all know that about any perennial requires some maintenance at some it irises that are growing over the top of old rhizomes, or a peony that has sunk due to grass clippings and time.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 5:54PM
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I have to agree with stage_rat. It is too bad that the self-designated holier-than-thou morality police are always so ready to gang up on people and publicly berate them (deliberately misunderstanding and distorting what they have said). Many fine horticultural specimens have been propagated from material acquired from the graves or abandoned homesteads now overgrown by woods. Berrytea4me specifically said that he/or she did not take them from actual graves, but from mown pieces in the lawn of neglected ones, but was treated as if she/he had.

On the other hand, this demonstrates the usefulness for some sort of protocol or presentation strategy that will not leave one vulnerable to such attacks, such as belonging to a society, asking for permission, and the like, or at least not omitting to suggest or indicate that one had or did, if only for self-defense.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:42PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I've been letting this one simmer trying to cool down a bit over being called a theif by those who would annoint themselves judge, jury, and jailer without even taking the effort to gain the facts.

Every cemetary has different policies, different local codes, different ownership models, and different caretaking needs. You simply cannot apply some universal law to them, it does not exist.

Thank you to those who have e:mailed me in private and to those posting here on the forum in my defense.

I wondered why this forum was so quiet when I first started watching it and I guess we can all see why now. New people are just plain run off by a few. It is a very sad statement for the iris to be left in the hands of those who refuse to answer newbie ID requests and wait like hungry lions for the chance to attack. If the experienced won't share information, what legacy do they leave for the iris? How else are those coming behind to move the plant forward for future generations?

I'm glad to know that irisareans are not all so unfriendly.

Let me add a bit more context to this situation.

First, I AM a member of HIPS. I joined that society almost a year ago but I have to wonder about that group as they accepted my credit card payment, gave me access to their website (both automatic features of their website) but I have not once received any communication from the society or any of its members. I am also a new member to my local combined iris/daylily club- a local instantiation of both societies. Not that either of those memberships should give me any more credentials or respect.

Second, the graveyard in question is city property. The city has opened it to the public. Everyone buried there or their family has signed a contract stating that it is open to the public and that they do not own any rights to their gravesite---it is simply not trespassing to visit or memorialize any grave there. Even if it were, I have a great-grandmother whose burial location is lost. The records were lost in transition from handwritten logs to typed 3x5 cards and the original records destroyed. She is not with the rest of the family because her space was given up to a grandson who preceded her in death. She died in a time of poverty when it was common to find unused plots of friends and neighbors under some private agreement. The records are simply lost and she is somewhere in that graveyard that we will never know for sure where.

If I honor her by caring for random neglected graves it would be well within my rights, an honor to her, and a kindness to someone else who has been long forgotten. No one can prove she is not at any gravesite there, except perhaps in the new section that is still in use. Furthermore, no-one is going to take my id, dna, and pedigree to research whether I am a legitimate family member much less friend of anyone buried there.

The graveyard policy for planting is that each gravestone may be planted in the area around the stone where the sod has been removed. There are strict rules on what types of plants can be placed there. This area is at most 6" all the way around the stone. Perennials that are left untended and exceed that space to invade the lawn are weeds and will be removed or mowed at the caretaker's disgression. The caretaker is frustrated by them as they dull his mowing blades.

Some of the iris I saw in that graveyard were on at least the 3rd layer of rhizome mat that I could see without disturbing them & 3-4 ft in circumfrance. I didn't even take any of those though they are well outside of the alotted planting area. Instead I limited my efforts to weeding the grass of mowed rhizomes.

There is no dishonor or disrespect to any person's memory for one to weed around their burial site, in fact it is an kindness to them. It is not stealing, and it is not illegal to remove weeds from the lawn which is public right of way, in addition to planting annuals at my direct family's headstones.

monarda there should not be any posting protocol to prevent being attacked [perhaps you meant that to be read with sarcasm?). On the contrary, it should be a response courtesy to offer people the benefit of doubt instead of assuming the worst and creating your own story around the information missing in their post.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 12:49AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I'm sorry. I put a typo in my last post. The planting area around each stone is 6" (inches) around each headstone.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 1:18AM
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shapiro(5a Ontario)

Like Berrytea4me, I have an interest in historical irises. I have rescued varieties growing in abandoned lots, people have given me a piece when asked ("that old thing?") and on occasion, I have helped myself to one rhizome at a cemetery - I admit it. For me, it is a question of "stewardship" - helping preserve a hybrid no longer available commercially, which is a living piece of horticultural history. Am I justifying "stealing"? Probably, but frankly, my dear, .....

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 8:21AM
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My late father in law, an English professor, used to re-read periodically Sir Walter Scott's "Old Mortality" which opens with a scene about a man who went around Scotland re-ingraving the crumbling tombs of the seventeenth century Coventanters [who took up arms against the Anglican establishment]. It is considered Scott's masterpiece (though heavy going for readers today).

Anyway, our nation was settled by these fiery old religious fanatics (and ex-convicts) so we shouldn't be surprised at the puritanical passions that sometimes flare up here:

It appears that the novel originated in a suggestion from Scott's antiquarian friend Joseph Train that he relate the anti-Covenanting campaign of James Graham of Claverhouse as if from the lips of 'Old Mortality', an old man that both had encountered repairing the tombs of the Covenanters in Dunnottar Kirkyard. 'Old Mortality' indeed figures in the novel as the original source of the landlord's story, thus adding one more layer to the already dense framing narrative (see Tales of My Landlord). His memory jolted and imagination fired, Scott completed the volume at great speed, penning the last lines in early November 1816.

For Waverley Scott had relied heavily on living testimony from veterans and witnesses of the 'Forty-five'. For Old Mortality, Scott relied on his own extensive knowledge of 17th-century historical sources, on contemporary pamphlets, and on oral traditions. Scott had a long-standing interest in the civil and ecclesiastical conflicts of the 17th century. He had included ballads describing the battles of the Covenanting period in the second volume of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. His introduction and notes to those ballads provide a miniature history of the period and evidence that he was already a master of his sources.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Mortality

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 11:29AM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)

berrytea4me & anyone else I might have offended.

I personally don't agree with taking things that don't belong to me and would want my children to have the same values I was raised with. Sugar coat it & justify it however you please, they aren't yours don't take's that black and white. A lesson learned a long time ago taught to me by my parents, clergy, and community.

I am sorry- I did not mean to attack or hurt any one's feelings. I forgot another important lesson long ago learned-if you don't have any thing nice to say don't say it, I should have simply skipped over this post.

Everyone has their own thoughts and personal responsibility to do what's morally right. Some see things different than others, that's what makes us uniquely human.

Stewardship/preservation/jumping to conclusions/public land/private land? WHAT?---- Am I right that these were taken to a private garden for the enjoyment/education of whom? What are the futures for these "rescued" iris? Donation to public areas, historical associations, public gardens, a breeder, shared with fellow iris members, replanted on abandoned graves or enjoyment for a single garden? As far as I can understand the iris were taken from the edges of the clumps growing in the grass, great but what was done to help the remaining iris? In the name of stewardship or preservation shouldn't you have asked for permission to dig up & replanted for future healthy growth. Then I could see planting the extras on another grave, passing them on, adding them to your own garden, and tossing the bad ones. I just have the impression the only motive was in taking iris and not improving what was there. It's irrelevant whether the others were harmed or not, it doesn't appear you helped them either. If I'm wrong correct me please. That all said I'm done with the issue, I forgive you and hope you forgive me---- lets move on and talk IRIS! :)

I'm also sorry some think that questions go unanswered by newbies, let us not jump to conclusions! personally if I know the answer to the question or have any input I will answer. I don't take the time to check how new someone is or isn't. These happen to be my FAVORITE these always are GREAT questions and have what seem to me knowledgeable answers. I know they have helped me in the past. As far as ID goes how can every iris be expected to have a known name perhaps the reason for minimal answers, aren't the iris in question old, historic and names unknown thus the reason for "rescuing" them? Was this the reason of posting the pictures? Sorry I can't help you there.

I have seen some like the ones in your second picture around here in many of the old gardens. In fact the next farm down has some that just started blooming. when I go out later today I'll stop and ask the woman if she knows anything about them. Her bed of these is about 6 feet or more and just as tightly packed, she once told me she never digs them up I can imagine how deep these rhizomes are, that farm has been there since the early 1700's and there are graves in the cellar. She's always out side & in her 90's and loves company, last year she gave me a nice clump of cushion spurge. Of course she said something like ...'Oh we'll go get the shovel... could you carry that basket of laundry to the line for me.... and before I knew it I had hung 3 loads for her before she was ready to get the shovel. A smart old Yankee for sure and I had a great afternoon. She also told me all about some kind of model A car parked in the barn we looked at on the way to the shovels. :)

Any of the other I can simply say they are beautiful and I'm sure the ones you have will be well cared for and much loved.

What were the dates on the stone the ones you have were planted at? Maybe that will give you an idea as to when they were planted at least and do some searching from there. Boy is it going to be hard waiting for them to bloom (hopefully next year) so you can see what you do have...I know the agony of waiting I planted some purchased from our local store they aren't historical, with the intention of white, purple and light purple, well after 3 long years this is what I have... white, purple, light purple and 1 yellow... SURPRIZE but oh are they nice and well worth the wait.

I'll keep my eye on this post for developing ID's.

Happy spring, Karyn

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 9:50AM
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I know that the cemetery where my father-in-law is buried in Lewisburg, Pa., also is very, very strict about plantings not exceeding 6" around the gravestones. If they are vigorous enough to survive, no iris will stay in those bounds for many many years. If they exceed it, they will be trashed by maintenance men. That's the reality.

Berrytea is manifestly not a stranger who just came along but rather is a volunteer cemetery worker of longstanding, whose own relatives of several generations are buried in the cemetery and who is working there with the knowledge and cooperation of the paid staff. Berrytea is also A MEMBER OF THE HISTORICAL IRIS PRESERVATION SOCIETY. Such a person is doing a great service both in helping to maintain the cemetery and in preserving valuable plant specimens from being tossed in the garbage and lost forever.

Arguably, Berrytea's only mistake was to present her quite repectable credentials and civic-minded deeds bit too casually, having perhaps, a too innocent a confidence in the judgment a (and reading comprehension) of some of the more excitable readers of this forum.

"Stealing is Stealing"??? Karyn is quite mistaken. The law does not consider taking abandoned property to be stealing. Furthermore the Bible is quite explicit about allowing that which is discarded to be used by those who have need of it. (See
and also Agnes Varda's very wonderful movie "The Gleaners and I" on this very subject -- or many variations of it).

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 6:39PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

You know it is interesting. I was thinking about this post last night and the thought came me that this situation is so very much like a historical situation I've read.
And here I come to read these last few posts and realize how true that analogy is.

I was raised a "gleener" as monarda terms it. My family taught me very different rules from Karyn though the base values are similar. In my case the values of not wasting and the earth belonging to all of us were emphasized perhaps more than those values she shared were emphasized in her upbringing.

The historical event that I'm thinking of happened at the time one well known religious sect separated from the sect of it's origin. Folks who had joined the new sect with the background of being from original group were insisting that those who had joined the new group with no such background obey the decrees of the original sect. A particular argument broke out over eating meat that had been "sacrificed to idols", an act strictly forbidden in the old order. A very wise leader in parphrase basically told both sides to be considerate and tolerant of the other. Try not to take offense and try not to offend. Perhaps some of you reading this will recognize the story and remember more of the details. I believe that wisdom is still very relevant today.

Karyn has very graciously extended an apology, both offering and seeking forgiveness. It was brave of her to take this step first. I accept and extend the same. If I have offended anyone reading these posts, either in my actions or in my words, please forgive me.

And I agree, let's get back to iris.

Karyn, let me answer some of your questions that I have inadvertently left out of previous posts. First, I mentioned above that I would like to map the historic plants in this cemetary. My intent with the plants brought home is to study them for possible ID. Enjoying them in my private garden is a pleasant secondary effect but not my motivation.

It is difficult for me to get away to visit the cemetary as my children are special needs (autistic) and I have had no childcare help available outside of my work hours. I've just been accepted into respite care so we'll see how that goes but in the mean time this was probably their last visit to the cemetary for a few years. Every time I tried to take a picture or plant an annual I would look up in horror to realize they were either running away or doing something terribly inappropriate like jumping from headstone to headstone. I was so embarassed. They simply have not developed impulse control or language and attention skills to behave appropriately in that place. People will often overlook that behavior in a 2 or 3 yo but by 5 expectations are different. I've been lip-lashed enough in public for "not controlling" my kids that I've learned it is just better to not take them where their disabilities will be mistaken for bad parenting.

In order to accurately ID the specimens at the cemetary I need to observe the plants bloom season & growth habits, and possibly grow them side-by-side with potential matches obtained from a reliable source. I may need to observe if they set pod easy or have good pollen. Getting to ID is the first step. Then I would hope to both map and mark them throughout the cemetary.

Second, after gaining the caretaker's permission, I hope to divide and care for some of those neglected plants that are in danger of loss. Yes, with that kind of division I would expect to possibly plant starts of them at other grave markers, or potentially even pot some up and host a sale to benefit the cemetary and local historical society. That kind of effort would take a lot more than just me, myself, and I.

All of this is a dream. It will take many years to do it. I only hope for the opportunity to make progress on it one little step at a time.

With all the distractions I did not record the dates on each of the graves where plants were collected. These varieties grow in several locations throughout the old section of the cemetary. The dates in that area mostly range from 1901 to 1929, there are few from the 1930s and 1940s sprinkled around but not many. I've seen none later than mid-1940s.

I have a respite Saturday coming up and plan to spend it recording more observations at the cemetary. Will try to collect this information then.

I appreciate any help with IDs.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 12:37AM
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mareas(OR Zone 8)

Have you found the Historical Iris Preservation Society website? Including a link.
I think your last photo shows ALCAZAR - I stole it off a mat of iris rhizomes growing over the edge of a sidewalk a few years ago. *grin*

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 1:48AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

At first I didn't think ALCAZAR because the veining on the falls of that last picture go so much further down and the color seems lighter blue-tone purple. However, when I look at the flowers at the back of the clump, both in my picture and the pictures at HIPS site, I see the length of the veining varies from flower to flower and some of the background flowers on the HIPS picture look more blue-ish like mine. Sometimes it is hard to tell though as multiple iris varieties have grown together and look like one big clump.

Maybe that's a match? Anyone have a trusted source of ALCAZAR where I could obtain a start for comparison?

The white one I think looks a lot like JAKE at HIPS site. Anyone with experience growing that one?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:43AM
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Dear Berrytea,

I admire so much your loving, generous spirit.

The message of Scott's "Old Mortality" is also that of reconciliation --& a wish to honor the dead. The hero Morton is a moderate Presbyterian in love with an Anglican girl who finds himself drawn into the conflict against his will. Scott deplores extremism of both sides of the conflict, though he is sympathetic & understanding of their motivations.

I think rescuing old irises is a way to memorialize the past, as well.

I do hope so much everyone will get to rent or buy "The Gleaners & I" -- myself, I went to see it three times in the theater when it came out & each time was more deeply moved, even weeping. There is a clip of a judge being interviewed , in full robes standing in a cabbage patch with a large law book in his hand, from which he reads, explaining that people have the right , in French law, from time immemorial, to gather what is left over after harvest, if they have need.

"But what if they are doing it for pleasure ('pour plaisir'?" the interviwer asks.

"Then they have need of pleasure," the judge replies, with great finality.

We all have need of some beauty in our lives.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)

Hi again,

Went for a visit yesterday to see my neighbor I was telling you about. It was almost 100F outside and muggy. When I got there she was trying to lay straw down in her "small" berry patch. (Strawberry) this small one was about 1/4 of an acre. oh'my! Well I kicked off my flip-flops and started in lugging straw bales for her and spreading them out talking as we went.

We talked about her flowers and I asked her if she knew what the purple ones were called pointing to them. Well I should have known better, she simply said well dear those are iris....I asked again did she know the name the iris was given so it could be identified and told her the story about the cemetery, and plant names. She still couldn't understand why they would have a name. To her they are flowers growing on the farm where she grew up there isn't time to do actual gardening the way I would. She said to me we grow many things to sell but those old flowers arent one of them. She did suggest I go to see another neighbor as she knew they were growing on that property as well. When I get the chance I will but have a sneaky feeling I will meet the same results.

What wonderful plans for your iris and the future of the ones at the cemetery! Wish I lived even a few hours away from you as I would love to help you do this. Perhaps when you get to the phase of selling them if the names are still unknown give them new names, (Im making this up as I dont know the name of the cemetery or the graves) such as Old North Cemetery Thompson yellow. In honor of the cemetery and a family. Just my idea. I brochure with the known history would also be appreciated by me if I was looking to purchase some.

RESPITE! Oh ya take it and enjoy it. You may go threw several dozen providers but in the end you will find someone who is a good match for your children. I know this because I have living with us and I am the primary care taker for an elderly gentleman who is both mentally/physically special needs. He is not a family member but sure seems like one and I love him like he was. For privacy/legal reasons I can not go into further detail, but he is a challenge. I have worn out several dozen in the past year. Add to this my 2 year old granddaughter who lives with us whom I think has severe ADHA (maybe high functioning aspergers) and like yours has no impulse control and bad decision making abilities and who too doesnt talk. I know she is only 2 and cant be diagnosed at least until she is 3 but believe me-- you know what I am talking about "You know" right? This isnt terrible twos oh its much worse. She has just been accepted into a speech therapy program and I am happy to say she is going to a Montessori school in Aug. I hope she can stay, I have gone threw 7 daycare providers and lost count on private sitters. She and the elderly gentleman are with me 24/7 and I sympathize with you on what the general publics image of your parenting skills are, I am there with you. Just this past weekend she had a huge meltdown in the store and the store manager came over to me and told me to take her out of the store! Then there is my 27 year old son who has an acquired brain injury, high functioning but needs extra help and attention just the same. RESPITE providers are your friends...:0)

Monarda, (thats my favorite flower)

I understand and accept your point of view and even agree except the fact she should have asked first. Taking things that dont belong to you is stealing. They simply were not hers. I dont see a public or private cemetery as being abandoned property and was not looking at it on a legal standpoint, but a moral one. I also believe in this day and age nothing is abandoned, its on property owned by someone and that someone is paying taxes on it. I dont see these plants as being discarded. The owners of them no matter how lax in their care for them placed them there with purpose not in a trash heap along the side of the road somewhere. I also agree that iris or anything else for that matter shouldnt be wasted. She stated in her post there was no one around the day she was there and has intentions of going back to talk with the caretaker. Ok great, I would have done something different and am ok with her reasoning and motive and can accept it.

I guess it boils down to a regional or cultural thing. I know around here some of our public cemeteries are 300+ years old and under the care of the local Historical Societies and Granges. If I was caught taking plants I would be pulling buckshot out of my hind end for days, it wouldnt matter the reason you dont take anything without asking. Then again I live in a community where locks on house doors are more for looks than functionality. In NYC I have the impression if you parked your car in the wrong area it would be considered abandoned in a matter of 10 minutes and stripped clean. My cousin who lives in SD on a reservation wouldnt take anything from a cemetery for any reason yet wouldnt think twice of borrowing the neighbors car without asking or just showing up for dinner and sitting down to join in. Again its the way it is and I might not agree but understand and accept. Thats what makes the Garden web so enjoyable to me we all have different ideas but in the end have a deeper love for the earth and the plants it gives to us to enjoy.

We could come up with quotes from the bible all day, hows this one, ask and you shall receive. All I was saying on a very basic level, dont muddy it with the technicalities of the laws, stewardship, preservation or anything else-- if it doesnt belong to you dont take it. Ask and you may help yourself. Not a huge deal, if I offended you Ill say it again, I am sorry, we have different view points each valid I wont hold it against you if you dont hold it against me the bigger issue is helping her further her rescue any way we can.

I took a peek at youre my page and see you live in Brooklyn what an exciting place. I visited there once while on a dance trip to NYC to do a show at Radio City Music Hall with the Rocketts. Boy is it busy! Have you posted pics of your gardens? I LOVE the look of the smaller gardens in front of the row houses. They are always well organized and a blast of color.

Me Im just a country girl living on a small farm with my much-loved family and animals. When I say farm I am talking about 3 acres of a once much larger farm original to our town, so more of a farm in namesake only. My farming is a small veggie patch for our own family and resident woodchucks, deer and black bear, 2 Haflinger horses, barn cats, a house cat and Beagle.

On the subject of stewardship, I was recently given a start to a plant original to our farm. It sort of looks like a sunflower with many flowers per stem. Its tall and when I get the chance will look to at least know what it is. The woman who gave it to me has had some in her yard since she was a child and her mother told her this is where her start came from. So this yellow flower has come home if I only can keep it alive. I hope the same for the iris and have every confidence in Berrytea by looking at some of her other posts.

Have a great day Berrytea and Monarda try to stay cool its pushing 100 again today and I havent had the time to dig out the ACs and put them in the windows yet.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 1:07PM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)

I think maybe the last photo could be that too. I looked at the reference pic and they look the same to me but I am no expert and many look the same to me. But I guess any mother with a trained eye could pick their babies out of a croud. I'm not a trained iris mother....

To my point I made a quick trip to the other neighbor's this morning. Had a nice chat but she didn't even have the same color iris as the ones I was asking about! She did take me on a trek to their family cemetery out back to show me some she planted around the 40's on her mother's grave and could remember them being called "Alice" thus why she planted them there as that is her mother's name. Alcazar? Alice? My thought is if they were being marketed in the early 1900's as Alcazar, perhaps after a pattent expired, they were renamed Alice. They rename roses.

Didn't you also mention some of the dates were from the 40's?

Shoot myself for not bringing the camera with me, I'll go back and take pix.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 2:08PM
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Thanks for sharing so much about yourself, Karyn. It takes all kinds to make a world, including colorful rugged individualists from out West (my dad was one, but chose to live in NY's Greenwich Village in the 1940s.)

I park my car on the street in front of the local mosque. Or near Lief Erikson Park -- good thing it was not parked there when a tornado last summer blew off the limbs from all the trees there. (Our neighborhood is sort of mixed Egyptian-Norwegian, Chinese, Irish, and Spanish-American, to name a few.) Otherwise I'd have to move it from one side of the street to the other every morning when the street-sweepers come around.

My front yard is not well organized but Chinese passers-by throw money in it. Not sure why. Guess any bit of greenery, no matter how humble is appreciated here.

This week I am going to try to learn to use my d H's digital camera.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 2:31PM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)

What a great story, I think I remember hearing about the tornado there, freaky thing. Not very common in our part of the world.

I bet your right about the donations. Hey I toss coins in the wishing wells at the Chinese restaurant. I know not the same thing but funny. :)

You are right it takes all kinds and there is no reason why all kinds can't get along if you look past the differences. Wish sometimes we had the cultural diversity other places do. Around here if you aren't born in this town you are a foreigner and always will be. Maybe excepted eventually but never one of the towns people. Love the Yankee attitude. Yup! Im a foreigner here, born and brought up a whopping 20 miles away.

I know you love Antique roses and grow a few what else do you grow?

I have a few roses but not much luck in growing them well, I'm looking into the more hardy Canadians this year. Theresa Bugnet I am smitten over and am waiting patiently for mine to arrive some time this summer. I do have DA Heritage & Cottage rose that I love and wish they would do better. I have a few iris names unknown to me but I enjoy them. Planted them 3 years ago in their new locations and this year for the first time have blooms. Not sure if they are worth the wait if they don't bloom again next year. I have a few unknown day lilies, and the new yellow one given to me by my neighbor. My gardens are new, Im trying to reclaim an old stonewall but I think the weeds are winning. I KNOW the poison ivy is winning got the best of me just this weekend, as I sit here scratching.

I will be looking for pictures soon. I had to learn to use a digital a few years ago but like my SLR 35mm better. Wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I tried to link an old photo taken with a throw-away camera some years ago -- maybe 2002. I think the iris might have been a give-away. It is growing in a plastic planter.

Everything is much more overgrown now. The yellow Azalea is a double fragrant American one. Sorry I forget the name. The rose in the back is Eden rose. I put chicken wire on the inside of the fence to discourage little fingers from picking the flowers, but touch wood, haven't had too much trouble lately. There is a bit of tradescantia 'baby doll' peeking in the photo and a tiny bit of the rose Gruss an Achen which only this year has, finally, grown to a respectable size. Cats? Some narcissus 'baby moon' is in there, too, I think, & a hellbore. And my asparagus fern.

The stoop is our neighbors'.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 5:43PM
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Happy2BeeME(4a NH)


Oohhh how pretty! Yes the city is just as I remember it. Your yard IS a patchwork of colors. Thanks for sharing it.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 2:21PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I agree beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I see that your Alcazar also has the longer veining pattern.

Exciting news for me. A member of HIPS found this post and contacted me offline. His suggestions on the potential IDs
From top down:
- no idea
- The Red Douglas
- hard to tell; looks like Round-up damage
- Jake
- Sable Night
- El Morocco
- Sambucina type

He is pointing me to additional forums available at the HIPS website for finding IDs. I had not found those forums before. Am excited to be able to converse with some of the experts in historicals who will be there.

I'll let you all know what I learn.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 10:29AM
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carlos42180(Z5 Chicago)

First, I AM a member of HIPS. I joined that society almost a year ago but I have to wonder about that group as they accepted my credit card payment, gave me access to their website (both automatic features of their website) but I have not once received any communication from the society or any of its members.

Hi Berrytea,

Don't feel too bad. I became a "lifetime" member of HIPS six years ago, when I was 22. The only physical mailing they actually send out is ROOTS, their biannual publication. They used to send the Display Gardens Listing, but it is now by request only, since it is also on the HIPS website and I dont think Ive ever received a hard copy listing of the annual HIPS Rhizome Sale.

Communication is definitely NOT their forte. When Mike Unser became the new HIPS webmaster a couple of years ago, he installed an actual forum where members can actually communicate. This was their first big step in communication in reaching to other members. I had high hopes for it, but there arent very many members using it. I think there are close to 650 total members in HIPS, but less than 90 members are actually registered on the forums. Most only make one or two posts, mostly asking for identification for some unknown iris.

Of those 90 members, I think only about ten of them regularly post. Come to think of it, I dont think that the President or Vice President of HIPS has ever made a post in the forum. Im assuming that most members dont even have access to the Internet or probably even use a computer, or perhaps some members are not really interested. Their lack of mailings is also due to costs. I remember one year they had to cancel an issue of ROOTS because of financial difficulties, although I could be wrong. The HIPS Rhizome Sale is their only real source of income. Of course, this is someone from the outside looking in, Im not a member of their board, just a plain member, and this is just my opinion.

Even though it may look like Im putting HIPS down, joining the organization its actually one of the best decisions Ive made. Through the members that I do know in HIPS, I was able to gain more knowledge on historic Iris and know of locations of where to get historical Iris. Its also nice to just watch from a far. I always learn a great deal from reading posts. I especially love when Walter Moores posts his advice here in the GW forums. A light bulb always goes off when I read his stuff. Ive been growing Iris since I was twelve and I still consider myself a novice.

Brighton Park Iris

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:09AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Thank you for replying to my post. I have enjoyed reading YOUR posts on the HIPS forums and felt I learned a lot from you. You certainly have captured a lot of knowledge since you started growing iris :)

I'm guilty of not being over there to post in the past few weeks as I'm at peak daylily season just now and trying to hybridize, photograph, & show those as well. It is my first year with that too so I'm overwhelmed with learning.

Mike contacted me after reading this post and I have since posted my historics on those forums too.

I still have not ID'd any of them positively but have some leads for a few of them. I ordered some of the potentials from the member rhizome sale (I know, may not be the most reliable source for ID materials) so maybe growing them out side-by-side will help me prove a couple of the theories.

Please feel free to e:mail me to stay in touch.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 7:09AM
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This is an old thread but I learned some things from it. I've had mixed feelings about the idea of taking iris starts from what appear to be abandoned homesteads or unkempt cemeteries. It seems to me, it depends on the situation. If the location is truly abandoned, I could see taking a start, although only a small one. If the location is getting any kind of care at all, I could see asking the caretaker, and seeing what they say first.

Still, I'm not comfortable about the idea of taking without giving something back. I could see providing some trimming around the gravestones, or picking up sticks and debris.

Not having removed iris or any other flower start from a cemetery, it's all hypothetical to me. I was really interested in the comments here.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:08PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Wow, this IS an old thread. I haven't been on this forum for quite some time.

For an update I have positively identified a number of these iris though several remain mysteries.

Positive ID's have been found for:
Pink Opal

Most of these could not have been properly identified if left growing in the graveyard conditions as they were so poorly watered and fertilized that they did not display typical flower form or growth habit.

I still intend to in some way publicize photos and information about these historic iris publicly in connection with the cemetary, perhaps a website or at least a page on my own website dedicated to this.

I've been in touch with the local genealogical society as well. Perhaps there is a way to share this information in cooperation with them- in a newsletter or something. These iris are as much a part of their heritage as the people for whom they were planted.

The cemetary caretakers continue to remove and throw out varieties that grow above their plant height policy so it is good that I rescued as many as I have. Several no longer grow in the cemetary.

I have also begun to replace some of these varieties with historic iris that grow at more acceptable heights.

I continue to research those who have not been reunited with their proper names. Each year I purchase potential matching iris and grow them out to study side by side.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:20AM
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This is the post I was refering to in my email. Hope you read this.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:35PM
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berrytea, I googled on those varieties. Seems to me you actually have rescued them. They are beautiful irises!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 9:57AM
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Jumping in again. There are 8 iris pictured, but eukofios said those varieties are correct. Earlier 6 were mentioned. Which ones are which?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:03AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I "rescued" a total of 20 varieties from the cemetary. Not all are pictured here. Of those pictured in this thread the only one with a correct name known is the white one which is "Jake".

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 11:02AM
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Hope you are receiving my private emails. Stay warm.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:17PM
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I would've done the same, maybe let someone know what I was doing, but good on you. I was only visiting the cemetery the other day, and was over awed by the display of different blooms, sure beats the botanical gardens here in Adelaide any day..

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 2:54AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

:) the caretakers were not available on the first day I was there and I did go back and talk to them later. They encouraged me to come back in the fall when they "mow everything to the ground" and told me that they are in the process of removing many of the iris that grow above their "height limit" set a few years ago. They didn't have any concern with what I was doing so long as I was not removing blooming stalks.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:50AM
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Dearest Berrytea,

Thank you so much for your service to horticulture (and humanity).

Looking at my past posts I am taken aback by how pedantic I come off.

The movie, "The Gleaners and I" (now probably forgotten and unobtainable) did make such a huge impression on me when I saw it in the theater, back in the day.

Sometimes it is a choice between saying too much and saying nothing. We are all gleaners, in a way. Gleaners, gatherers, and re-cyclers. Keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:26PM
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If we are going apply the rule of not stealing what isn't yours absolutely and with piety then lets' apply it to the largest rustle in the history the world. Start shaming our Europeans ancestors and giving most of "our" real estate back to the Native Americans. But, but, .....

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 6:38PM
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double post sooo sorry!!

This post was edited by cherry63 on Sat, Mar 8, 14 at 23:32

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 6:48PM
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I have no problem with taking bulbs from abandoned homesteads (or even empty houses) as long as you don't take so many as to destroy the beds...or from along the road or vacant fields. Again as long as you don't create a mess...but I am superstitous about cemetaries...I dont' believe in ghosts but I am not studyin' encouraging anyone to come lookin' for something if ya know what I mean..but thats me!

and since I finally have my own home, I fully intend to spend some time this spring cruising the back roads here in East Texas looking for pretty things for my yard!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 11:05PM
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