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CAROL'S CORNER - Current Observations for the month......November 2004
Take a look at the kiosk at the Fort Gardens next time you are there.  It has been woefully neglected for quite awhile, so we added a little color with some photographs and a little more information.  All contributions or suggestions from members are welcome.  Anyone who wants to add something, just write it up and give it to me and I'll take care of the rest.

Putting the Iris Beds to Bed

Every Fall for nearly 25 years, the Missoula Iris Society (MIS) has had a final work party of the season to prepare the public iris gardens for winter.  Tuesday, October 5th at 4:00 p.m. about 7 members and a few Addeo grandchildren showed up to welcome the free load of pea gravel from JTL Construction as it was dumped by construction truck driver Sheri Wurth, who happens to be this writer's daughter. KPAX-TV showed up, too and gave us a little publicity on the 5:30 news.  A lot of work was accomplished that afternoon, but there was more to do.   Then, the final, final work party was called for Saturday afternoon, October 16th.  Granted, it was short notice, even though Elinor was kind enough to call a lot of people, but turnout was not so great: about 5 members and 6 Addeo family members, some too young to do much more than get in the way.  A lot more was accomplished, but alas, still not finished.  Zona and Billie seem to be "it" for the most part.  And before 2003, Bob Symes and Honk were "it" for many years.

Like many things in life, the gardens have suffered growing pains since they were started in 1981.  Much as the society members themselves have aged, so did the garden.  In 1981, when a handful of members started digging a bed from a field of rock, weeds and grass behind the Fort Missoula Historical Museum, they envisioned a showplace of award winning iris, planted chronologically each year to encourage the public to visit and allow them to see how iris have evolved over the years.  An added benefit would be that the beds themselves would supply quality, locally grown rhizomes that could be sold at the annual fundraising rhizome sale.

Thanks to Billie and Zona, the gardens are looking great again.  I, for one, went out and weeded my little assigned plot, as I hope others have done.  We're getting there folks.  As in the past years, it's still only a few people doing most of the work, but somehow we're pulling together and getting it done.

Next year we'll reap a reward of celebrations with our 25th Anniversary plans.  Get involved.  Help where you can and we can take some time next year to thank those first pioneers who started the garden in 1981:  Pat and Nancy Ryan, Ron Dunn, Ken and Rose Mary Baier, Jerry and Donna Bowers, Dave and Carol Durnford and Bob and Billie Gray.  Thank you heaps!   We hope we didn't miss anybody.  If we did, please let me know.