(Above: 'She's a Doll" by Lynda Miller (R. 2010) at Hartley Park, Victoria, BC. You will not see MTBs like this in some conventions.)
Whatever the reason, I’m always amazed at the variety of people that comprises AIS, and their passion for irises. If you’ve been to a garden trek at your local club, you probably have observed all the friendly discussions that have turned up around our favorite plants. Well, I think those friendly discussions intensify at national conventions. Many of us become iris fanatics, and we could spend a serious amount of time observing a certain bloom, certain foliage, and discussing their many attributes, or perhaps find many faults. I think discussions, or call them arguments, are all good for our gardening society, as they are part of our educational process for better understanding iris growth habits, soil conditions needed for successful bloom, and for realizing better development of plants.
(Above: Unknow Pacific Coast Native Iris at Spiers Garden, Salt Spring Island, BC. You will probably not see these PCNIs at many conventions).
But for me, one great reason to attend national conventions is as follows. I love being around our older -- excuse me, more mature -- members. Many have grown irises for years and know exactly how to nurture each variety for thriving results. I love listening to their stories of past conventions, and their own conversations with hybridizers and growers.
(Above: Government House, Victoria, BC)
Just recently, one of them told me why she so endeared a certain garden visit she paid to Monty Byers, and how he was so special in her heart. It brought so much more meaning to my experience of observing Monty’s creations. Be it not for their shyness, we could find that these experienced members have a wealth of knowledge.
So, next time you attend a convention, perhaps CALIZONA GOLD 2012, establish a friendly conversation with AIS members, but specifically with "mature" members and you may just find something new about irises that you never new before.
Now, please tell me your reasons for attending an AIS national convention.