to the
Greater St. Louis Iris Society!
(Organized circa 1950)
Greater St. Louis Iris Society newsletter


Sunday, Dec. 5 (Yes, this coming Sunday!)
1:00 pm (think 12:30 to set up)
In the Botanical Room at MOBOT
Potluck – bring a dish to feed 6-8 for each person coming, and canned goods for charity
Turkey, dressing, gravy, drinks and serving-ware provided by the club
Bingo and super “iris” prizes
Bring canned goods for food pantry if you like
Iris-fanatic and general conversation / fellowship

Also, colorful 2011 AIS iris calendars will be available for $5 each.


I hope each of you had a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving, and wish you a Merry Christmas as we celebrate our end-of-year holidays. The Greater St. Louis Iris Society and our sister organization the Kirkwood Iris Society have had another eventful year of good times together, along with some sad ones.

We have had local and national speakers provide programs ranging from Arils & Arilbred irises, beardless irises (Louisiana, Japanese and Siberian irises), The Garden in Four Seasons and American Iris Society Convention 2010 slides. Speakers included Dana Brown of Malevil Iris Gardens, Lubbock, TX, Melody & Jerry Wilhoit of Redbud Lane Iris Gardens, Kansas, IL, Nyla Hughes and your president. Several of our members attended the Kelly Norris, Rainbow Gardens, Bedford, IA presentation for the Gateway Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society. Since Kelly is the editor of the AIS Bulletin Irises and the program included irises, we donated a small stipend to help with his trip expenses.

Our two iris shows April 24 and May 8 were a visual delight to those who participated or viewed the shows. The latter show was noteworthy with its UFO (unidentified flowering objects) Section that attracted four first-time participants. We were able

to help them on exhibition dos and don’ts and even identified several of their grandmother’s unknowns. Their excitement was refreshing and we hope they come again, as they joined on the spot.

Long-time member Rose Pohousky, St. Charles, MO, was featured in a newspaper article in the Suburban Journal entitled “The Rose behind the Pralle Lane bloom” and it is always amazing what this 91 year old member accomplishes in her iris and daylily garden.

The AIS national convention was held in Madison, WI, and the Region 18 convention in Jefferson City, MO. Both offered the opportunity to view hundreds of bearded and beardless irises and to participate in educational programs on irises and their environments. If you have never attended one of these events you are missing a significant part of the “Iris Experience.”

Our volunteer assistance to the Missouri Botanical Garden continued, and we held our annual MOBOT Garden Sale in July. Even with the downturn in the economy the sale was a great success, resulting in our donation to the Garden this year of $6,000 and newly purchased irises priced at $1,028.

We thank those members, MOBOT staff and non-members who helped with the dig, labeling and actual sale. It is a labor of love. However, we would like to spread the labor a bit by having more of you help in 2011. Our MOBOT volunteers, Gary Keller, Nyla Hughes, Judy Watters (albeit at the Butterfly House), Inez Mariani and Jim & Jean Morris, need help. We work in the MOBOT Alice Goodman Memorial Iris Garden every Thursday morning during growing season. We would welcome one or two additional volunteers. It is a very rewarding experience interfacing with the Garden’s horticulture staff and the general public who genuinely want to learn about irises. Please think about volunteering to help. Call me at (636) 256-3927.

Our member bearded and beardless auctions were a success as we made slight profits on each. Our assets are in good shape, as Treasurer Judy Watters reports each meeting. This enables us to provide at least one national speaker each year. If you have a speaker or program you would like us to present in 2011, please call me with your suggestions at the above number.

Over 70 irisarians attended the Region 18 Judges’ Training at Mineral Area College in Farmington, MO, in October. This was a treat as hybridizer Keith Keppel of Salem, OR, taught his last training class on TBs and Medians. He is the master! Your president also presented on Awards & Ballots.

On a sad note we lost two members in 2010. Gail Wilkerson of House Springs, MO, did many things behind the scenes and brought wonderful food to our meetings. Now we also report to you the death of our Energizer Bunny Rita Gormley, of DeLeon, FL. Rita had a stroke last week and we are stunned by her passing. She was a dynamo in our club before she moved, and with AIS for several years. Rita seemed to do everything in every organization and she was everyone’s official “nag”. You didn’t want to receive her digital “cat” communication. (See her husband Tom’s write-up separately.) Both Gail and Rita will be greatly missed.

We hope to see many of you at our remaining calendar event, our Holiday Party on Sunday, December 5 at 1:00 p. m. Happy Holidays!



Sunday, January 1:00 pm – Board Meeting to set Budget – location to be announced. (No general meeting in Jan.)

Sunday, February 27, 2:00 pm –General Meeting – program to be announced

Sunday, March 27, 2:00 pm –General Meeting –Guest Speakers Bob Bauer & John Coble, Internationally known Japanese iris hybridizers from Ensata Gardens, on Siberians, Japanese, etc.

Friday, April 22, 2011
11.00-3:00 pm
- Show setup in Orthwein Hall, MOBOT

Saturday, April 23, 2011
7:00 am - 05:00 pm Early Iris Show
, Orthwein Hall
(The only GSLIS flower show this year, so plan to exhibit and attend—no GSLIS mid-season show!)

May ? – Marquette High School (GSLIS-sponsored mid-week iris show) Date to be announced, but this is your chance to show TBs!)

May 20-22 – Region 18 Convention & Garden Tours
St. Joseph MO. (Some wonderful gardens on this!)

May 30-June 4 – AIS National Convention in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Saturday & Sunday, August 6-7 – Iris preparation for sale – tagging, clipping, etc. All hands on the Hort Deck for these fun/work sessions!

Friday, August 12, 2011
9:00 am-3:00 pm
Orthwein Hall - Setup for Iris Sale. Come help put out baskets, irises, and pictures!

Saturday, August 13-Sunday, August 14, 2011
9:00 am-05:00 pm
MOBOT/GSLIS Iris Sale Orthwein Hall We need everyone’s help for our big money-maker of the year to support our activities.

Sunday, August 21 – 1:00 pm GSLIS Picnic, Iris Auction, and Door Prize handout. Bring a side dish for potluck, club provides meat, drinks, and cutlery.

Sunday, September 25, 2:00 pm –General Meeting and Beardless Iris Auction.

Sunday, October 23 – 2:00 pm – General Meeting
Program – What’s New in Irises Seen at Conventions

Sunday, December 4 – 1:00 pm –Holiday Party Potluck
To round off our iris year!

Greater St. Louis Iris Society Contacts

President: Jim Morris 636-256-3927
Vice-Pres. Robin Gosnell
Secretary Jean Morris 636-256-3927
Treasurer Judy Watters 314-878-0460
Past Pres. Bob Barker 636-240-3911
MOBOT Liaison Nyla Hughes 314-961-6745

To join GSLIS, send dues to Judy Watters,
2518 Westrick, Maryland Hts., MO 63043
$5 single annual or $8 dual annual

Meetings will be held at Missouri Botanical Garden, 2:00 pm, 4th Sunday of Feb., March, Sept., Oct. Flower shows April and May, MOBOT Iris Sale in August,

Picnic/Members’ Bearded Iris Auction in August, Beardless Iris Members’ Auction in September, Holiday Pot Luck in December.


Rita Gormley – In Memorium

Here's the message Tom Gormley sent to AISdiscuss to let all Rita’s iris friends know about her passing.

Thank you so much for the outpouring of sympathy and warm thoughts for myself and Rita. She loved all of you and spent the better part of every day (naps not included) involved with you in some aspect of irisdom.

Rita passed away peacefully with both of her daughters holding her hands at 5:20 am on November 17th. Her brother, son, sister-in-law and I were there with her also. When she was released to hospice on Wednesday it was an incredible relief to her family as the people there were the most caring and compassionate we have ever had the good fortune to meet. Both she and her kids were treated with grace and dignity. It humanized everybody involved, allowing us to remember that this wasn't just a sick and dying body plugged into tubes and wires but our mother, sister, friend and wife. Our Rita, who over the course of her life has unreservedly thrown herself and all the resources available to her at every problem, issue or project that came her way. Whether it was caring for her many foster children, volunteering her time and talents at a shelter for abused and battered women or more recently with all things iris, she gave it all she had.

Because of the distance the family has decided that there wont be a formal memorial service here in Florida, however come spring I will be doing a road trip to scatter her ashes in the places she's directed. As I do this I'll be stopping at various places with a retrospective of her life and times. You will be advised beforehand of when and where these will be.

Many of you have asked where you can send donations as a memorial to her. I can think of none better than the hospice that comforted her and her family at the end of her life. They have many needs so if you choose to, please send your memorium to me at PO Box 177, Deleon Springs, FL 32130. When a reasonable period of time has gone by, I will gift the proceeds to them in her name.

Knowing as I do that she had many irons in

the fire at any given time, I have to ask all of you to step up to the bar and help me in making arrangements to transfer this workload to the many of you she was working with.

Whether it was in her capacity as Editor of the Medianite or SJI Review, RVP Counselor, Treasurer of HIPS or MemSec of MIS. There are a good many things that need to be attended to and I for one don't want to be on the receiving end of one of her cat reminders. So please begin making arrangements to have these taken care of.

Again, I thank all of you for your friendship and thoughtfulness during this time and ask that you remember her as the vital, caring and committed woman she was by committing random acts of kindness for your own part. Give someone who may not deserve it a kind word or a hug, just because. I know I have a lifetime of them that I can't give to her now.

Tom Gormley”


Fall Culture Tip

If you have late planted bearded irises or small plants (especially good for SDBs and MTBs), mulch them for the winter with coarse sand (traction sand), or even better, with pine needles. These will let air through to the rhizome. With the freeze-thaw cycle St. Louis winters bring, this helps keep them from winter-heaving. Or cut a coat hanger in half and pin the rhizome down to the ground on any that seem vulnerable.

For beardless irises, mulch with chopped leaves—oak leaves give a “fluffier” cover than leaves that mat flat, like maples. You’ll want a year-round mulch on Japanese, Louisiana, Siberian, Spuria, and beardless species irises anyhow, so this gives you a head start.

Come spring, you can fertilize early, right onto the leaf cover and let the rain wash it into the soil in place.


Armadillo Warning

Yes, they’ve come to the St. Louis area, and they dig in the soil like pigs—rooting everything out and destroying whole iris beds. (They’re also the only animal that can carry leprosy, so if you shoot one, don’t skin or eat it!! Unnecessary warning, right ? !)

If armadillos start invading your area, you may need a pest or wildlife control contact to trap them.

Past issues (Newsletters Archive)

© 2011 - Greater St. Louis Iris Society