The Buzz

April's the perfect time to see new plantings in the Iris Garden

This past fall Memphis Botanic Garden received a large donation of well over 500 Iris rhizomes from Schreiner’s Iris of Salem, Oregon. This planting of over 35 new varieties will be a welcome as well as beautiful addition of new Bearded Iris to our collection. Six other Iris beds were also planted with 63 varieties of Bearded Iris donated by Virginia Hill, a past member of the Memphis Iris Society. Her son Doug Hill, is the newest member of our Horticulture team. A big thank you to both Schreiner’s Iris and the Hill family. The best time to view them in bloom is generally the last two weeks in April. If you come at the right time you might meet Doug, who is proud of the new additions to the garden and can talk to you about the Iris.

The Iris Garden is our most Historical Garden. A collection of Iris Rhizomes was donated to the City of Memphis by the family of a Mrs. Ketchum who had been a “ Iris Fancier” back in the 1950s to be planted in what was then Blue Bird Park. Over the years there have been inevitable changes, foremost of which was the change of name to the site becoming Memphis Botanic Garden. The Iris Garden had always remained the Ketchum Iris Garden. It was in large part maintained by the members of The Memphis Iris Society. Prior to the 2000, it was designated the Bi-Centennial Iris Garden for the state of Tennessee and dedicated by none other than the governor’s wife Mrs. Sunquist. The Iris is also the state flower of Tennessee. The whole foot print was changed with more hardscape and iris beds terraced in concentric beds surrounding a beautiful round reflecting pool with a large statue of Isis, Goddess of the Rainbow at its’ center. The statue and fountain donated by the late John Pierce a famous Memphis nurseryman.  

By Rick Pudwell, Director of Horticulture at MBG

Posted by Memphis Botanic Garden at 8:57 AM


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