The Otago Iris Group is holding its first show tomorrow.
Gillian Vine reports.
Most specialist garden clubs have annual shows but after
something like half a century in existence, the Otago Iris
Group is about to have its first public competition.
"Bob and Alva Macfarlane, who are among our oldest members,
say there hasn't been a show in the 40 years they've been
involved in the club - so we're saying this is our first,"
convener Laurol Chadwick, of Waikouaiti, says.
They have had displays each year, usually in Dunedin's Centre
City Mall, with top-class blooms from Waimate grower Brian
Harris always attracting plenty of attention.
Mrs Chadwick and Elaine and Robert Fisk, also from
Waikouaiti, decided it was time to go further.
Other committee members agreed and so show day is tomorrow at
Dunedin North Intermediate School, 34 North Rd, Northeast
Because the intention is to encourage people to come along
and see how varied and beautiful irises can be, entry is
free, although a gold-coin donation would be appreciated, Mrs
She also hopes people will support the show in another way,
by bringing along irises of any kind - but not other kinds of
flowers - tomorrow morning to compete in the show. It costs
$2 each for one or two entries, $5 for three and there is no
extra charge for any further entries.
"If you know what your iris is called, that would be good,
but that's not essential," Mrs Fisk says.
"Above all, we want lots of entries."
Don't worry if you've never showed a flower before, Mrs
"We'll have stewards on hand to help. Just bring your irises
along between 9am and 10am [tomorrow]."
With a Queen of the Show prize of $150 at stake, there is a
great incentive to enter, Mr Fisk adds.
At the show, there will be displays of irises by Mr Harris
and Noel Lapham, of Mossburn, as well as floral art
presentations by Marilyn Fleming, of Invercargill.
The Fisks have a fine selection of irises, including many
tall bearded varieties, some of which are very old as they
are keen members of a national group devoted to saving
heritage irises that are not now available commercially.
These are important, not just for sentimental reasons but
because their toughness makes them sought after for modern
iris breeding programmes.
The Fisks also have lots of setosas, Siberian and other
types, including delicate lemon-flowered Iris forestii,
discovered in China in 1910.
Libertia grandiflora, the largest of the four New Zealand
libertias, which are members of the Iridaceae (iris) family,
thrives in the Fisk garden, demonstrating its tolerance of
the same dry, sunny conditions that suit their bearded
Along with other natives, perennials and roses, they have
been integrated into an attractive whole - and all this in
just eight years.
• The Otago Iris Group show, at Dunedin North Intermediate
School, 34 North Rd, Northeast Valley, tomorrow, Saturday,
December 1, is open for entries from 9am to 10am, then opens
to the public from 11am to 3pm. Entry is free but a gold-coin
donation would be appreciated.