Annual Iris Show scheduled for May 30 and 31

The Monument Valley Iris Society will be hosting the 35th annual Spring Iris Show May 30 -31 at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center. The show includes an open photographic division in addition to horticulture and artistic divisions featuring bearded and unbearded varieties in a variety of color combinations. Admission is free and the exhibits will be open to the public Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The University of Nebraska Panhandle Research Center is one mile north of Scottsbluff on Hwy 71.

The iris are in full bloom. Members of the Monument Valley Iris Society are pleased to announce that despite the weather the show will have a bountiful selection on display at the 2015 Monument Valley Iris show this weekend at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

“We selected the late May date and hoped the iris would cooperate,” said Stan Haas, a self-proclaimed "enthusiastic" member of the Monument Valley Iris Society.

“We got lucky. Warm temperatures early this spring got the irises coming on strong, but then the cold weather slowed them down so we are right on schedule.”

The event is an enjoyable educational experience for growers and spectators alike, said Haas.

“We do enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s great to have the public come out and walk through the displays and compare varieties in the horticulture and design exhibits. We encourage everyone to come out and to be sure and walk the display gardens on the DA Murphy Panhandle Arboretum located on the north side of the Extension Center road.

“Not only do we enjoy getting together and growing irises, but we enjoy the competition. Everyone is trying to get ‘queen of the show’ also known as Best of Show, which is quite an honor,” Haas said. “We like to see others enjoy our iris.”

There are typically several hundred iris entries each year, Haas said. Irises are popular in this area, able to withstand various spring weather conditions. Through the years, Haas said improvements have been made to the iris.

“Over the past 50 years there have been many interesting color combinations introduced, as well as the beardless varieties, resembling an orchid.”

Sanctioned by the American Iris Society Region 21, the event has grown since its inception 35 years ago and includes entries from Mitchell, Kimball and Torrington, Wyoming, and other areas of the valley.

Exhibits may be submitted for competition by any iris grower.

The 2015 Monument Valley Iris Show is May 30 — 31 at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center, a mile north of Scottsbluff on Hwy 71.

Entries are due at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 30. The show includes both horticultural and artistic divisions. There will also be an open photographic division. Judging will be concluded by noon Saturday and exhibits will be open to public viewing at 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. and viewing will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, May 31. The event is free and open to the public.

The Monument Valley Iris Society will have iris for sale donated from club members’ gardens as a fundraiser. Many of the sale irises can be viewed at the show or the UNL display gardens at the DA Murphy Panhandle Arboretum located on the north side of the road, leading to the University Extension Center. Purchases will be delivered in the late summer.

For more information on the event, contact Ron Charles, 308-632-0886 or LeRoy Meininger, 308-575-0749.

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Stephanie Holsinger is a reporter with the Star-Herald. Contact her at 308-632-9044 or by email at stephanie.holsinger@starherald.com. Find her on Facebook and on Twitter.