Janis Shackelford hopes to give you the “Iris Viris” that she happily contracted, herself, in the 1980’s after visiting Cal-Dixie Iris Gardens in Riverside, and has been captivated by irises ever since.
In 1994, lured by the offer of a free iris to new members of the American Iris Society (AIS), she joined, and became active in the AIS. An article about seed germination in the AIS bulletin by George Sutton in 1999 led her to try his method herself, and from there she went on to produce her own hybrids, achieving her first success in 2001.
A native San Diegan who grew up near Balboa Park, she earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology at San Diego State University and remained there for a thirty year career in biochemical research.
Currently a Director and Garden and Exhibition Judge for the AIS, Regional Vice President for Region 15 of AIS, and officer in the San Diego Iris Society, she grows Bearded Iris, Spurias, Louisianas, Siberians and Pacific Coast Irises in her El Cajon garden.
There, she fends off gophers and overcomes limited accessible space sufficient for all of the irises she wants to plant by using underwired raised beds, which the vegetables and strawberries have learned to share with irises.
Janis introduced us to some beautiful irises and their cultural characteristics, and how to grow them successfully, including dividing to share with fellow gardeners.
You can get a head start on exposing yourself to the “Iris Viris” by visiting the AIS website https://www.irises.org/ where you will find an amazing photo-filled Iris Encyclopedia and other resources.
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The San Diego Iris Society was organized in July 1963 as a non-profit public benefit corporation with the express purpose of promoting the knowledge, culture and appreciation of plants in the Genus Iris, and to stimulate interest by planting irises in gardens, parks and public grounds.