Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Argyle Acres

My latest piece for the Cross Timbers Gazette is posted here in pdf. It's about Joe and Donna Spears, a couple in Argyle, Tex., who are painting American lawns with every color but red, one iris at a time. Here's a passage:

The hobby that started out with a few plants from his mother’s garden has bloomed into 1700 varieties, “not that many considering there’s 80,000 registered varieties,” said Joe, but it is enough so that today the Spears sell to iris lovers all over the country.

The vibrant colors that attract many a traveler are born of the work that starts in October with the planting of the crop—hearty best sellers and crowd pleasers. By “January we revise the website and we prepare the new catalog, so we can begin to take orders in February,” said Donna, who in her other life is a process and documentation specialist for EDS. All winter long, they catalog and record data, which gives them much to discuss at their Fort Worth Iris Society meetings. “We’re addicts,” said Joe. “We go sit in a circle and we talk about our addiction. It’s group therapy.”

In July, the shipping begins to the northern climates. The Spears have customers as far as the New England states. “Crunch week” comes around Labor Day with further harvest and shipping to the southern states.

I'm absolutely no gardener, but I'm feeling brave lately and I am going to visit them when the irises bloom in April and maybe purchase a few for next spring. I'll try to get some colorful pictures.

Their 2000-square-foot log home was gorgeous and makes me kick myself for choosing a suburban development over undeveloped neighborhoods. I shall soon cease kicking because 1. it's impossible to know what experience requires and 2. I don't want to risk knee injury.

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Blogger Mike (in S.A.) LaRoche said...

I'm no gardener either, but one of the drawbacks of living in a garden home and belonging to a homeowner's association is that there are little options for creative landscaping.

That being said, I've been a suburbanite most of my life and would likely be out of my element in a more roural setting or undeveloped area.

3:09 PM  

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