Irises Ready for Annual Show on June 3-4


The Monument Valley Iris Society will host its annual Iris Show and Sale on June 3-4 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Panhandle Research Extension and Education Center (PREEC) in Scottsbluff. 

“I’m really excited. This looks like the perfect weekend for the show,” said Kathy Nielsen with the Monument Valley Iris Society. “It looks like we’re going to have the majority of our irises in bloom.”

A couple of iris varieties growing at the Panhandle Research Extension and Education Center. UNL/Chabella Guzman 

The iris garden on the PREEC campus was taken over by the Monument Valley Iris Society about 20 years ago and has a variety of tall bearded irises and miniature irises.

“Most people like the big showy irises, the tall bearded ones, which are the ones in bloom mostly right now,” said Nielsen.

The miniature and intermediate irises will generally bloom earlier in the year. So, many in the garden at PREEC have already finished blooming. Nielsen said growing all three in your iris garden can often extend your bloom time. 

The society will have a sale of rhizomes, where anyone can stop by to add or begin their own iris garden. Irises are relatively easy to grow. The plants are drought-tolerant and like sunny areas. The rhizomes do need to be separated after growing a few years as the bulb spreads. Nielsen said the plants like sandy soils and don’t like too much nitrogen, which makes them a good low-maintenance plant for western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. 

The Iris Show and Sale will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, and from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. Society members will be in the PREEC foyer and in the garden to give information and tours. 

The public is invited to bring their irises on Saturday morning for entry into the “People’s Choice Award,” where the winner will receive 10 free rhizomes. The iris plants do not have to be named. Rhizomes will also be available to purchase or order for $5 during the show. 

For more information about the show or irises, contact Kathy Nielsen at 605-209-7578.