Freda Gaw, right, talks about an iris with her friend Dodie Curtis on Saturday at the annual Maine Iris Society Show at the Auburn Middle School. They come down from Guilford every year to admire the flowers and buy plants. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

AUBURN — Daring Deception and Strange View were among the varieties that transformed Auburn Middle School into an aromatic landscape of every color Saturday.

The annual Maine Iris Society Show was contained in two rooms, one with plants to be judged and one with plants for purchase.

Plants to be judged by members of the American Iris Association were irises with and without their stalks, peonies and hosta leaves. There was also a people’s choice category, in which attendees could choose their favorite flowers.

Alan Treworgy of Lewiston said his wife bought an iris at the show years ago and it still blooms every year, along with other plants in his two large perennial gardens.

“I raise a lot of vegetables, as well as flowers,” Treworgy said. “We have a window that looks out on the garden. It’s nice to look at while we eat.” 

Mike Parker of Lewiston said he cast aside his vegetable seeds for a perennial-only landscape, and he “loves irises.”

“I like the shape, the form, the colors,” Parker said. “I have about 100 in my garden, and it’s a small garden. Gardening is more fun after you retire. You have more time to putter.”

Young said irises often get a “bad rap” because the bloom doesn’t last very long, but if a gardener has a wide variety of species, they could theoretically have brilliant blooms well into July.

“Irises can also re-bloom,” he said. “But in Maine, the growing season isn’t long enough.”

Show Chairman Peter Young has judged at plant shows for 20 years and has grown irises for 40 years.

“Each iris has its own set of characteristics depending on its genetic makeup, and the judges are expected to know what each particular variety should look like,” Young said, “which is, of course, impossible because of the huge number of varieties there are.”

The Maine Iris Society’s next event, the annual Tall Bearded Iris and Daylily Auction, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Treworgy Estate in Gorham, according to its website.

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Tara O’Leary of South Paris takes photos of flowers on display at the Maine Iris Society Show at Auburn Middle School on Saturday. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

An iris at the show.(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

An iris at the show. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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