Iris show no more in Minneota

MARSHALL – A drought of weather and a drought of members has caused a Minneota institution to discontinue.

“It is with much sadness to announce that the Minneota Area Iris Society cannot continue to exist,” said Iris Society member Rita Dovre of Minneota.

Dovre, who has been a member since the 1970s and has held varying officer positions throughout the years, said the club began in 1959, at which time it was called the Garden Club.

“At that time there were 26 active members,” she said. “Sometime in the late 1960s it was renamed the Minneota Area Iris Society. Members from surrounding towns joined, thus the name change.”

The club and iris show flourished for many years.

“At one time we were one of the biggest shows around, even bigger than Minneapolis,” she said.

For the last couple of years the area’s persistent drought conditions have resulted in a blight to the iris. The show has had to be canceled for the last two consecutive years.

“We lost the majority of our gardens,” she said.

In addition to the loss of plants, the Iris Society has suffered from a withering membership.

“The younger members are too busy to garden,” Dovre said. “The club started with farm women who didn’t work outside the home. Now women are working, plus they have children.”

Caring for irises and preparing for the Iris Show is “high maintenance,” Dovre said.

The club has dwindled down to 10 or fewer active members.

“It’s pretty hard to put on a show,” she said.