Friday, May 19, 2017

Brown's Iris Gardens, Kirkland, Washington

Family History can get real strange. I planted irises this Spring. It kept reminding me of a relative/friend of my Mom's that I remember from growing up on Finn Hill. We were far away from family, but mom found one, a descendant of Daniel & Peninah Cotten Wood and she shared some copies of Wood Family history that I still have.

Her name was Alta Brown. And remembering that she and her husband ran Brown's Iris Gardens, a rather beautiful place up there when Finn Hill was not all houses, I thought I would try to find her on Family Search to see how we were actually related. It was a frustrating search as I ultimately found that her name was Hazel Alta McCarty Brown (1909-2003), so she was very contemporary with my grandparents.

I remembered that they sold irises. The internet informed me that they hybridized irises. Her husband, Rex, registered 93 varieties. Alta registered a whopping 267 varieties!

A few of the varieties developed at Brown's Iris Gardens
I added in a whole lot of information on both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. Apparently, Rex was not a member of the LDS Church when we knew him. All his ordinance work was done after they both had passed away -- but there was not much information about him and not a blip about the irises.

Well, it's there now. Funny thing about irises. They kind of grow on you. I think Cousin Alta and Rex are happy to be remembered this way.

I did not know that they were first established in Lynnwood by 1956
By 1965 they were established up on Finn Hill
I wish there was a better copy of this newspaper photo
It got even a little more odd in that Alta and Rex retired to Hemet, California and are buried in the San Jacinto Valley Cemetery. My boy teaches high school band in San Jacinto and they live in Hemet! So I'll have a chance to visit Alta and Rex's graves. I'll be sure to leave some irises.

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