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Iris: Large Size
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Iris Farm 3Art Form Tall Bearded Iris
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Iris Farm 2Copper Trident Spuria Iris
Comanche Acres Iris Gardens
Jim Hedgecock switched from raising cattle to planting irises back in 1978, and he's been doing it ever since. He and his wife, Lamoyne, tend more than half a million colorful blooms that dot the hillside on their 17-acre farm in Gower, about 30 miles north of Kansas City.
The couple met at an iris auction, and while Jim grows the flowers, Lamoyne is in charge of the business side of the farm.
They ship about 20,000 to 30,000 plants to customers across the United States, and are in the top five iris farms in the nation. About 2,000 varieties cover the files in a vibran spectrum of blooms ranging across the color spectrum.
Jim hybridizes the flowers and introduces new irises to the market every year. It can take about seven years to introduce a new hybrid to the market, three years for it to bloom after breeding, and then another four or more years to get 100 to 150 plants.
Thousands of visitors schedule day trips to Comanche Acres Iris Gardens, and the Hedgecocks encourage them to wander through the fragrant fields.
"The first week in May, we'll have about 50 people, and the second week, we'll have about 500. By the third week, it's zoo time. We've caused traffic jams on the highway," Jim says.
He is happy he found his calling in life. Years ago, he traced his family name and sent away for a coat of arms.
"When I got the coat of arms, I just laughed. This has been meant to be."
Pictured in one of the quadrants was a fleur-de-lis, which is French for iris.
The best time to visit is May 10 to May 30th for Tall Bearded Iris and June 5 to June 21st for Spuria Iris. The farm is open from 9 am to 7 pm, seven days a week.