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Sedgwick Man Grows Colorful Irises

Posted 5/18/2017

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK – Take a drive north on Hoover off of 125th Street in Sedgwick, almost to Eighth Street, look left and be greeted by an explosion of color. The color comes from the bearded iris garden of Amos Lewman.

His 40x40 plot has just around 91 different iris plants – yellow, pink, white, rust, peach, and even black. Then there are the blue or purple varieties in so many different shades, light, dark, some with white, and some with yellow.IRISES at Lewman’s are a riot of color.IRISES at Lewman’s are a riot of color.

Lewman, originally from Wichita, moved to Sedgwick from St. Louis a couple of years ago after he retired. He brought the first two rows of plants with him. There were 18 different colors in that first planting.

His collection grows as he spots other colors of the flowers and asks for a start. “I just put eight more in that I didn’t have,” Lewman said. He found them on N. Seneca in Wichita.

Irises grow from rizhomes and are fairly easy to grow. The old fashioned flower has been around for years.

All irises start out yellow or blue/purple. All the different colors come from growing hybrids to get new colors. Lewman is seeing some color change occurring naturally in some of his irises.

“Irises have three bottom petals, that point down, and then there are three upright in the middle the flower. I moved some irises from one spot to another and the new flowers are a different color, and all six petals are pointing down. They almost look like a Japanese iris,” he added.

They are more than just pretty flowers too. Irises have distinct, sweet fragrances, with no two plants smelling the same. “When the wind bows just right, my neighbor sure gets some sweet air,” Lewman chuckled.

Lewman plans to keep bringing more colors home as he finds them. He also has plans to enlarge the garden area. Peonies are planted in with the irises and he wants to take those out.

He is not a member of an iris society, and doesn’t even know the names of all of the varieties of colors he has. His home is not filled with vases of irises either. He says,

“I just like them. They are pretty and smell nice,” Lewman said.

When asked which of all of those 91 plants were his favorite, he simply said the yellow ones. “I like them because they stand out,” he added.