(Abilene, Texas – Sept. 14, 2022) – McMurry University invites the community to join in planting the new Centennial Iris Garden on Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. in Wah Wahtaysee Park. The community is encouraged to bring their gardening gloves and trowels so they can participate in planting the bulbs. Light refreshments will be provided.
The Centennial Iris Garden is a returning tradition to McMurry. The original was started in 1962 by biology professor Dr. Norland C. Henderson and later tended by Dr. Joe Humphrey. Plans were to relocate the garden when the University added the Furr Welcome Center in 2007. However, the irises did not survive in storage, so the relocation was delayed.
“Our Centennial is about remembering the past and looking forward to the future,” Centennial Coordinator Nancy L. Smith said. “The garden is an excellent way to do both by re-establishing an old tradition and cherished garden.”
Many of the irises will be donated by retired McMurry professor Pug Parris, who became interested in the garden when she was a McMurry student and has grown over 100 irises for the new garden. The garden will be an ongoing project with a sculpture to be added this Spring when some of the irises are expected to bloom. The sculptor is Dan Brook who sculpted McMurry’s Grant Teaff statue unveiled in April.
“There is something amazing about the legacy of a flower,” Parris said. “It warms my heart the most when someone sees my irises and says it reminds them of their grandmother. They remind me of when I was a student here first being introduced to them.”
Parris has fond memories of the first iris garden and hope future generations will make memories there, too. She is proud that the garden will be ADA accessible, so everyone can enjoy it.
“There were proposals of marriage in that iris garden,” Parris said. “I would love to think in the future that someone will get down on bended knee to someone and propose, and they’ll have pictures taken of them in the iris garden.”
Those who attend the planting will receive a commemorative token. McMurry will officially kickoff its Centennial celebration on September 22 with Convocation at 11 a.m.