This is Katy's story, as told to me and published with her permission;
Scented iris bring back memories of my childhood growing up in a home floral, nursery business, and farm in Las Animas, Colorado in the 1950's.
Every "Decoration Day", now called "Memorial Day", my parents cut their iris and we five children carried from the field, armloads of iris into our onion storage warehouse. There a team of women created fresh bouquets of iris and peonies with our floral shrubs for fillers.
Those iris armloads were heavy, but I loved their floral variety, colors and varied scents as a child!
The local elementary school lunch cooks saved gallon and half gallon vegetable cans all year for my mother to cover with pretty and colorful floral foil for complimentary bouquet containers. My parents delivered these floral arrangements to the community cemetery early in the morning after working for the previous twenty-four hours. They had received telegram and phone and letter orders from all over the United States, as the youth who left this small town for distant jobs wanted to honor their deceased ancestors.
This was the most prosperous season of their business and I assume that similar floral displays were in every local cemetery in the West. Townspeople congregated in the town cemetery to visit graves and clean the markers and headstones or to listen to the military programs of the VFW or American Legion men. I was saddened when plastic flowers, and then silk flowers became popular in cemeteries, probably in the 1980's and since then.