JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin city flower is in the spotlight as part of the city’s 150th birthday celebration.

“I had them along my back fans, the north side of my house, and around them the front,” said Diane Reid Adams, Tri-State Iris Society.

To say that Diane Reid Adams is a big iris fan is a bit of an understatement. The former city council member loves the early spring flower.

“I was appointed that liaison from Council, to the celebrations commission, here’s my chance. I brought it up and they said, ‘Okay, now you’re the Iris lady of Joplin,'” said Adams.

It’s been her goal for years to shine a spotlight on the official flower of Joplin.

“A lot of people didn’t know that years ago. We used to have them on the city sticker that we had to buy to put on our cars’ city license after they quit doing and just kind of disappeared or something. I’ve been on a quest for years to get it recognized,” she said.

It all dates back to 1938 when the Joplin Garden Club adopted the idea of a city flower. Members planted 30,000 irises all around town… the president of the club even gave it a new nickname.

“The orchid of the Ozarks,” said Adams.

Here and now, the Tri-State Iris Society donated hundreds of irises to the cause.

“They gave me over 800 Iris rhizomes. I gave the Parks Department about half of them. For the City Parks. I took them to Missouri Southern, the library, several schools, both hospitals, the airport,” she said.

Sesquicentennial efforts are focused on building a map of iris plantings — and officials are recruiting local gardeners to highlight their own efforts near public places.

“You can see them from the roadway or walk up to them – we don’t want people going on private property and interfering. And please, it is Mother’s Day weekend, no plucking the flowers. But we want to be able to see them. And if you have a garden that you want to allow to be part of tour, that people can drive by and walk up to. That’s what we want to do,” said Patrick Tuttle, Joplin CVB Dir.

The Iris Garden Tour will take place on Saturday, May 13th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested can follow this link here.