After 79 Years, Still Gardening



Iris Garden Service has groomed yards in Payson for three decades. Owner Iris Buckpitt-Shaw (center) and her two employees, Jeff and Greg, do all of the work by hand.

Some people are just born to do a certain job. For gardener Iris Buckpitt-Shaw this is true.

On a spring day 86 years ago, Buckpitt was born. Her mother, still searching for a name. looked out the hospital window and spotted irises blooming “and that’s what she decided to name me.”

Maybe it was a premonition, because for the last four decades, Buckpitt has been tending gardens in the Valley and the Rim Country with Iris Garden Service.

As a child in upstate New York, Buckpitt said she got her start gardening when she stole an asparagus from a farmers yard. When her mother found out about the stolen stalk, she promptly made her return it to the farmer who told her to keep it. The next year Buckpitt started her own garden in the yard with the help of a yard keeper.

“I did everything to spite my mother,” she said. “I was very rowdy and wild instead of being the dainty, little girl she wanted.”

Seventy-nine years later, Buckpitt is still growing her own food at her Payson home and helping others with their gardens.

“I like to keep a well-groomed yard,” she said.

In 1978, Buckpitt and her first husband, George Buckpitt, came to Payson from Tempe where they had a successful gardening business.

Shortly after arriving in Payson for her retirement, Buckpitt realized she needed something to do to keep busy so she started up her gardening business again.

Today, Iris Garden Service provides a variety of tasks including yard work, clean up, planting, trimming, gutter cleaning and on-going maintenance at reasonable prices.

Iris also specializes in roses. For 29 years, she kept a rose tree growing in her front yard.

Iris and her two workers are available for commercial and residential properties of all shapes and sizes.

The satisfaction of seeing a well-groomed yard is enough to keep Buckpitt going forever.

“I never plan on retiring,” she said. “I will do it until I can’t do it anymore because gardening keeps me thin and my mind active.”

For more information, call (928) 474-5932.


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