Iris Shaw, owner of Iris Garden Service, at 90 is like that little pink bunny with the batteries. She doesn’t know how to slow down.
It is one of the things she credits for her long and, so far, pretty healthy life.
Shaw came to Arizona in 1963 from California with her husband, George Buckpitt and their family.
“We flipped a coin. We were leaving California for either Arizona or Houston. Arizona won,” she said.
She started her landscaping business by going door-to-door in the neighborhoods around her Tempe home. The business grew, but the heat became too much for them, so in 1978 they sold their home and came to Payson.
“I was going to retire, but I couldn’t stand it. I also wanted more of an income. You can’t retire on Social Security.”
She has loved gardening all her life. Her father was a farmer and she started gardening at the age of 8.
There weren’t a lot of people in Payson when she and her family moved here, but she feels the community has grown in a good way. In time, her business also grew and her son, Charlie, a landscaper, joined her. She has always hired people from around town to help as well.
Her son worked with her until his wife became ill and they had to move back to the Valley. Her husband George died and the rest of her family grew up and moved away.
In recent years, with the economy causing many of the part-time residents to sell, her business has been slow. Still, she kept her little advertisement in the Roundup, letting people know she was still around and ready to take care of yard work, clearing debris and maintaining gardens as needed.
“My customers are all coming back now and there is room for more,” she said.
“When you own your own business, you never want it to stop. I think I got that from my father.”
At 90 she doesn’t do a lot of the heavy lifting or gutter work anymore, she supervises and pitches in as needed.
“When you wake up in the morning and have something to do and a place to go, you don’t think about yourself,” she said in explaining her long life. “Keep meeting new people and stay active.”
To get in touch with Iris Garden Service, call (928) 474-5932 or (928) 951-3734.