Saturday, May 25, 2019

Highlights of the SDBs and My Garden

The Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB) iris is the perfect choice for just about any gardener.  Its size, 8"-15", fits any garden. While the productivity does vary, most SDBs increase rapidly and form a spectacular display of color.  Ten to fifteen days of bloom is the goal of the best of this class.  They are easy to care for, and require only good drainage, lots of sun and some modest soil enrichment.  Fertilize all bearded iris with low nitrogen and high phosphate.  Ideally 5-10-10 does the trick.

So without further ado, here are this years best!

First place for growth is 'Kewlopolis' by Hugh Stout.  This was planted as a single rhizome 2 years ago.  But wait!  I've already divided it.  Not everyone's choice of predominant  color palate, I love it.  Browns and gold with lighter haft markings on the fall ir sports a lavender beard.  Very kewl!

'Kewlopolis' SDB Hugh Stout

New introductions are often very complex in markings and color combinations,  This "self" by Paul Black may not be a full self because the beards are a contrasting color, but the rest is a perfect shade of soft pink. The deep violet beards that are narrow.  Great form and substance. Paul's ' Puddy Tat' is in the lower right.

'Gate to Paradise' SDB P.Black

Here's a Miniature Dwarf Bearded (MDB) from Paul Black.  Most of the MDBs have already bloomed.  This is one of the last and has some wonderful markings.  Because there was a garden judging session in my garden Wednesday and another tomorrow, none of the spent blossoms have been trimmed.  Judges want to look at bud count.

'Cute As A Button' MDB P.Black

During the judge's training session we were told to pick our favorite flower currently blooming without regard to growth or other factors. This was my choice. Thomas Johnson's Golden Ring has a wonderful form, the tangerine beard and the perfect golden ring at the edge of the falls.

'Golden Ring' SDB T.Johnson

My backyard.  My house is on the top of a raised area that falls off to the Mendon Youth Baseball fields to the South.  Hence the name Diamond Rise. This is the highest part of the backyard.  That's my beautiful KODA!  (When he curls his tail, he's peeing.)  Most of the SDBs and MDBs are at the left edge.

Lot's more to bloom!  Stop over. E-mail me at or call 585-301-8256.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Next Wave Begins: Early SDBs

The next group of bearded iris are blooming.  The earliest of the Standard Dwarf Bearded (SDB) irises have begun.  I urge you to stop by over the next few weeks.  You'll see a less well known, but very satisfying group called "medians."  Taller than the micro MDB (under 8") but shorted than Tall Bearded (TB) irises, they are are less than 27.5 inches.  If you have a smaller garden, have an area exposed to high winds, or can't be bothered to stake the 40"+ stalks, these are for you.  Here are some of the earliest in my garden.

You'll have to look hard to see some dots of color,
but it's worth the wander!

Take a stroll around and look carefully.  These little gems are perfect for almost any garden.  Some friends stopped by and asked me if the all irises were purple and white.  There's no doubt that those are the predominate colors, however there are colors from almost any part of the rainbow.  In fact Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.  The little fuzzy looking beards often supply a contrasting color as in 'Canadian Kisses' from hybridizer Paul Black below.

Bedford Lilac SDB

Canadian Kisses SDB

Ice and Indigo SDB

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

They're Here: Tiny Iris and Tulips

In the Venn diagram of the bloom season this is the intersection of bearded iris and bulbs.  The daffodils are waning and the smallest of bearded iris are blooming.  Miniature Tall Bearded (MDB) iris easily overlooked.  As short as 4" these, once established, provide a lovely carpet of color.

Here are the first MDBs and some of their tulip pals.

Navy Flirt MDB

Wee Viking MDB

Midas Mite MDB

Alpine Lake MDB

Friday, May 3, 2019

Nematodes, Weeding and Feeding

These tulips survived a hard frost.  Dropping in the morning on Monday, by mid-day they revived and opened completely by Wednesday.

Yesterday, May 3, I carefully placed each of these 50 millions nematodes around the irises,  Okay, I used a sprayer.  These microscopic organisms hopefully will feast on the irises borers before they attack the rhizomes. 

Helping me weed and feed the iris, preparing for a bloom season which should begin soon, is the WBD, Koda.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Back in Business

It's April 27 and it is snowing in Mendon. NY, south of Rochester.  35ºF and snowing.  So the garden work will be limited to some shed straightening up and other indoor projects.  It seemed a good time to resurrect my gardening blog.

Facebook has become my way of corresponding with friends, family and anyone else who chooses to follow me. But, in the current climate, it has become filled with political points of view.  I make no apologies for that. Thoughtful reactions to what is being happening are more important than ever.  Responses to religious zealots is crucial.  However, I know that with some people the only things I have in common is the love of irises and news about what I am up to in the local Greater Rochester Iris Society and the national American Iris Society.  That will be the focus here.  I hope that I can build a following here for that purpose. Entries here will be linked on Facebook and the long neglected GRIS page.

Many, many new friends have come my way via GRIS and AIS.  I hope to engage them here.

My next few posts will come rapidly in an attempt to "catch-up" with 2019.  You might also take a look back in time to learn about ny garden.

Below is the first iris of spring.  This bulbous iris, is about the size of a crocus and often mistaken for one from a distance.

Visitors are always welcome!  please feel free to contact me at, or call or text 585-301-8256.

i. reticulata
bloomed April 3, 2019

Saturday, April 28, 2018

First Flyover at Diamond Rise

It's that time again!  A new season of gardening has begun.  Here's the first fly-over video from my drone.

On Thursday, April 26,  I started a new attack on the evil, iris borer.  In the past this would have been a application of Bayer Rose and Flower 2 in 1.  It contains fertilizer, but more importantly Merit, one of the few chemicals that are effective against this very specialized pest.  Actually it used to have Merit.  This year Bayer has replaced it with a new insecticide. I had some left over so I played it down earlier however I am not sure of the effectiveness of the new compound.

When I was in New Orleans I was told there is a way to attack the borer without chemicals: NEMATODES.  These are microscope creatures apparently.  I order 50 million of them from BioLogic on Amazon.  They were deliver in a resealable pouch about 5" x 7".  They came with an icepack and went into the refrigerator immediately.

One teaspoon in a gallon of water and I used my Ryobi garden sprayer to apply them.  I went through 6 gallons and still have about 25 million left. That's based on observation, not counting.

The instructions say if "the problem" is serious you can double the dosage... so tomorrow I'll give the little guys who have settled in some new friends.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Spot Of Tea

There are only a few MTBs (Miniature Tall Bearded Iris) in my garden.   This one from Paul Black in 1988, won the the Caparne-Welch Medal, the top award for MTB, in 1995.  The flower his is just 6" high. The fleck of dusting on he falls are a part of flower. Seeing this bloom is like finding rare treasure easily overlooked.