Saturday, April 28, 2012

Opening Day at Diamond Rise

Opening Day at Diamond Rise

Why Diamond Rise?  It isn't exactly "The Breakers" but we wanted a name for 1/2 acre.  Most of the property is behind (south) and east of the house. We are on a rise overlooking what used to be (and occasionally still is) the flood plain for Irondequoit Creek at the south edge of Monroe County.

This is the day of the year that most clearly demonstrates our choice of a name for our home.  Behind our house is the home of Honeoye Falls - Mendon Youth Baseball, five baseball diamonds where Little League and other youth baseball takes place from April through September.  Most of the activity is in May and June.  Today is the first Saturday with a lot of activity, so we assume it's opening day.

We both love baseball and enjoy the activity in our "backyard." Our dog, Koda, sees these folks as interlopers, but for 6 or 7 months of the year it's all his.  The folks that run the place could not be nicer.  It's a symbiotic relationship. They respect us and we keep an eye out for their property when no one else is there.

Being on this rise and over looking the baseball diamonds we call our place "Diamond Rise."

The irises love the well drained soil that slopes away from the house.

Panoramic view from our second floor deck.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Refining My Maps

Another freeze warning for tonight.  I gathered more information on garden measurements today and will combine that with Google map sattelite images and the scale marker they provide to refine my garden maps.  The iDraw program allows me to set up a grid background for easy scaling.  After adding a layer to the file called "field notes" I took my iPad and my tape measure into the garden and scribbled notes:


Entire City of Vancouver eaten by deer...

Their hoof marks left no doubt. Don't know why they found this clump so tasty, but a new application of Liquid Fence was applied.  

Ruins of Tulip "City of Vancouver"
Tulip "Tennessee"
Gavota is a delight.  A rich burgundy is edged by white that blends into a creamy yellow on the pointed petals of this beauty.

Tulip "Gavota"
Kees Neilis and baseball.  Spring is here.

Tulip "Kees Nelis"
Little League behind our house.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Organizing My Iris and Daylily Cultivars

There are many good database programs available to organize any collection.  Being an Apple/Mac user since my first Apple II with 48K of memory, I went with BENTO. (As a frame of reference my current hard drive is 750Gb is 768000K)

Microsoft's Access always alluded me, though I am sure there are easier to use programs now available for PCs.  I started working with FileMaker Pro with a graphical interface that seemed intuitive.  That program got a little pricey ($229 currently is actually a drop from several years ago) and had more bells and whistles than I needed.  But Filemaker saw my niche and a few years ago came out with Bento.  The home version of its powerful big brother, it is easy to use for those of us who know Mac's interface and a I guarantee that I could have anyone using it to their benefit in a few hours.

It comes with templates that automatically sync address book info as well as iPhoto and iCal info.  It also includes templates for home inventory management, project checklists and thousands of templates created by users are available online.

Creating a a template is as simple as creating fields such as Cultivar Name, Hybridizer, Year of Introduction, Date purchased, Picture or Price.  The type of entry for each field can then be formatted to fit the entry. For instance Cultivar and Hybridizer are "text" fields allowing any entry.  Date Purchased can be formatted as a "date" field.  Only a valid date can be entered. It will then be displayed in whatever format you have chosen (mm/dd/yyyy, 28 Jun 2008, etc.).  If price is set up as number field, formatted as currency and designated to display 2 decimals it apply that automatically.  Enter "8" and up pops $8.00, enter 12.9 and you'll see $12.90. Make that 0 decimal places and you'd see $8 and $13 respectively.

The fields are then displayed on the left hand panel.  Click and drag them onto the form and they are automatically sized with a label as seen below. You can drag them around, change the font size and even edit the name of the field or hide it completely. 

Pictures can be imported by search for file names or simply dragging an image from iPhoto or even the web.  They can be resized and repositioned.

Opening a split screen will show all the records (each cultivar is a record) in the database.  The displayed record is highlighted.  By clicking or using arrow keys you will move form record to record changing the record displayed.

Each collection of records is a library.  It can have multiple templates.  While my database contains every bit of information I want including up to six different photos, bloom season, type, height, etc, I have one template that includes only the basics for a visitor to my garden and prints 3 cultivars to a page. That looks like this:

The program is a bargain at $49.  But WAIT!  ... for $4.99 the iPad version is available. Not as functional, but it syncs with the Mac version. Any field notes and photos recorded using the iPad would be sent to the laptop. 

Another $4.99 will get the iPhone version which can also be used to enter info on the run.

Perhaps some of my PC friends can offer alternative for that "other" OS!

It Seems Like Yesterday!

It seems like yesterday because it was. Just yesterday I took advantage of cool temperatures and overcast skies to get some great shots of the tulips.  They"clam up" from the chill and give that classic cupped look that tulips, especially the Darwins are know for. They are ... well ... tulip-shaped.

Tulip "Blue Diamond" with a Kodacolor setting on the Z990
Tulip "Angelique" with the same Kodacolor setting
Tulip "Apeldoorn's Elite"
Tulip "Kees Nelis"
Tulip "Kaiserskroon"
Tulip Darwin Hybrid
Daffodil Double

Winter Returns

There was not a hard freeze last night, but we awoke to 2" of snow on April 23, 2012.  Tonight is scheduled to bottom out at 32°.  Some pics and weather stats from

Tulip "Angelique" in snow 
From the newly repaired roof 
Tulp "Kaiserskroon" in snow
An overview of the last few days and those to come
Specific for today and tomorrow

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The First Bearded Iris of The Season!

Snowy River is a MDB (miniature dwarf bearded) iris.  MDB is the smallest classification, and the smaller they are, the earlier they bloom!  Less than 5" tall and 2" across, this pure white beauty was a gift from a fellow GRIS (Greater Rochester Iris Society) member last fall.

In a month the tall bearded irises will be in bloom!

Tulips So Far This Spring

It's been a marvelous spring of tulips!  I planted lots of new bulbs in the fall and most have produced wonderfully.

The first to bloom was this Fosteriana tulip "Pirand."  It lasted well through several hard frosts. The other Fosteriana in my garden, "Juan" bloomed later.

Tulip Fosteriana - "Pirand" Early 12-14" (observed Early 14")
Tulip Fosteriana "Juan" Mid-Late 18" (observed Early 12")

Then came "Toronto" and "Quebec"... these early tulips are from the Gregii and Kaufmannia groups.  Mottled leaves and fluted bloom are typical of these compact and dense growers.  They are particularly suited for an exposed area where high winds won't mangle them.

Tulip Greigii "Orange Toronto" Mid-Early 14" (observed Early 12")
Tulip Kaufmannania "Quebec" Early 12-14" (observed Early 12")
From the Martha Stewart collection is Brown Sugar.  From a distance the reason for the name is obvious. It renders a beautiful bronze effect.

Tulip "Brown Sugar" Mid-Late 14-20" (Observed Mid-Late 16")
These triumph types did not have a cultivar name but they were also dirt cheap at the Christmas Tree Shoppe. The red and white is a favorite.  

Tulip Purple Triumph Type (Observed Mid 16")
Tulip Red and White Triumph Type (Observed Mid 14")
This was from the Biltmore collection.

Tulip "Tennessee" Mid Season 18-20" (observed Mid 13")
Packaged together these were from Lowes. I have discovered that if you are lucky you can get some great bulbs form Lowes... but you can also waste your money... and the prices are not really a bargain in the plant department. 

 Tulip "Angelique" Late 16-18" (observed early-mid 12")
Tulip "Blue Diamond" Early-Mid 12-20" (observed Early-Mid 12")
From Bristol's, a local nursery... "Mickey Mouse" is my favorite!  The painted look is really spectacular.

Tulip Kees Nelis Mid 16-18" (observed Mid 12")

Tulip "Kaiserskroon" Mid 12-14" (observed Mid 12")
Tulip "Mickey Mouse" Mid 12-14" (observed Mid 12")
Tulip "Gavota" Mid 16-18" (observed Late 14") 
Many have commented that "Angelique" blooms less prolifically and has less color the second season.  I have noticed that even the first year the color deepens rather than fades as the bloom is out...

Tulip "Angelique" 2nd season Late 16-18" (observed Late 14")
These are from a low priced, large quantity of Darwin Hybrid Mix. Though stunted by the strange spring, they are big and showy. I don't care for the combo of bright pink and Yellow/Red blooms.  I have marked the Yellow/Red bulbs to replant them in their own spot.

From Darwin Hybrid Mix (observed Mid 19")
Just bloom is "Happy Generation" and some others I cannot identify...

Tulip "Happy Generation" Mid 18" (Observed Late 13")
Tulip Unknown Peach-Pink (observed Late 16")
Tulip Unknown Purple White (observed Late 14")
Red Oxford and Gold Oxford are blooming as well. Some have yet to bloom or are lost.