Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Light at the End of The Tunnel

As we dive into the winter months, this picture will remind of what lies only a 4 or 5 months ahead.

Meanwhile I update databases, browse the internet for new flowers to order and plan the maps of where they will go.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Midnight ... and the Iris Iris are Sleeping.

Well, not midnight, winter.  We got about 8 inches of snow last week.  The iris are blanketed.  Good insulation.

The snow was vey heavy however and a pine limb that could not bear the weight ended up in my pond.

I have a number of plastic coated stakes with a looped top to support iris blooms.  One was left on either side of solar powered globe light.  Add 8" of wet snow and this fun picture is the result.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Some Winter Sunshine

Dahlia by Dalan Wells
Soon to be in the Collection of
Neil Houghton and Kyle Crawford

My Thanksgiving present to my self was a painting by our friend, Dalan Wells.

This fall, during the peak of dahlia season, Kyle and I were privileged to witness the wedding of Dalan Wells and Brandon Morgan.  These great guys are planning a more formal event in the spring, but were in New York and decided to legally tie the knot .  They'll have legal benefits for Dalan who is now a military spouse.

Dalan and Morgan
How can you have a wedding without flowers!  I headed to the backyard an picked some dahlias and and re-blooming iris 'Immortality' for the altar.

Dahlias and Iris at Home
The day after the wedding Dalan and Brandon dropped over for a tailgate and a tour of the garden. Dalan took many photos and here are some of the other paintings that resulted.

These two are still available at Dalan's Blog which will link you to various places to view and purchase his work.  Hint:  My Birthday is December 10th!

I hope that we can get Dalan (and Brandon, of course) back next spring for the iris bloom!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beardless Awards

Besides the bearded iris, beardless iris are well loved and these awards honor the hybridizers of these classes.  Most popular among these are the siberians.  Beyond their lovely flower the grassy foliage make them a great landscaping choice. My favorites are the Japanese (Ensata) iris.  Their large flat presentation recall the whirling dervish.  Lousiana iris are the only iris with a true red petal.

Here, again from the AIS Wiki are the beardless award winners:

THE FOUNDERS OF SIGNA MEDAL, SPEC irises (Total votes cast = 123)
42 ‘Woolong’, (James Waddick) Iris Tectorum

Runners Up: 
33 ‘Epic Poem’, (Marty Schafer/Jan Sacks); 28 ‘Jin Yu’, (Jill Copeland); 20 ‘Caitlin's Smile’, (James Waddick By Kevin Morley)

THE RANDOLPH PERRY MEDAL, SPEC-X irises (Total votes cast = 159)
45 ‘Roy's Repeater’, (J. T. Aitken)

Runners Up:
37 ‘Wooly Bully’, (Jill Copeland); 33 ‘Celia Welia’, (Jill Copeland); 30 ‘Kinshikou’, (Hiroshi Shimizu By Carol Warner) 14 ‘Everest Blue’ (O. D. Niswonger)
THE SYDNEY B. MITCHELL MEDAL, CA irises (Total votes cast = 33)
9 ‘Hidden Asset’, (Duane Meek)

9 ‘Lines That Rhyme’ (Joseph Ghio)

Runners Up:
6 ‘Rodeo Gulch’, (Joseph Ghio); 5 ‘Dot The Eyes’, (Joseph Ghio)

THE MARY SWORDS DEBAILLON MEDAL, LA irises (Total votes cast = 127)
34 ‘James Faith’, (M. D. Faith)

Runners Up:
27 ‘Frenchmen Street’, (Patrick O'Connor); 25 ‘RenĂ©e Fleming’, (Heather Pryor); 23 ‘Hail Mary’, (Mary Dunn By Joseph Ghio); 18 ‘Frederick Douglass’, (Dorman Haymon)

THE MORGAN-WOOD MEDAL, SIB irises (Total votes cast = 243)
81 ‘Swans In Flight’, (Robert Hollingworth)

Runners Up:
40 ‘Uncorked’, (Marty Schafer/Jan Sacks); 39 ‘Emily Anne’, (Robert Hollingworth); 28 ‘Charming Billy’, (Marty Schafer/Jan Sacks); 28 ‘Kaboom’, (Bob Bauer/John Coble); 27 ‘Haleakala’, (Marky Smith)
 THE ERIC NIES MEDAL, SPU irises (Total votes cast = 132)
38 ‘Missouri Orchid’, (O. D. Niswonger)

Runners Up:
34 ‘Golden Ducat’, (Anna & David Cadd); 27 ‘Hocka Hoona’, (Peter Desantis), 17 ‘Doris Irene’, (B. Charles Jenkins); 16 ‘Sunrise Surprise’, (O. D. Niswonger)

THE PAYNE MEDAL, JI irises (Total votes cast = 95)
26 ‘Bewitching Twilight’, (Chad Harris)

Runners Up:
25 ‘Lady In Pink’, (J. T. Aitken); 25 ‘Pink Puffer’, (Jill Copeland); 19 ‘Beyond Chance’, (Donald Delmez)

The Median Awards 2013

Very few people begin their interest in irises with anything but tall bearded cultivars.  They make up bulk of what I grow.  But as I became more aware of the medians I found that they are enchanting, more wind tolerant and extend the bloom season.

What follows is clipped from the AIS/Iris Wiki  awards page and enhanced with some pics.  The photos are from the AIS wiki.  Only 'Many Mahalos' is in my garden.  Planted last summer in bloomed for the first time this fall.

THE KNOWLTON MEDAL, BB irises (Total votes cast = 261)
92 ‘Bundle Of Love’, (Paul Black)

Runners Up: 68 ‘Niche’, (Joseph Ghio); 60 ‘Zingerado’, (Lowell Baumunk); 41 ‘Border Guard’, (Joseph Ghio)

THE HANS AND JACOB SASS MEDAL, IB irises (Total votes cast = 278)
84 ‘Rimaround’ (J. T. Aitken)

Runners Up:
62 ‘Oblivion’, (Marky Smith); 53 ‘Many Mahalos’ (J. T. Aitken); 48 ‘Limonada’, (Keith Keppel); 31 ‘Dragonmaster’, (Marky Smith)

THE WILLIAMSON-WHITE MEDAL, MTB irises (Total votes cast = 251)
77 ‘Peebee And Jay’(Barbara & David Schmieder)

Runners Up: 70 ‘Redrock Princess’, (Jean Witt); 57 ‘Persona’, (Keith Keppel); 47 ‘Petit Louvois’, (Clarence Mahan)

THE COOK-DOUGLAS MEDAL, SDB irises (Total votes cast = 297)
29 ‘Wish Upon A Star’, (Paul Black)

Runners Up: 25 ‘Canadian Kisses’, (Paul Black); 23 ‘Big Blue Eyes’, (Paul Black); 22 ‘Pussycat Pink’, (Paul Black); 21 ‘Devil Baby’, (Keith Keppel); 21 ‘Spiderman’, (Donald Spoon)

THE CAPARNE-WELCH MEDAL, MDB irises (Total votes cast = 149)
39 ‘Trimmed Velvet’,(Donald Spoon)

Runners Up:
30 ‘Hobbit’, (Lynda Miller); 26 ‘Applet’, (Marky Smith); 25 ‘Wee Viking’, (A. & D. Willott); 17 ‘Spiderweb’, (Donald Spoon); 12 ‘Ruby Elf’, (A. & D. Willott)

THE CLARENCE G. WHITE MEDAL, AR & AB irises (Total votes cast = 112)
40 ‘Refiner's Fire’ (Peter McGrath)

Runners Up:
33 ‘Kalifa's Joy’, (Robert Annand); 25 ‘Persian Queen’, (Robert Annand); 14 ‘King Solomon's Mines’, (Elm Jensen)

THE WILLIAM MOHR MEDAL, AB irises (Total votes cast = 133)
47 ‘Egyptian Queen’, (Thomas Johnson)

Runners Up:
39 ‘Prince Of Egypt’, (Perry Dyer); 34 ‘Jallab’, (Keith Keppel); 13 ‘Nefret’, (Marky Smith)

Stinky Late Planting

Revealing to you all that I am a disorganized mess, I found a package of 1/2 price tulips bulbs in the car today.  Before the snow started flying and the temperature plummeted I dug a hole and tossed them in.

In an effort to stop them from being deer food, I doused the hole with Liquid Fence.  After spraying the arborvitae to the browse line I packed away the stinky stuff and headed inside for a warm evening.  I can still smell it, but Kyle says he can't and that's what counts.

DYKES! This year I have it!

Last year, when the awards were released I had a moment of excitement dashed.  OK, so Florentine Silk and Italian Velvet don't look alike but you can understand that they are both an Italian fabric, right?   Given 60,000 registered names it's a understandable mistake.

But this year 'That's All Folks' is in my garden!

'That's All Folks'  TB Maryott, 2004

Irises eligible for the Dykes medal are the best in class winners of the previous 3 years. I did hedge my bets by planting 2 of the 3 Wister Medal 2012 winners, bringing my total holdings of Dykes eligible TBs to 5 of 9.  Since the odds that a TB will win are great, I had about a 60% chance.  You can't get those odds in Vegas!

Here are this year's Wister Winners.  Will one walk away with Dykes Medal next year? Might a median grab the prize?  Only two medians have won the American Dykes Medal  since it was first awarded in 1927.

AIS Judges vote for this award.  There are many factors beyond the flower than enter into the choice. Growing habit, stalk strength, branching and bud placement are among these. It's not hard to see just based on the bloom why these are winners.

'Absolute Treasure' is all that says iris.  The delicate coloring and ruffling speak of grace and elegance.

'Absolute Treasure 'TB Tasco 2006
Often the combination of colors and markings can produce an over-the-top gaudy flower.  Here an era of flounce, lace and brocade is presented in a perfect package.  The beautiful colors, shades of purple and mauve, the striking markings and ruffles radiate from warm beards and style arms.

'Elizabethan Age' TB Baumunk 2005
"Another purple and white plicata?  Really?" I would have said this if I had not seen these in bloom at Mid-America. 'Ink Patterns' erect falls and dome shaped standards (much liked by AIS judges of late), make total package that is irresistible in blooming clump.

'Ink Patterns' TB T. Johnson 2007

'Ink Patterns' is in my garden and 'Elizabethan Age' will be number one on my list to plant in 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dig, Dag, Dug - DAHLIAS!

The last thing that HAS to be done in the garden, has been done.  Dahlias are not hardy and in upstate NY must be dug and stored in a cool dry place.  I usually can manage to keep them with a 75% success rate.

Above are the first tubers I dug up along with elephant ears at the top of the picture.  Last year I had no success with the pachydermus foliata (just made that up), but with tips from my friend, David, this year will be different. 

Now I need to bag, pack with Jim's top notch sawdust and hope for the best.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Hard Frost - Fall Construction

The first hard frost has hit. In two weeks the dahlias will be dug.


 In the meantime construction on patio space continues.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hybridizing and Planting Iris Seeds

Now I have the bug. After talking to Stephanie Markham at the GRIS region 2 meeting I have decided to try my hand a at hybridizing. A while back we had a lesson on planting seeds. I did as instructed and planted some random seeds I had gathered. I planted the pot and forgot it. Low and behold, digging out the garden I had some trouble wedding and discovered the forgotten container. There was one iris seedling and one daylily seedling. This year I gathered some seeds and labeled them " X bee>" as some of Stephanie's were. Then I headed for the internet to find a refresher on planting them. So here is video for this year on how to plant them and another for the spiny on how to hybridize. Both from Kendall Richard (or Mark Richard as he identifies himself). Very nicely done! I have ordered from Pleasant Valley before. I didn't realize that he hybridized! Now I will look for his introductions.

A Pallet Growing Wall

This is cool.  I am thinking herbs.  Now all I need is a pallet.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Flowers on the Altar Today..

were given and grown by me, in loving memory of my parents, George and Dorothy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dahlias and an Iris Surprise!

The are such wonderful cut flowers, though they don't last for a long time, but you can see how "dinner plate" dahlias get their name.  This "White Perfection."  It displays well
with cobalt blue.

Last year I bought two window box size potted dahlias at Wegmans.  They were marked as "annuals," but I hoped that if I dug up and stored the tubers with my other dahlias they might come back.  I was far from disappointed.  They obviously are quite happy!


And as a surprise September  bonus these are the first blooms from irises that I liberated from a neglected garden in a public area next to my house.  They were buried under  taller plants and crowded beyond bloom.  I spread clumps around the gardens as a border accent.  I did not expect a fall bloom.  SDB I think but perhaps MDB or a species.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In The Hole

The "water feature" needed an overhaul.  With a pond that would not stay full, I suspected that the liner was damaged.  Finally I pumped it out and headed to Lowes for a new liner. The bad news: They did not have the 10' x 20' liner I wanted.  The good news: Pond liners and pumps were all 20% off and home I came with a 13' x 20' heavier duty liner and stars in my eyes.  5 work days later the pond is larger, a smaller pond feeds the largest by way of a falling cascade and, as of today a third level has been added.  Hopefully a couple more days and the liner will be hidden.  What fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Autumn's Iris

Irises bloom in the spring.  But some are rebloomers and return from mid August through September.  Here is the result a rhizome I won as a door prize at the GRIS picnic last summer. Many Mahalos is an intermediate bearded iris from Terry Aitken. Quite a display from that one rhizome!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

News from GRIS. A "Newbie's" Perspective

I am a proud member of the America Iris Society (AIS) and its local affiliate the Greater Rochester Iris Society (GRIS).  It's a great place to meet folks who have been gardening, and especially growing iris, for a much time than I have.  Since I am a gardening newbie that's not a long time, but many of these folks have been at for years and years.  Many for a lifetime.

When I come to meetings I love to share my enthusiasm, the way I use technology to advance my skills and share the new things I have discovered.  More often than not they already knew what I just discovered for many years, but members graciously share in my enthusiam and celebrate with me even if in their heart of hearts they are saying, in good Southern style, "Well bless his heart." I'm OK with that!  I get to be excited and they share their vast knowledge with me.

In case anyone thinks I don't know I'm an upstart, I hope this will dispel that!

But it's all about sharing: Talking AND listening.

At our most recent meeting I shared some of my blogging experience and a blog that I set up for GRIS (rochesteriris.blogspot.com).

In return I got gifts and answers.  Wendy, one of the real experts and an AIS judge, shared a potted MDB, "Navy Flirt" with everyone there.  I also won a door prize, the Siberian iris, "King of Kings."

'King of Kings' Varner, 1982 (SIB 32" Mid-Late Bloom Season)
I'd share a picture of 'Navy Flirt' but despite search several sources with the group we could find none.  Click HERE to see what the AIS Wiki has to say about Navy Flirt the iris.  This is another type of Navy flirt that we did find.

Wendy also answered a question to which I have never gotten a definitive answer before!  "Is the MDB a median iris."  As one my logically conclude, the answer is "no."  To be in the middle something has to be between something.  In the iris world that means between SDB and TB.

Come join us at our next meeting on October 13th at the Cornell Cooperative Extension across from the Highland Park lilac display area to learn with me!