Monday, September 16, 2013

Many Mahalos Reblooms!

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

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 (

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 might 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!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Our New Logo is Official

It's been on our blog header with the caveat that it was not official. Well as of yesterday's meeting it is!

GRIS Program on Sunday, September 8, 2013

At our meeting yesterday afternoon, Neil Houghton showed members how to access and contribute to all the fine features of this valuable new addition to GRIS online. We can add our own comments and photos, just as I'm doing right now. Check the Calendar for our next event and come join us! Here's a photo of Neil and our members during the program.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Read The AIS Region 2 Newsletter NOW!

The AIS Region 2 Newsletter is here!  Thanks to Editor, Betty Schnellinger and contributions from officers and AIS members alike the newsletter contain news and useful information from Region 2 of the American Iris Society. The registration form for the regional meeting can also be found at the end of the publication.

To access the full document CLICK HERE.

Happy reading!

( PLEASE NOTE:  The version viewable on the web significantly degrades the color quality of photographs.  You can download the document and perhaps at a later time or in future issues we will have a place where the the full color photos can be viewed separately.  We're getting there!)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Gardener's Trail in Ithaca Area

The Gardener’s Trail – Saturday September 21, 2013

10 am – 4 pm

From Chrys Gardener of the Tompkins County CE:

Baker’s Acres, 1104 Auburn Road (Route 34) North Lansing

   Nothing says fall like eating a fresh apple picked right off the tree! In addition to carrying one of upstate New York's most complete selections of flowering perennials, Baker's Acres also has a mature apple orchard with 25 varieties of old favorites like Macintosh, Macoun, Cortland, Gala, Empire and Jonagold, just to name a few. Take a wagon ride* around the nursery and stop off at the orchard where you can pick ten pounds of apples and get five pounds for free! Then take a stroll through the beautiful display gardens and find inspiration for your own garden - fall is the perfect time for new plantings, and many of their trees, shrubs and perennials will be on sale for this event.    (*Wagon rides $2.00 per person)

   Baker's Acres was founded 30 years ago by Bob and Jackie Baker. Now managed by daughter Reenie Sandsted as well as Cathy Kessler, the nursery features an alphabetically-arranged selection of hundreds of varieties of perennials, from Acanthus to Zauschneria. While you're there you can also enjoy lunch at Kendra's café and shop for garden and nature-themed gifts at Rae's Roost.

 Cayuga Landscape, 2712 North Triphammer Road, Ithaca:

   Those of us who love to garden in upstate New York must accept that this is deer habitat and that means woody plants must be protected, especially in winter when there is little else for the deer to eat. The staff at Cayuga Landscape also have to protect their nursery stock from deer every winter, and you can watch demonstrations of various deer repellent products and techniques that they use, including fences, barriers, and repellents at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. For children, there will be mini-pumpkins to paint and take home throughout the day.

   For 34 years, Cayuga Landscape's mission has been to create and maintain imaginative and sustainable landscapes in Tompkins County, NY. They are a specialist nursery in deer-resistant plants and also stock a huge selection of trees in all sizes, especially native shade, flowering, and evergreen trees grown at their own nursery in the Town of Ithaca. These trees are naturally acclimated to the upstate NY climate!

Der Rosenmeister, 190 Seven Mile Drive, Ithaca:

    If you have ever envied your neighbor's rambling rose draped gracefully over a pergola, then why not try your hand at growing old-fashioned climbing roses?  These vigorous roses may be grown on trellises or fences, as trailing groundcovers, or as large shrubs in the landscape.  Or try them twined around pillars, posts, or swags! Throughout the day Der Rosenmeister will demonstrate his techniques for fall pruning and tying roses in place to different types of support in the demonstration gardens. There will also be rose hips (fruits) to take home with instructions on how to germinate the seeds within. Learn to grow your own rose from seed!

   Der Rosenmeister is a rose nursery specializing in climbing and rambling roses, both old and new. A special education teacher during the school year, Lee Ginenthal spends much time researching, traveling, and collecting newly released as well as older, forgotten roses and running trials on them in Ithaca. Gorgeous rose gardens surround their hillside home and you can see roses trained as swags along the driveway, growing over pergolas and up posts.
Greentree Garden Supply, 606 Elmira Road, Ithaca:

    Just because winter is coming doesn't mean that gardening has to slow down! Discover the world of growing plants indoors using lights and hydroponics. At 11 am watch a demonstration on setting up a hydroponics system and indoor lighting. There will be further demonstrations throughout the day on how to use this type of system. Learn how to propagate plants by cuttings and take a rosemary cutting home to grow indoors this winter. You can also get information about the merits of coconut coir vs. peat-based soil mixes, pick up some lawn care tips for the fall, and view a vertical 'pallet garden' with directions on how to build one.

   Located in Ithaca, N.Y., Greentree Garden Supply has Central New York's largest selection of specialist garden supply equipment for indoor and outdoor growing - everything from grow lights, lamps and bulbs, hydroponic systems and components, nutrients, fans, filters, meters, controllers, containers, accessories and more. GreenTree even sells its own line of high quality potting soils with a focus on environmentally sustainable ingredients.
Indian Creek Farm, 1408 Trumansburg Road (Route 96) Ithaca: 

   Come on out to apple tasting paradise! First stop at the farm stand where there will be a selection of  different apple varieties to sample before you head out to pick. Hop on board a wagon ride (12 pm and 2 pm) and take a ride around the 40 acre farm and see what the staff is up to that day in the farm fields and orchards. You never know what you might see!  Indian Creek will have other veggies, fruits and flower available for u-pick that day as well, and it's a great spot to have a picnic while enjoying the beautiful view of the Cayuga Lake valley.

   Overlooking Finger Lakes wine country, and blessed with some of the world's best soil for growing fruit trees, Indian Creek Farm is among the oldest orchards in New York. They offer 40 acres of seasonal picking, including peaches, apples, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and more - just 3 minutes north of downtown Ithaca.
Ithaca Agway, 213 South Fulton Street, Ithaca:

   The secret to a beautiful spring garden full of crocuses, tulips and daffodils is to plant them in the fall, and it always feels like such a hopeful act to plant something so far in advance of when we actually see it grow. Learn about different spring bulb varieties, how to plant them and keep them blooming from year to year at talks scheduled at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm. There will also be a bulb potting stations set up all day where everyone can pot up a bulb to bloom indoors this winter!

   Ithaca Agway & True Value started in 1920 as the premier store for the GLF (Grange League Federation), a farmers' cooperative existing for the good of its customers. It provided the goods that family farmers needed at an affordable price. Today Ithaca Agway serves the basic needs of farmers, homeowners, landscapers and contractors in the Ithaca area, as well as customers looking for natural / holistic pet food, organic plant foods and pest control, and the newest varieties of perennials and annuals.

Michaleen’s, 2826 North Triphammer Road, Ithaca:

   Miniature fairy gardens and terrariums are a fun way keep gardening throughout the winter, and are especially well-suited for children. Demonstrations on making a fairy garden in a terrarium will take place at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm, and those who attend a demonstration will also receive a coupon for terrarium and fairy gardening products. Plus, everyone who stops in that day receives a free air-plant!

   Michaleen's has been a staple in the Ithaca area for over twenty years. Several years ago two greenhouses filled with flowering annuals and tropicals were added, and the nursery was expanded to meet the needs of the growing community. Michaleen's is a full service florist, garden center and nursery known for their unique flower arrangements, eclectic gifts, statuary and fountains.

The Plantsmen, 482 Peruville Road, Groton:

 While we associate fall with ripening fruits, this is also an important time for the ripening of seeds. The staff at The Plantsmen have expertise in field botany and local seed collection which they use to collect native plant seed and grow plants for all kinds of landscape situations from residential gardens to large-scale ecological projects. Staff will share their knowledge on how to collect and clean seeds of native plants at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm.  Throughout the day you can try some hands-on seed cleaning and take home a packet of freshly-packed seed. Drawing materials will be on hand for kids to decorate their own packs of seeds! Plus fall sales on trees, shrubs, perennials and more.

   The Plantsmen Nursery grows clean, robust plants in a spray-free environment - no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or other chemical applications commonly used in plant production.  They grow and sell everything from landscape trees to ferns to organic veggie starts-including perennials, drought-tolerant and deer-resistant plants, vines, shrubs, ornamental grasses, fruit trees, fruit shrubs, and the greatest diversity of native plants found in any nursery in New York State.

For photos and links to participating horticultural businesses, go to the Gardener’s Trail webpage. To see a map of event locations, go to the Gardener’s Trail map. For more information, contact event coordinator Chrys Gardener at, or (607)272-2292 ext 241.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 2013 Newsletter

Greater Rochester Iris Society
an Affiliate of the American Iris Society
September 2013 newsletter
Editor – Cara Hutchings

Welcome to what hopefully will be a wonderful fall after enjoying a delightful summer!  We certainly have been lucky this summer.  We had a great show to start off and a very successful sale at the height of summer.  Thanks to all members for all your help, participating in the show, donating iris for the sale, and working the sale!  Oh, and don’t forget the great time we had at the picnic!  Special thanks to Barb Veomett for hosting the picnic at her beautiful house.
Our next meeting is coming up fast.  It will be on September 8th at 2 pm at Monroe County CCE, 249 Highland Ave.  We have a lot to discuss, as we will be going over the budget and doing some planning for next year, since we would like to devote as much time as possible to our October speaker (more on that later).  We will also be having a presentation by Neil Houghton on our new website, and how to use the Internet to have a better garden (hmm…. can you really grow a better iris on the internet?)and Betty Schnellinger will be showing how to use our yahoo group to its best advantage.  That is found at Check things out before the meeting, and let us know your questions then!  We will be having elections at our October meeting, so anyone planning to run for an office needs to let Wes Hyde, our election chairperson, know by the end of the September meeting. 

M.J. Urist in her iris garden with Betty and Jim

In October, we will be presenting a very special guest, MJ Urist from Tully, NY.  She started growing Louisiana Iris (on a dare) in 2007, and hasn’t stopped growing them since!  There are over 150 registered and introduced varieties in her gardens, with several hundred seedlings under observation.  We feel very fortunate to have her speak on October 13th.  She also likes to share her love of Louisiana iris, so she may have a few surprises in store for us.

On October 18-19 we will be hosting the Region 2 fall meeting. We will need everyone’s help to make this a success.  On Friday, we will have a judge’s training session with our speaker, Stephanie Markham of Toadland Gardens in Norfolk, MA. Afterwards will be a dessert/social hour featuring our great cooks in the club (yes, I'm talking to you, you great cooks!).  On Saturday will be the actual board and member meetings in the morning, followed by a terrific lunch, and then Stephanie will again speak about her hybridizing efforts.  Everyone who has heard her speak says she is quite personable and a great speaker.   I am looking forward to it! 
We will be having a silent auction, with a chance to bid on iris hybridized by Stephanie, as well as other items.  And again, we need your help.  As you go around to garage sales and flea markets this fall, check and see what iris or garden related items there might be.  Please consider purchasing them and donating them to the silent auction. 
So please consider bringing a friend to a meeting (an extra Rochester Rewards when they do, and 5 extra if they join!) and don’t forget, we need to lock the doors of the CCE 15 minutes after the start of the meeting!