Saturday, October 4, 2014

2014 Garden Memories

2014 Garden Memories    

               . . . in the Hutchings gardens

A friendly greeting awaits you at the Hutchings home.

Potted petunias totem. 
How did they do that?
An exotic branched sculpture remains after Nate pruned a contorted filbert 
that had been hit by the eastern filbert blight.

The tree now forms a vibrant focal point in the back yard . . .

and has become a unique support for pretty hanging baskets.
(Latest word is that there is new growth at the base of the tree!)

A clump of TB 'Rare Treat' makes a lovely show.

Smooth, sword-like iris foliage creates a strong textural contrast against
the rugged pale boulder and feathery silver-leaved artemesia. 

               . . . in the Houghton gardens

Pretty iris

Irises and daylilies highlight the plantings that surround a naturalistic pond
in a picturesque corner of Diamond Rise Gardens.

Another pretty iris

More pretty irises

Mr. Jack O'Lantern keeps a watchful eye on comings and growings.
Don't forget to wave goodbye as you leave.

. . . at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario 

TB 'Insaniac', one of my favorites last spring at the RBG Laking Gardens
which are presently undergoing an extensive renovation.

We'd love to see photos from your gardens!  
Please contact us to show them here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

By Laws for Passage at 9/14/14 Meeting

First Reading: 13 April 2014

Article I – Name and Affiliation
Section 1: A. The name of this organization shall be the Greater Rochester Iris Society (GRIS).

The Greater Rochester Iris Society is a non-profit local affiliate of the American Iris Society and as such, is governed by the AIS by-laws.
Article II - Purpose
Section 1:
A.    The purpose of Greater Rochester Iris Society shall be education of the public through exhibitions, public display gardens, published standards for judging, and local, area, regional and national meetings open to the public; and
B.    Furtherance of the endeavors of AIS.

Section 2: The Greater Rochester Iris Society shall be organized and operated exclusively for the educational and scientific purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 3: Notwithstanding any other provisions of these Bylaws, the [Greater Rochester Iris Society] shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by
(a)   an organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or
(b)    an organization, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 4: No substantial part of the activities of the Greater Rochester Iris Society shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Greater Rochester Iris Society shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign, including the publication or the distribution of statements on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Section 5: Inurement of income: No part of the net earnings of the organization shall be distributable to its members, officers, or other private persons, except that the organization is authorized to pay reasonable compensation for goods and/or services rendered in furtherance of the objectives of the Greater Rochester Iris Society

Article III - Membership
Section 1: Membership of this Society is open to any person who wishes to support the purpose of the society as stated in Article II.

Section 2: All members shall:
a) Have an interest in gardening with iris.
b) Be willing to take an active part in the activities of the Society
c) Submit payment of dues in a timely manner.

Article IV – Dues
Section 1: Annual dues shall be payable at the beginning of the society year in January. Effective January 1, 2014 dues are $10 per member. Members are encouraged but not required to be members of the American Iris Society.

Section 2: Members whose dues are delinquent on April 31, and who have been duly notified, shall automatically be dropped from the membership roll.

Article V – Finances
Section 1: The society shall be supported by fund raising activities, including but not restricted to raffles, plant sales and auctions.

Section 2: A proposed budget will be prepared by the treasurer in consultation with the executive committee to be presented at the annual meeting.

Section 3: The President and Treasurer must approve all non-budgeted items costing in excess of $50.00 prior to payment.

Section 4: Should the society be dissolved, all assets will be turned over to Region 2 of the American Iris Society with the understanding that the money will be returned if the Greater Rochester Iris Society were revived.

Article VI: Meetings
Section 1: The annual meeting of the society will be held in October each year.

Section 2: General meetings of the membership will be held on at least 3 other occasions with prior notification.

Section 3: Roberts Rules of Order shall govern all business meetings.

Article VII - Officers
Section 1: The officers of this Society shall be President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. All officers must be members in good standing with AIS.

Section 2: Officers shall serve for two years to begin one month following their election, with the privilege of re-election at the expiration of their term

Section 3: Should an officer other than the President resign prior to the end of their term of office, the office shall be filled by vote of the Executive Committee.

Section 4: Should the President be unable to complete the term of office, the Vice-President will assume those duties until the next election.

Article VIII – Duties of Officers

Section 1:
A. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Society, shall be an ex-officio member of all Committees with the exception of the Nominating Committee, will act as the society’s representative to the Region 2 Board of Directors or may appoint a proxy if unable to attend, and shall perform such duties as required for the advancement of the mission of the society.

B. The President shall serve as the Membership Chair or appoint a member in good standing to serve as Membership Chairman for a term of two years.

Section 2: The Vice President is responsible for arranging programs for each meeting and in the absence of the President, presides over the meetings.

Section 3: The Secretary shall record the minutes of all meetings of the Society and shall be the custodian of all records and papers pertaining to the office. 

Section 4: The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all the Society funds and shall deposit all monies in an insured financial institution in an account in the name of the Society. The Treasurer shall keep an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements and shall report at all regular meetings to the Society. The Treasurer shall pay all bills approved by the President, and the President shall be authorized to sign checks in the absence or disability of the Treasurer

Section 5: All officers report at the request of the President. These reports shall be filed with the Secretary.

Section 6: All officers are expected to take an active part in the business of running the organization, including attendance at Executive Committee meetings. An officer, who is inattentive to his/ her duties, may be asked to vacate the office by a majority of the executive committee or 2/3 of the general membership. Any vacancy occurring in an office other than the presidency shall be filled by vote of the Executive Committee.  This includes the office of Vice-President if vacated to fill the office of President.

Article IX - Executive Committee
Section 1: All elected officers shall constitute the Executive Committee.

Section 2: This Committee transacts the general business of the Society, considers all questions of policy and presents recommendations to the Society for approval.

Section 3:  Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be held at the call of the President.

Section 4. A majority of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum.

Section 5: Between meetings of the society, the Executive Committee cannot modify any action taken by the society.

Article X - Committees
Section 1: Committees shall be established as are necessary to carry on the work of the Society.

Section 2: Committee membership is open to all members.

Section 3: The Chairmen of all committees shall be appointed by the President, except for the Program Committee Chair who is the Vice-President, an elected position, and shall report at the request of the President.

Article XI - Elections

Section 1: A Nominating Committee of one to three members in good standing shall be appointed by the President.

Section 2: A. The Nominating Committee shall submit a list of candidates at the September meeting prior to the expiration of the officers’ terms.

B. The Nominating Committee will publish the list of candidates prior to the annual meeting, at which elections are to take place.

Section 3: Nominations shall be accepted from the floor at the annual meeting prior to the election, which shall be held at that meeting.

Section 4: If there is more than one candidate for the same office, election shall be by secret ballot and a plurality shall elect. If there is only one candidate for each office, election can be by voice vote.

Article XI – Amendments
The by laws may be amended at any regular meeting of the Society by a two thirds vote of those members present, provided the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing, read at the previous regular meeting and is included in the minutes of that meeting which are mailed to the general membership and are included in the newsletter which is sent to the general membership.

These bylaws have been presented and approved on: ____________

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Sucessful Sale for GRIS

On Sunday July 27 GRIS held its annual sale of purchased and home grown rhizomes.  I netted about $650, more than we budgeted. Many customers got great deal on a wide variety of cultivars and classes of iris.  They also got great advice from our knowledgeable members.  Members also received newer rhizomes at affordable prices that will make their way back to the sale in a couple of year.  A win-win situation for all!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Greater Rochester Iris Sale is this Sunday. It will be held from 10-2 at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County, 249 Highland Avenue, Rochester, NY.

Lots of great bargains will be on hand from Mid-America Gardens and Keith Keppel Irises.  Also there will be locally grown rhizomes and great advice in planting and growing irises.

Friday, May 23, 2014

SDB 'Bumpkin' by Marky Smith 2012

This spectacular flower opened yesterday in my garden. A purchase from our club sale last year, it has three good increases and one bloom stalk with three buds.  What a beauty!   (Betty Schnellinger)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ear to the Ground

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Happy Good Friday! A short one this week.
  • This looks like a great show at the NYBG: Weird, Wild, and Wonderful—"In homage to the beauty of the botanical world's most bizarre flora, the Garden invited members of the American Society of Botanical Artists to participate in a study of the eccentric, creating works of art based on visually unusual plants chosen by the artists themselves. View the results of their efforts—46 captivating paintings and illustrations of exotic specimens—on display in the Ross Gallery." In addition, the evening of May 29 will feature personal appearances by Elizabeth Gilbert and Amy Stewart for An Evening of Women, Art & Botany.
  • Our friends at Twin Oaks Landscaping just won a NYSNLA Environmental Beautification Award! See why. Did you win one too? Let me know!
Image courtesy Mikell Herrick
Suntory's 'Senetti Blue Eye' pericallis
That's all for this week! Have a wonderful Easter weekend, if you celebrate, and if you don't, have a wonderful weekend anyway.


Friday, April 18, 2014

HIPS: The Historical Iris Preservation Society

A Request from the Historical Iris Preservation Society

The HIPS database is currently being rebuilt without the benefit of the majority of the previous files, as we've not been able to salvage more than 2 dozen member lists. Even if you have sent your list of historic varieties from your garden before, please do so again.

simple list of just the names of the historics you grow is the easiest to add to the spreadsheet.

Contact Brett at:   

Brett Barney
320 Lincoln St.
Sterling, NE 68443

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

First Iris of the Season

The iris reticulata is always the first iris  to bloom in our area.  A bulb iris, it's diminuitive size (3") leaves it mistaken for a crocus at any substantial distance.

Not a Pretty Picture... Yet

Trying to Bud
There are many frustrating times in the garden, but this is perhaps the most testing in my area.  The snow has melted, but in the course of its melt, refreeze and remelt, the ground is so saturated with water it looks like it will never dry out.  Rhizomes succumbed to frost heave and have to be tamped back in. Many of them look so sad that one's hope in their recovery is weak.

Mud and Heaved Rhizomes
 The softened ground weakened the anchors of this trellis.

Fallen Trellis
Even St. Francis could not withstand the winter

Fallen Francis
Cock-eyed Bird Feede
Despite liberal applications of "Liquid Fence" two weeks ago the deer and/or rabbits were not deterred on these tulips.

Eaten Tulips
 The rhizomes that Jim and I potted look pathetic, but alive!

Potted Iris
 The tools of the day: Besides a foot to reinsert rhizomes, these will help clear leaves before the foliage buries them from view.

Tools and Leaves

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Public Sale / Member Pre-Order = SAVINGS!

Our Public Sale is scheduled for July  27th at the Cooperative Extension.  While many of those rhizomes offered for sale will be from members, we do plan to order from hybridizers again this year. 

Mid-America Gardens introduces the new cultivars from Paul Black and Thomas Johnson.  Mid-America provided us with a great selection and at wonderful savings in 2012.  We are also ordering from Keith Keppel who has agreed to include some Barry Blyth introductions.

While we cannot count on specific rhizomes, these orders always include new introductions which we can offer at significant discounts. The specific savings are calculated when we receive the orders.

As a benefit of membership, you get first pick of the club order.  To assure a larger selection, we ask that you commit a pre-order amount.  

Whether it is $10 or $200, please make a check payable to GRIS, bring it to our April 13 meeting, or send it by April 30th to:

GRIS c/o Neil Houghton, Treasurer
3873 Rush Mendon Road
Mendon NY 14506 
If you have not paid your dues, please include $10 to maintain your membership. You’ll more than make up that in savings if you pre-order $20 or more!

This is a great chance to add exciting new introductions by multiple top award-winning hybridizers to you garden!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Advice for Beginning Hybridizers

Advice for 
Beginning Hybridizers
by Clarence Mahan
(article submitted byChris Hollinshead)
The most difficult problem facing an iris hybridizer who is not an established name inthe in the field of iris breeding is not one of obtaining a seedling worthy of introduction. Getting an excellent seedling is, believe it or not, the easy part of an iris breeder’s task. Dr. D.C. Nearpass told me many years ago that if I wanted to get some outstanding seedlings, I had two ways to go about it. First, I could choose only outstanding irises as parents and then raise thousands of seedlings. Cross two outstanding pink irises and grow several thousand seedlings from that cross. The odds favor getting at least one distinctive seedling that has many good attributes. Second, I could study iris genetics and pedigrees and make planned crosses toward specific goals. One benefit of the second option is that one does not have to raise so many seedlings.
There are other decisions a beginning hybridizer can make to increase the odds of getting seedlings worthy of registering and introducing. These decisions involve the types of irises one chooses to breed. If one is going to work in the field of once-blooming tall bearded irises, the competition is going to be keen. There are many people breeding once-blooming tall bearded irises and the established “names” are many. So to increase the odds of getting worthy seedlings that will be competitive; you might want to work with types of irises that not many people are breeding. Work with rebloomers, space- age irises, spuria iris species that do not go dormant in the summer, setosas, interspecies crosses, regeliabreds, miniature tall bearded irises or some other “target of opportunity” where few or no other iris breeders are working.
Resisting the temptation to register and introduce a seedling that is not truly worthy is perhaps a little more difficult than obtaining an outstanding seedling. Do not rely on your own judgment in deciding whether to register an iris. Recruit some experienced judges to give you advice on this, and listen to them. If the experts tell you to use the seedling for future breeding but do not introduce it, do what they say. If they tell you to compost the seedling, you can keep it but do not register it. This takes will power, but it is not the most difficult problem that a beginning iris breeder has to confront.
The most difficult problem a new iris hybridizer has is how to get his or her outstanding new iris distributed, recognized and into the running for awards. This is a subject about which I think I have learned a thing or two, and will presume to offer some advice. The first piece of advice is this: Forget about making money on your iris. If you are not an established name in the field or do not have a large iris nursery and a catalogue with color pictures, you are not going to make much money on your seedling. Even if you are lucky and do make a few dollars, it is probably going to be at the expense of getting wide distribution and recognition of the iris.
Get the seedling distributed before it is introduced. If the iris is a tall bearded, border bearded, miniature tall bearded or some other type that is likely to be blooming at the time of national conventions or regional spring meetings, send it as a guest to these affairs two or three years in advance. There is always a call for guest seedlings for future conventions in the AIS Bulletin. Many regions have spring garden tours and put out calls in their newsletters for guest irises. They usually invite well-known hybridizers to send guest irises by sending them letters. As a beginner you will not be getting such a letter. So write to the various RVPs and ask them to be put on the list to get these invitations. The RVPs will gladly give your letter to whoever’s handling their guest irises for future regional meetings, and you will get a request to send your seedlings or newly introduced irises as guests. There will be a limit as to how many rhizomes of each iris. Send the maximum number allowed. Even after your seedling is registered and introduced, keep sending it as a guest to national conventions and regional spring meetings.
If your seedling is a type of iris that is not likely to be blooming at the time the national conventions or regional spring meetings are held, send it to the mini-conventions held by the various AIS sections. Ever since the Society for Japanese Irises started having its own conventions back in the early 1980’s, more and more sections are having these events. Calls for guest irises for future conventions of the various sections are announced in their publications. Once your seedling is introduced, do not ask for the increase back. Donate the increase to the section for its auction. Ask many judges in different regions if they will grow your iris and evaluate it for you. Assuming the evaluations are positive, ask the judges to donate increases to local and regional sales and auctions. Most judges will be happy to do this. In this manner your iris will get wide distribution. Also, send your new iris to test gardens such as the Dr. Loomis Memorial Trial Gardens in Colorado. Your iris will be seen by many judges at these gardens and if it is good, it will stand a good chance of picking up votes for AIS awards.
The most important thing you can do to get recognition for your wonderful new iris is to get some really great slides made. If you are not a competent photographer, enlist the service of someone who is to take these pictures. Do not be satisfied with pictures that are mediocre--have slides that show the iris at its best. As soon as your Iris is introduced, send these great slides to both the AIS Slides Chairman and the person who handles slides for the appropriate AIS section. If your region has a Slides Chairman, send a slide to this person as well.
Finally the single most important thing you can take to gain recognition for your iris is to take out a color ad in the AIS Bulletin - This is not cheap, but it is cheap for the benefits to be gained.
When I was introducing irises for myself and for others through The Iris Pond, I never took out a color picture ad that did not pay for itself. I cannot guarantee you that you will have the same result, but I did not care whether it did or did not pay for itself, and I suggest you should not care either. By far the most important reason for taking out a color ad by a hybridizer who is starting out is to get people to see a beautiful picture of your iris.
I will be the first to admit that I sometimes took out a color ad when I did not have a great picture. So I used what I had. Do better planning than I did—get that good picture in advance.
On one occasion I had a great picture of a new introduction that I used in the Bulletin but it was the wrong picture. When The Iris Pond introduced the Siberian iris SHAKER’S PRAYER for Carol Warner, the picture I used was of a single stalk of the iris. SHAKER’S PRAYER has relatively small species-like flowers, and my friends who are “into Siberians” let me know rather quickly that they were not impressed with the iris pictured in the Bulletin. I should, of course, have had a picture of a clump of SHAKER’S PRAYER showing off its magnificent landscape value. Fortunately, soon after the
ad appeared, many people saw SHAKER’S PRAYER in the tour gardens at the 1991 convention. The rest of this story is now in the realm of the legends of irisdom. And as I previously wrote, even though the picture I used was not the best choice, I sold enough SHAKER’S PRAYER the first year to pay for the ad. Advertising pays.
Those who think that the great era of iris breeding is in the past are wrong. The opportunities for advances and improvements in all types of irises have just begun. Breeding irises is a fun hobby; most people who hybridize irises for a few years get some interesting and meritorious results. Unfortunately, a majority of these good results probably do not get much recognition. What a shame. It need not be so.
(Note from Chris Hollinshead: This article was written a number of years ago so some items may be slightly dated in their references but the majority of the content and advice is still very relevant and useful to the aspiring iris hybridizer.)
From the Canadian Iris Society Newsletter,  Autumn 2013

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winterberry: The Spoons 2014 Intros

In northern Virginia, Winterberry Gardens specializes in reblooming irises.  They also have, to our delight, a fine collection of historic iris.  Looking to fill in your Dykes Collection?  You may find some of the ones you're missing here!
This is our favorite for best dressed from Ginny Spoon! Perky falls with the wind-blown look that would make Marilyn jealous with a whipped dollop apricot standards.  The colors of photographing a canyon at sunset are stunning.  Bravo, Ginny!

'Rainbow Canyon' TB (Ginny Spoon 2014)37" M yellow orange standards; medium rose purple falls with glowing yellow sunburst and greyed orange borders (Conjuration X My Ginny).. $50

'Rainbow Canyon' TB Ginny Spoon 2014
Here's something that will brighten up a garden. Simple elegance.

'Kaw' TB (Ramon Jones 2014) 35" ML diamond dusted bright yellow flowers with pure white centers and bright yellow 1/4" borders; white beards tipped orange red (Chariots of Fire X Bombay Gold).. $50

'Kaw' Ramon Jones 2014
Fireballs.  A favorite as a kid and a big bucket was on my desk as a treat for the well behaved student, until that became frowned upon.  I can taste the sweetness and watch the red dissolve to white.

'Fireball Candy' TB Re zone 6 (Don Spoon 2014)34" M & Re greyed red standards; cardinal red falls with greyed orange edges and undersurfaces, creamy white to yellow sunburst around orange beards... $50

'Fireball Candy' TB (RE)  Don Spoon 2014
Can't tell you exactly what caught our eye here.  Maybe the gentle inward curving architecture of the standards and the radiating white on the falls.  We just like it!

'Clipper' TB (Don Spoon 2014) 35" ML medium violet blue self with showy white zonal; white beards tipped orange (Tall Ships X Suky).. $50

'Clipper' TB Don Spoon 2014
In the pursuit of red this looks pretty darned... red!

'Red Hot Momma' TB (Don Spoon 2014) 36" ML flag red complete self; flag red beards tipped orange (Rogue X Dynamite)fertile both ways... $50

'Red Hot Momma' TB Don Spoon 2014
The intermediate, 'Ricochet Rabbit' has sweetness with a heart of flame.

'Ricochet Romance' IB 27" E-M buff pink standards, edged light orange, pale violet plicata markings; pastel yellow falls, pale pastel violet plicata rim that darkens to soft wine at hafts; tangerine beards, small horns(Paul Hill/Winterberry 2014) $30

'Ricochet Romance' IB Paul Hill/Winterberry 2014
Yep.  Hunger Games can be in your garden with this standard dwarf.  A flash of vibrant color to think of Jennifer Lawrence in a dress of fire darting through your garden.

'Katniss' SDB (Ginny Spoon 2014)10" ML vibrant purple violet with darker fall spots; prominent white beards tipped spectrum red (Zap X Cara)fertile both ways...$20

'Katniss" SDB Ginny Spoon 2014
All photos are from the Winterberry website.  Find out what else is new by clicking here.

Keith Keppel 2014 Intros.

Keith Keppel has been a consistent award winner for many years.  Visit his website to learn more about his scaled back operations. We are happy indeed that he continues to introduce some fine new hybrids.  This year he introduced 7 TBs and 2 IBs.

Some of our favorites:

So many introductions are bold and flashy.  Here is a 'Gentle Reminder' of the pastel combination that brought us 'Celebration Song,' a Dykes winner.  Here pale yellow standards and lavender falls create a beautifully shaped bloom.  The beard highlights the blend of these two colors.  Lovely.

'Gentle Reminder' TB Keppel 2014
Here the color combination of 'Celebration Song' is brought to mind but with richer tones and with incredible ruffles and delicate veining.  The orange on the beard draws the eye into the center of the t 'Arrivederci' a ravishing confection.

'Arrivederci' TB Keppel 2014
'Boston Cream' is creamy fluff ball.  The full standards and broad falls come together in perfect form.

'Boston Cream' TB Keppel 2014
Want some Keppel elegance in a more manageable size? 'Love's Moment' is an intermediate bearded with gentle drama.  It appears that this cultivar produces a beautiful clump.

'Love's Moment' IB Keppel 2014
See all of Keith Keppel's new and recent intros visit his web gallery.