Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's That Time of Year! 2014 Intros

The new introductions are appearing!   We'll be featuring some as we discover them.

Two of our favorite hybridizers, Paul Black and Thomas Johnson have a slew of new choices this year.  They are outside of Salem, OR at Mid-America Iris Gardens.  Here are some favorites:

There are more medians this year.  Here a sweet little example of the smallest class, a miniature dwarf bearded iris.  Alas is on 7" tall.  MDBs are great in a rock garden setting.  The divide quickly and bloom in a carpet of color. Earliest of all irises these often remind us of a tundra flower.

'Alas' MDB T. Johnson 2014
A person favorite, 'A Little Good News' is spectacular example of the standard dwarf bearded iris. Not as small as the MDB, the SDB is great for colorful bloom that will stand up to the wind and rain, better than it's bigger siblings.  This blue beard and bright yellow spot is perfect by a splash of white below the beard. (This author can see this SBD planted behind the MDB above.)

'A Little Good News' SDB Johnson, .T 2014
Here's a fantastic example of the most popular class of iris, tall bearded.  This is a particularly impressive display of how two colors can make one single bloom a piece of art.  The ribs of the standards pull the flower together and the hints of rust accent the hafts.  Beautiful ruffling make it dance.  This flowers is described as branching well and producing up to 14 buds per stalk, very desirable for a judged show.  It is also 41" tall and that's one of the things that make growing the TB iris very subject to destruction by rain and high winds.  Getting it in great condition to a show is challenge.  Newer hybrids are often bread for stronger stalks.

'Deal Or No Deal' TB Black, P. 2014

Continuing as king of the striped (or contrasting veined) fall, Thomas Johnson produces this beauty.
Beserk is only available as a bonus.  What a bonus!

'Beserk' TB Johnson

Paul Back has jumped into the broken pattern trend with 'Die Laughing."  Many of these interesting irises are dark and muddy.  This one looks to bright and fun!  It's height is 36".  (TB irises must be at least 27.5" tall.)
'Die Laughing' TB Black, P. 2014
- Neil Houghton for GRIS  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Trouble Free Virtual Iris Show

If you have participated in an AIS judged iris show, you know it's not easy.  That perfect iris from your garden needs to be carefully cut, transported with extreme care and look as lovely as it did in the garden.  Inevitably a bloom that looks great the night before is starting to curl, a standard snaps off in the car and or your attempt to make the specimen perfectly straight leads to disaster.  That's just part of showing an iris and winning that coveted best of show, you say?

Enter the first virtual iris show sponsored by the AIS.  Just take four photos: one side view, one top
view, one stalk view and a glamour shot.

Here are AIS examples in the directions for entry of those 4 shots with an iris tectorum as subject:

Side View
Top View
Stalk View
"Glamour Shot" Artistic View
Entries are being accepted now through July 31.  Judging will conclude August 15.
Will this be the first and only annual virtual iris show?  I am sure it will be greeted with mixed reviews.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

An Iris of Sugar at White House State Dinner

A State Dinner is relatively rare.  Only 11 have occurred during the Obama administration.  They are a part of the protocol when a head of state visits.  When President Hollande of France visited recently it was time to pull out all the stops.  Highlighting the cultures of both countries, the venue was decorated to suggest a Monet Painting and 350 guests dined in elegance on U.S. dishes prepared with care in the White House Kitchen.

One presentation featured two flowers crafted from sugar.  The red rose for the U.S. and the iris for France.

View the video below about the preparation of the dinner:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Meeting of WNYIS 16 Feb 2014

Western New York Iris Society.  Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 103 Towers Blvd, Cheektowaga. Call 668-1789 for directions. Be our guest for deserts at 2 pm

Program: A Guide to Growing Iris Blooms For All Season Marilee Farry, an Iris judge and officer in the American Iris Society Region 2, will discuss the ideal bloom time of various kinds of Iris. She’ll talk about their cultural needs- the type of planting environment, what and when to fertilize and when and how to separate the rhizomes for sharing.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

David Baehre on Preparing for the Show Bench - March 9th

March 9th, following the regular 2:00 pm GRIS meeting, at the Cornell Coopertive Extension of Monroe County there will be a presentation by Dave Baehre (pronounced bear'-ee), AIS Master Judge. 

Big Fish with David Baehre
Although I am sure Dave could give us fishing tips, his presentation will be:
Preparing iris for the Show Bench: A "Process'...Not a oOne or Two Day "Get Ready, Set, Go!"

The course is open to the public.  AIS Judges, Student Judges, and Candidates for Judgeship will receive 1(one) hour of classroom credit (horticultural division) for attending the course.
Topics for discussion: 
Early Preparation 
Bearded Iris 
Exhibition Judging 
Scale of Points 
Show Schedule 
Supplies Needed 
Before the Show 
Ready, Set, Go! 
Balancing Act 
Be Proud
Dave's hobbies or areas of interest are: 
Grandparent of two wonder boys...with never ending love  
Sportsman: Walleye and Bass Fisherman, Hunter 
Gardener....not always iris 
AND Photography...
In David's Garden
SDB's Out Dave's Side Door
Crow's Feet (Paul Black, 2006)
Border bearded iris, 
27" (69 cm), EM

Classes at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County

In case you are not aware, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County offers many classes for gardeners.  2014 classes are listed below.  Click here for registration information.

All classes are Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:00 at the CCE building, 249 Highland Ave.
Reservations are requested. Fee is $10 per session.  Call 461-1000 x 225 to reserve your place.
February 20 – How to create your own Fairy Garden – Heather Genrich of Genrich Garden Center. Learn the techniques and tips from an expert!
March 20 – Starting plants from Seeds – Anne Johnston, Master Gardener.  Anne will share the secrets of her success in starting plants for her garden right at home.
April 17 – Vegetable Gardening 101 -  Sharon Rosenblum, Master Gardener.  From the soil to site to selection, Sharon will help you plan your garden for maximum success.
May 15 – Care of spring flowering shrubs – CCE Staff and Master Gardeners.  When to prune those Lilacs? How about Forsythia?  Timing is everything!  Come and learn how best to care for your shrubs.
June 19 – Lawn Care for beginners – Walter Nelson, Program Leader for CCE Monroe County Horticulture Program.  Walt will help you understand what you do and do not need to do to have a great lawn.
July 17 – Invasive Species -  Gregory Sargis, The Nature Conservancy.  Come and learn which species are a problem, how to recognize them and how to help eliminate them from your landscape.
August 14 – Shade Gardening - Laurie Burtner, Master Gardener.  Laurie has extensive experience with shade gardens and will share her tips and techniques to help you have a beautiful shade garden.
September 18 – Home Composting – Tom Martin, Master Gardener.  Tom is an experienced composter who will open your eyes to the possibilities in your own back yard!
October 16 – Planning your spring garden – Grace Canham, Master Gardener.  Grace will show you how to plan your gardens and plant your spring bulbs for maximum enjoyment!
November 13 – Holiday decorations with natural materials – Terry Giacoman, Master Gardener.