Friday, June 7, 2013

"Talking Irises" TALL BEARDED IRIS HYBRIDIZER RANDY BROWN AND A VISIT TO HIS PHENOMENAL GARDEN

By Susanne Holland Spicker

A trip to Randy Brown's iris garden proved to be one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in recent memory.  Although there were high winds the day I visited, his 300+ irises were at their peak and standing tall in the garden.  Randy says that due to freezes earlier in the year, his seedlings and other new irises were adversely affected, either not blooming or having shorter stalks and smaller blooms. However, I found his garden of lavishly ruffled and laced irises a thing to behold!  
A member and past judge of the Utah Iris SocietyRandy has taken first place in the Utah iris shows several times.  This year he took two 1st Places for "Best Arrangement," and also won "Best Seedling" for this nice seedling:

What do you think Randy should name this "Best Seedling" winning iris? 

Randy's iris garden consists of a good mix of his seedlings and newer varieties from a myriad of hybridizers.  Along with the hundreds of irises, he has peonies, daylilies, bleeding heart, lupine, hellebores, poppies, and the biggest rhubarb plants I've ever seen!  He is a beekeeper as well. He uses 16-16-16 to fertilize, and it was evident by the size and vigor of the iris and perennials that it agrees with them. Randy has been raising irises for about 30 years, hybridizing off and on for 20 of those years. He states he has never bothered to introduce one of his seedlings, but that he may some time. Of his thousands of seedlings, he's kept hundreds.The seedlings I saw were remarkable,  with excellent substance and form, and lots  of buds--even in a bad year!  Here are some of his beautiful seedlings:













Which one of Randy's seedlings is your favorite? His rows of TB's are also filled with   many beautiful blooms from various hybridizers. I'm sharing a few of my favorites:
"Parisian Dawn" Keppel 06
"Bewitchment"  Ghio 04
"Out To Lunch" Blyth 07
"Lovely Senorita" Schreiner 02
"Cardinal Rule" Ghio 07
"Gitano" Keppel 07
"Dark Drama" Keppel 05
"Honor Flight" Kerr 09
"Dinner Talk" Blyth 05
"Bubbling Waves" Ghio 06

"Rio Rojo" Schreiner 09
"Engagement Ring" Ghio 2011
Randy says the Utah Iris Society will have their next event Saturday, August 3rd. It is their annual iris sale and auction, held at the Sugarhouse Park Garden Center, 1602 E 2100 S., Salt Lake City, Utah. Table sales begin at 10 am, with rhizomes selling for only $3--what a deal!  At 1 pm new introductions from Keppel, Ghio and others will be auctioned off. 

Looking over the colorful rows of irises, many in showy clumps, was spectacular! Seeing them would make an iris lover even out of the most ardent critic.  I'd like to thank Randy for his hospitality and willingness to spend time with a fellow iris lover.  He's an inspiration to me.

6 comments:

  1. I'd name the first seedling iris Dark Misgivings.

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  2. I'd name it Declaration.

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  3. Wow, such beautiful seedlings! Has he registered, but not intro'ed, his irises? How does he keep up with the breeding information as he creates new seedlings with no names? Regardless of whether they are registered, so many of his irises are beautiful and distinctive. It would be wonderful to see them in commerce!

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    1. Evey, I agree. To my knowledge, he hasn't registered them, and I'm not sure how he keeps up on the breeding information. I would love to purchase several from him, and am planning to talk to him about getting some.

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  4. Oh my, such beautiful seedlings! My favorite is the white excessively ruffled with flush of lavender at the base of petals...the purple with excellent substance and striking orange beard on the shaded falls....sheer magic!!
    Name that prizewinner 'Bearded Dragon' unless that is already taken. 'Tyrian Glory' or 'Amethyst Crystal' are good descriptive names too. Good luck, wish I could come to visit your garden!!!

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  5. I would name it Spring Dance

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