Monday, July 25, 2016

Favorite Macro Photos from 2016, Part 1

By Mike Unser

I love photographing irises and capturing their beauty to enjoy all year long. I also love to do close up shots of them to highlight the incredible beauty of their architecture. Here is a selection of my favorites from the 2016 season. Click on the photos to see the full size version.

'Anne Leslie'

'El Paso'

'Finest Hour'


'Mme. Louesse'

'Pink Plume'

'That's All Folks'

'Golden Flare

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My second bloom season

                                                                                 by Joe Musacchia

    In late June to early July, it starts all over again. Bloom, that is. Ever since Louisiana Iris Gardens in Central New York started handling my introductions some six years ago, I have enjoyed a second bloom season. What a joy to see my new seedlings blooming again. The colors in the North are even more vivid than they are in Louisiana. This is when we make the final decisions about what to introduce next year. 

   This is 'Fouchon' a cross of Patrick O'Connor's 'Zydeco‘ X my 'Pointe Aux Chenes'. If you are wondering where the name comes from, it’s a port at the mouth of Bayou Lafourche, where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico

 ' Fouchon ' 
Zydeco '  X  ' Pointe Aux Chenes '.

     Then we have 'Gentle Memories'. This is Patrick O'Connor's  'Just Add Water’ X Harry Wolford's 'Edna Claunch'. This name came from the first time Mrs. M. J. Urist gazed upon a garden of Louisiana iris during her first trip to Louisiana. I made this cross to demonstrate how hybridizing was done. The cross took, and it turned out to be a good one.

' Gentle Memories '
' Just Add Water ' X ' Edna Claunch ''
  Here we have ‘Labrador Hollow'. This is my  'Ardoyne‘ X my 'Little General'. This is named for a natural area down the road from Louisiana Iris Gardens. It was found in seedlings brought up from Louisiana, and had its maiden bloom in the NY garden.
' Labrador Hollow '
' Ardoyne ' X ' Little General '
   Next is a fun one, 'Iko Iko'. This is a cross of Heather Pryor's 'Garnet Storm Dancer' X  Dormon Haymon's 'Grace Duhon'  This flower makes me want to party, so the name of the Mardi Gras song Iko Iko seemed appropriate

' Iko Iko ''
 Garnet Storm Dancer ' X  Grace Duhon ' 
   My last seedling, 'Cochon de Lait', is is one of many nice seedlings that came from a 'Pure Water' bee pod. This name translated literally from French is a suckling pig, but to a Cajun this means a party. More like a Cajun barbecue.
' Cochon de Lait '
' Pure Water Bee Pod '
Here are some more of the many Louisiana irises that bloomed in Central New York this year.

' Faubourg Marigny '
Patrick O'Connor
' Low and Inside '
Patrick O'Connor'

' Brown Recluse '
Walter Moores

' Mardi Gras Mambo '
Joe Musacchia 
' Mamacita ' 
Joe Musacchia
   And finally we have 'Rougaroux', which is Cajun French for werewolf, the Cajun swamp monster.

 ' Rougaroux '
Joe Musacchia

   As you can see Louisianas do well in Central New York. If you would like to extend your iris bloom season, by all means try Louisiana iris. All pictures here are courtesy of M.J. Urist of Louisiana Iris Gardens.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Late Stalks: Rebloom Breeding in zone 6A

By Betty Wilkerson

Welcome to my garden.  I'm in Kentucky, zone 6.  Once again, it's been a crazy, crazy spring.  We had some really nice days during the last half of winter.  Good days to clean the iris beds and get ready for spring.  This is when it started getting crazy!  I suspect it was Mother Nature in stress mode, but maybe it was just the irises acting weird.  

Just a few days into the bloom season, it looked like a lot of the early things would not bloom!  Then, stalks started to spring up, or so it seemed, on the ones that should have bloomed earlier.  Everything was out of sequence.  However, it did make rebloom crossing easier because more flowers were blooming at the same time.  

At the end of bloom season, the inevitable depression set in.  It's generally over for another year (except for rebloom). Then I noticed extra stalks showing up. There were a couple on some of the new reblooming seedlings, and one on a slightly older seedling from rebloom breeding lines!

There's one on 'Cameo Blush,' and one on 'Over and Over.' 'Silver Dividends' also put up a stalk but with only two blooms.  (No other introduced irises bloomed at this time.)

'Cameo Blush' (Weiler by Friendship 1998)

'Over & Over' (Innerst 2003)  

Two of the seedlings from 'Tara's Choice' X 'Again & Again' put up stalks. The yellow one, 2152-02re, has cycle  rebloomed in the past and is in my older reselect bed with 2 stalks up.  2152-03 is from my previous "baby" bed and was not seen before.  It wasn't great.  No, I don't always plant all of a given cross at the same time. It depends on space and time, and what I want to see, but these were pretty and several rebloomed, so I planted all of them.

One of my disappointments has been 2527, a cross with 'All Revved Up' & X 'Lunar Whitewash.' 'All Revved Up' can bloom all summer and 'Lunar Whitewash' is a good cycle rebloomer, so I'd hoped for some type of rebloom, with good form.  I got form but none have rebloomed, yet. It was a bit surprising when some of these seedlings started putting up late stalks.

2527-05 ('All Revved Up' X 'Lunar Whitewash') 

2527-01 ('All Revved Up' X 'Lunar Whitewash)

2527-05 ('All Revved Up' x 'Lunar Whitewash')

 The latest developing stalks were 2145-01 ('Pure as Gold' X 'Summer Radiance') and 2603-04, a dark one from ('Lunar Whitewash' X Romantic Evening') X 'Over and Over.' A large group of 2145-01 crosses bloomed and were photographed in the spring, while 2603-04 did not bloom in the spring and this is my first time to see it.

2145-01 ('Pure as Gold' X 'Summer Radiance')

2603-04 (('Lunar Whitewash' x 'Romantic Evening') X 'Over and Over')

With three exceptions, all of the surprise reblooming has been on my seedlings which have at least one rebloom parent. My theory, and it's just a theory, is that I should take this as a signal that, if not rebloom, they have some type of "loosy-goosy" genes that allows later bloom.  One thing for sure, they don't put up these late stalks every year. Come to me, my favored children!

You've had another peek into the strange habits of mother nature as she works in and around Bridge In Time Iris Gardens.  For further reading about reblooming irises, visit the Reblooming Iris Society site  or subscribe to "The Recorder" through the website.

Monday, July 4, 2016

This is Normal, I Swear...

By Vanessa Spady

As happens to many of us who have fallen in love with irises, my plans, schedule, diet, and social life are all drastically altered when bloom season approaches. It’s just a truth that I have learned to acknowledge, and have had to gently acclimate the important people in my life to this as well.

You, too, may suffer from Seasonal Monopolistic Iris Lallygagging Epidemic (SMILE).

I know the month and week varies regionally, but for me the syndrome begins in March. See if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself:

  • A willingness to allow otherwise important life activities to lapse
  • A surge in getting up extra-early to walk through your garden to see if any buds have developed
  • A sense of urgency to repeat the above activity several times daily
  • A refusal to heed weather conditions that would otherwise keep you indoors
  • A complete disregard for social engagements that would cause you to be away from your garden for more than ten hours
  • A compulsion to count—and recount—the buds and stalks forming on your iris
  • Several sets of otherwise “past their prime” garments kept on-hand for sudden excursions to your garden to adjust sprinklers, fencing, and other items that might interfere with the growth of buds
  • A strong drive to look at photos of irises you already own in anticipation of your own blooms
  • A lack of social skills in any arena not directly related to your buds, blooms, hybridizing, or other critical maintenance of your iris garden
  • An aversion to having any “wildcard” elements in your garden, such as children, pets, neighbors, less-attuned spouses and friends, and anyone possibly less obsessed with irises than yourself

These are serious symptoms, and if you find that you recognize yourself in any of the above listed behaviors, do not panic! The good news is that you are going to be fine. Bloom season is limited, and chances are you will be able to resume a somewhat normal life within two to three weeks after the last bloom appears. It helps if you have someone in your life who also has SMILE, and you can have a “buddy system” for ensuring that you eat, sleep, and bathe enough to keep gardening.

I also find it helps if you can acknowledge to those around you, early on if possible, that you will be subject to SMILE when your irises begin to form stalks. Their understanding that you will be influenced by SMILE for a short period each Spring will allow you to re-integrate into your normal life with fewer apologies required.

Let me see if my story will help you in your recovery from SMILE:

I go out to my garden as often as five times a day when the buds are forming. I count them. I write down which ones form on which dates. Then, when they begin opening, I write down which ones open on which date. I make a photo box (more on that later), and shoot the blooms on the first day they open, as early in the morning as possible. I take multiple photos of each first bloom, sometimes as many as 20 each, to ensure I have a good, focused shot. I will then shoot the same blooms around day 3 (or day 2 if it has been warm), to compare the progression of the bloom.

I enter all this data into my computer.

I get up as early as possible so that I’m in my garden in the earliest part of the day, with the best light, to catch the blooms as they first open.

AND I have been helping my friend Chris hybridize, which means spending hours each weekend morning, as early as we can, harvesting anthers, hybridizing, record-keeping, tagging, photographing, and of course, admiring all the new blooms.

I do this until it is too hot, or too late to hybridize (yes, here in central California, it can get too hot to work outside after about 11 am, even in early Spring). So once I am forced inside by the heat, I can download all my photos, catalog the data, and then start sharing them online. Maybe, somewhere in there, I will remember to eat.

Soon after that, it begins to cool down, and I go outside to start watering and checking for new blooms. I do this until after dark. Perhaps I might come inside and eat, and have a shower. If I’m not too tired.

It only lasts a few weeks... that’s my justification for ignoring friends, family, pets, work, other chores, housework, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and pretty much the rest of my life. The heat here means our bloom season comes fast and doesn’t last too long, so I give myself up to my garden as much as I possibly can. I SMILE, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

So, good-bye normalcy, hello SMILE. Iris, you really got a hold on me. See you next year, ok?

A fraction of the results:

'Orange Harvest' Bennett Jones, R. 1986). Seedling #74-34-5. TB, 32" (81 cm). Midseason bloom and rebloom (late October in Oregon). Bright medium orange; red beard; slight fragrance. 'Orange Chiffon' X seedling #69-24-5: ((( 'Spanish Gift' x 'Marilyn C') x Shoop seedling #63-18) x (( 'Spanish Affair' x 'Marilyn C') x Hamblen seedling #H5-35)). Aitken's Salmon Creek Garden, B Jones 1988.

'Can Can Dancer' Larry Lauer, R. 1997) Sdlg. 91-195. TB, 36" (91 cm), Midseason bloom. Standarads and style arms yellow; Falls purple, edged brown, shoulders yellow; beards mustard; ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. ('Edith Wolford' x 'Ragtime') X (('Edith Wolford' x 'Ragtime') x M. Dunn M78-657, 'Personal Friend' sib). Stockton 1997. Honorable Mention 1999.

'Let's Fly' (Schreiner, R. 2015) Seedling TT 1024-C. TB, 34" (86 cm), Midseason bloom. Standards yellow (RHS 8A); Falls veined purple-violet (81B), edged yellow; beards orange. KK 914-A: (CC 1402-2: ('Burgermeister' x AA 1638-A: (S 324-40: ('Latin Lady' x  'Bristo Magic') x 'Leading Edge')) x CC 760-A, 'Bold Fashion' sibling) X 'Jamaican Dream'. 2015 Schreiner.

'Revere' (Joseph Ghio, R. 2001). Seedling 97-36B. TB, height 40" (102 cm). Very early to early mid season bloom. Standards white, yellow halo; style arms white, fringed gold;Falls white, blue rim; beards gold. 95-36C. 'Impulsive' sibling, X 'Dear Jean'. Bay View 2002.

'Crystal Gazer' Keith Keppel, R. 2002). Seedling 96-45D. TB, 34" (86 cm), Midseason bloom. Standards medium violet blue (M&P 42-FG-8/9) paling (42-C-7) toward edge; style arms light violet blue (42-C-7); Falls blue lilac (42-BC-4) paling to silvery lilac white center; beards lilac lavender (42-BC-2/3), soft ibis pink (1-B-10) in throat; ruffled, lightly laced. 'Lotus Land' X 'Fogbound'. Keppel 2002.

'Trajectory' Paul Black, R. 1997). Sdlg. 91207A. SDB, 13" (33 cm), Midseason bloom. Standards dark purple; style arms white, edged purple; Falls darker purple, white luminata patch; beards white; pronounced spicy fragrance. 'Black Star' X 87130J: ( 'Chubby Cheeks' x 85319B: ( 'Gentle Air' x 'Chubby Cheeks' sibling)). Mid-America 1997.

'Lip Service' Joseph Ghio, R. 2000) Seedling 96-153Q. TB, height 34" (86 cm), Early, midseason, late bloom. Standards violet, paling to apricot at edge; style arms apricot pink; Falls apricot with violet overlay; beards light tangerine. 94-170K, 'Stage Lights' sibling, X 'Entangled'. Bay View 2001. Honorable Mention 2004.