Monday, September 17, 2018

California Dreaming 3--Fleur de Lis Iris Garden

By Bryce Williamson

My travel companion, Phil Williams, on this saga of California Dreaming, had to be wondering what the fuss is about good food in California. Leaving Bay View Gardens, we had a hasty lunch at a gourmet stop—Panda Express and then it was on the road again, over the Santa Cruz Mountains, through Silicon Valley, over the Mt. Diablo Mountains and towards Merced. Phil received his first dose of real California traffic since the 120 mile trip took over three hours and I considered the traffic to be light.

Dropping off the luggage at the Best Western, we decided to gamble that the daylight would last for a trip to Shirley Trio-Probst and Riley Probst’s Fleur de Lis Iris Gardens, Modesto, California. Along the way, we learned a hard lesson—don’t trust the GPS since it insisted on taking us way north and then looping back to Fine Avenue.

We arrived on a bad day since one of the dogs had died and Riley and Shirley were just in from a long trip with little sleep, but we were made welcome. Since they grow many reblooming irises and many of the reblooming irises flower early, there was a lot to see.

Shirley dabbles in hybridizing and her best known introduction is the Award of Merit winner ‘Opposites’.

Riley and Shirley


Riley has won the Williamson-White Medal twice for miniature tall bearded irises. Currently ‘Holiday in Mexico’ is very popular and since this was written, won the 2018 Williamson-White Medal. Both Shirley and Riley are deeply involved in planning the 2019 National Convention at San Ramon.

'Holiday in Mexico' image by Rick Tasco

Here are some images of flowers I liked in the garden.

'All by Design' (Ghlio 2016)

'Aloha Spirit' (Ghio 2017)

Joe Ghio's 'Core Values' with Teddy, the tuxedo cat

'Picked for Pat' (Tyson 2018)

'Folies Bergere' (Ghio 2017)

'Love Changes' (Blyth 2010)

'Magic Mirror' (Ghio 2015)

'Not Broke This Time' (Tyson 20017)

'Reckless Abandon' (Keppel '2010)

'Swing Dancing' (Messick 1999)

The garden can be contacted at Fleur de Lis Garden, Riley and Shirley Trio Probst, 2701 Fine Ave., Modesto, CA 95355; 209-551-6323 (call first since they might be out visiting gardens); email:,

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