Monday, December 10, 2018

California Dreaming 4--Superstition Iris Garden

By Bryce Williamson

Both Phil Williams and I woke up early Tuesday morning, knowing we had a long day ahead of us. The Best Western did provide a breakfast, saving us the time to go look for a place in Merced. And then it was on the road again for the drive up to Superstition Iris Garden in Cathey’s Valley.

On March 22, Superstition received 5.21" of rain with 3.25" of it coming in a one-hour long, vicious thunderstorm. There was a lot of damage in the local area with many bridges washed away. As a result, we could not take Old Highway into the garden, but had to use School House Road instead; however, before we went to the garden, I wanted to see the Detwiler Fire damage so we drove up to the bustling metropolis of Mariposa. Ironically last year’s fire has resulted in wonderful wildflower bloom this spring.

Because Superstition grown medians and arilbreds along with tall bearded, there was a lot to see in the garden. As always, Rick Tasco and Roger Duncan were gracious hosts, letting us first wander around in the named varieties rows before we walked the seedlings with Rick.

Rick Tasco and Roger Duncan

I was especially excited to see some fine arilbred irises:
'Dragon's Eye' (Tasco 2015)

'On the Web' Tasco 2019

'Glow of Love' Tasco 2019

'Vivid Dream' Tasco 2019

This is one of Rick's arilbred medians and the second arilbred median is his Warrior Prince:

'Lucky Dragon' Tasco 2019

'Warrior Prince' (Tasco 2015)

In the named tall bearded iris beds, I liked:

'Ayes Alert' (Burseen 2015)

'Brighton Beach' (M. Sutton 2017)

'Desert Paradise' (Dash 2017)

'Good Morning Beautiful' (Stanton 2012)

Then Rick and Roger walked us through the seedlings and some have been named since I wrote this blog; there was more TB bloom there since the plants had gone into the ground earlier:

Boundless Beauty' Tasco 2019


Tasco 15.TB.05.09

The additional stock of Rick's 2018 introductions were also by the seedling beds:

'Ice Cream Sundae' Tasco 2018

'Secret Delight' Tasco 2018

'Spring Elegance' Tasco 2018

When we were ready to leave, Roger provided wonderful directions to John and Leslie Painter’s garden by Lake Barryessa. Those great directions saved at least a hour of time on that leg of the on the road trip.

Superstition has a printed catalogue and it can be obtained by sending $1.50 to Superstition Iris Garden, 2536 Old Highway, Cathey's Valley, California 95306 for a two year subscription. They can also be reached on Facebook or in email at

Monday, December 3, 2018

Reblooming Irises: An Autumn Feast

By Virginia Spoon

Our garden in northern Virginia, zone 6, at an elevation of 1100 feet with alkaline soil, is almost a perfect location to grow bearded irises. In the autumn the colors of the reblooming irises blend with the leaves of the mountain maples, the black gums, persimmons and dogwoods.

Mountain Maples in the fall in our backyard.  Image by--Ginny Spoon

Reblooming SDBs, 'Eric Simpson' with 'Ray Jones' in background.  Image by --Ginny Spoon

As I am writing this article in mid October, the rebloomers are putting on quite a show along with the changing leaves. Our weeping cherry tree is changing color and the winterberries are starting to lose their leaves while our resident Mockingbird is tirelessly guarding his hoard.

The weeping cherry tree and winterberries at Winterberry Gardens. Image by --Ginny Spoon

Each day brings a new surprise while stalks appear as if by magic. I thought 'Lord of Rings' matched the changing leaves of the cherry tree so well. 

'Lord of Rings' (George Sutton 2003) reblooming in October at Winterberry--Image by-Ginny Spoon

It is so peaceful to wander around the garden and enjoy the sounds and colors  and even the smells of autumn. Our Katsura tree now smells like burnt brown sugar and somewhere nearby, someone is burning leaves. A customer called a few days ago and asked about fragrant irises that matched their color. I remembered a few, but I had some rebloomers open and I checked the fragrance of 'Persimmon Pie' and remembered why we named it that. Also, 'Mango Parfait' was reblooming and it smelled like a fresh mango.

'Mango Parfait' (Don Spoon) reblooming in October at Winterberry. Image by--Ginny Spoon

What would a fall garden be without the chrysanthemums? There are perennial mums that come  back every year and their colors blend in well with the rebloomers. Ours grow beside our entrance and I must remember to plant some among the irises next spring.

Perennial mums at Winterberry. Image by-Ginny Spoon

Rebloomer, 'Doubleday'(George Sutton 2001) Image by--Ginny Spoon

  Winterberry Gardens, our woods in autumn --image by Ginny Spoon

Enjoy the crisp fall weather and all of the sights, sounds and smells because ... Winter is coming.

Our resident Mockingbird guarding the winterberries in winter. Image--Ginny Spoon


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