Monday, May 27, 2019

Franciris 2019 Results

For the second time in three weeks, The World of Irises blog is pleased to report the results of an international competition, this time of The French Iris Society’s Franciris 2019. The competition took place in the Parc Floral de Paris, a public park and botanical garden located within the Bois de Vincennes in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, with the results announced on May 21.

Gary White, immediate past president of The American Iris Society, and Andi Rivarola, current first vice president, were on the judging panel in addition to Jerome Boulon, France, Lorena Montanari, Italy, and Fritts Lehmann, Germany.

First Place: ‘My Red Drums by Daniel Balland, France:
Image by Andi Rivarola
Image by Andi Rivarola
Martin (plaid shirt) receives his award--image by Sebastien Cancade
Second Place: ‘Marry the Night’ by Thomas Johnson, USA:

Images by Gary White
Third Place: NB-23-01 by Nicholas Bourdillon:
Image by Andi Rivarola
Nicholas Bourdillon receives his award--image by Sebastien Cancade
Fourth Place: ‘Church Lady’ by Tom Burseen, USA:
Image by Andi Rivarola
Fifth Place: ‘Locomotion’ by Thomas Johnson, USA:
Image by Andi Rivarola
Sixth Place: NB 14-34-01 by Nicholas Bourdillon:
Andi Rivarola writes: "In France, judges are required to elect the iris with the best perfume.
Our noses sampled all irises during the competition, and as a result, we elected the iris with the best aroma, which also happened to be one of the top ten — seedling NB 14-34-01 by French hybridizer Nicolas Bourdillon. What an exquisite lovely scent."

Image by Andi Rivarola
Seventh Place: ‘Mixed Signals' by Keith Keppel, USA:
Image by Sebastien Cancade
Eighth Place: ‘Belle Fille’ by Marky Smith, USA:
Image by Andi Rivarola
Ninth Place: ‘Howla Pena’ by Tom Burseen, USA:

Image by Andi Rivarola
Tenth Place: ‘Luminager’ by Hugh Stout, USA:
Image by Andi Rivarola
For more information about The French Iris Society click to open the link; for more information about The American Iris Society do the same thing.

Monday, May 20, 2019

How to Build Iris Beds

By Dennis Berry

Had some people, especially those in the Iris community, interested in how I put together the raised beds for Kim. Over the next week I’ll try to post the process of building this next set of beds. Over the weekend Kim and I discussed what she wanted and what I could fit and used marker paint to lay out the beds and paths. Didn’t get any pictures of that. The rain washed most of it away. Today I tilled the first bed for ease of digging and extra drainage. Didn’t till the whole area so I could still back the truck up to the new bed to offload dirt and sand. Monday I’ll start digging in the base blocks.

Next steps to how I build Kim’s raised beds. I lay out the first corner with mason’s twine. The yellow line is just a reference line. The red line is leveled and what I use to get the bed straight and level. This is the important one since we have no level land here in East Tennessee. A block at each end of the line tells me the height. I have had to back fill the low end on a couple beds to keep the opposite end from being underground. Next dig the trench for the block and start laying in. I do use a small level two ways across the blocks as I work to keep them level, tapping them in with a rubber mallet. Mostly though just line up the tops of the blocks with line. No mortar is used between blocks. Their held in with back filled dirt and the topping pavers. This bed is about 20 foot long and took me about two and a half hours to lay out and dig in the first side and ends.

Today, finish other side of bed. Rake the inside level and sweep top of blocks. We use construction adhesive to glue down the cap bricks. I like to wait at least a day before filling the bed to allow the adhesive time to set up. Caps on the beds we did two years ago are still still sticking well. Occasional problem where I got the glue a little thin or clip a corner with the wheel barrow. Simple fix to glue back down. Till next area and repeat the process. It will be a couple days before I fill these beds. Need to make a Lowe’s run tomorrow for supplies.

Rinse and repeat. Bed L2 done.

Bed L1 is now done and ready for planting. Had a couple of days off from bed building. We had a storm blow through and the dirt was too wet to work. Also had to make a supply run and spent Sunday visiting with my Mom and Dad. Filled the bed with topsoil and sand and then ran the tiller through it to mix well. Included a picture of the soil and sand we use. The topsoil you can get at Walmart. Lowe’s can get it also if you order a large enough quantity. We buy ours by the pallet. Walk into Lowe’s and order 10 pallets and they are glad to help. We use construction sand because it’s been washed so it has much less salt in it. Thank you to Mark Bolling for the help this morning. Always good to have friends that are thick skulled enough to volunteer to help you move 40lb bags of dirt and 50lb bags of sand. We’re now out of dirt so tomorrow it’s back to digging in bricks.

Construction of beds L1 through L4 is complete. A surprise to no one here, we need to buy more dirt. That means I get a coupled days off from building. This weekend we’ll go pick up another pallet of topsoil and begin filling these beds first of next week. Just in time as the guest irises that are scheduled to go in these beds should start arriving any time now.

Editors’ Note: We would like to thank Dennis Berry for permission to use his “how to” posts and images that first appeared on Facebook’s Iris Lovers. Dennis with his partner Kim Bowman, own and operate Dancing Dragons Iris Gardens 504 S. Jackson St., Morristown, TN  37813. Phone 423-300-1541. Their website is and they will start to take new orders in the spring. One of the goals of their garden is to preserve irises hybridized by people in Region 7, AIS, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Monday, May 13, 2019

International Iris Competition in Florence 2019

The Italian Iris Society concluded the international iris competition at Florence on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The World of Irises is pleased to quickly bring the results to our readers. The head of the judging panel was Gary White, immediate past president of The American Iris Society. Andi Rivarola, current first vice-president of the AIS, was also a judge along with three judges from Italy: Valeria Roselli, Maurizio Marrami, and Laura Bassino.

In the tall bearded competition, the Premio Firenze (Gold Florin) offered by Guido Gonnelli in memory of “Beppe Gonnelli” went to ‘Chachar’ by Seidl Zdenek from the Czech Republic.

Andi Rivarola, Valeria Roselli, Maurizio Marrami, Laura Bassino, and Gary White.
Second and winning the Tuscany Regional Prize was ‘Lingua de Drago’ by Angelo Bolchi from Italy.

The results of the competition were announced in Florence's city hall with the mayor in attendance: At The Award ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio this morning, from left to right: American judge Andi Rivarola, Italian Judge Valeria Roselli, Jury President Gary White, President of Municipal Council Andrea Ceccarelli, Mayor Dario Nardella, our (Italian Iris Society) President Vincenzo Corti, Italian judges Laura Bassino and Maurizio Marrami. Image from Giardino dell' Iris.
Third went to ‘Enraptured’ by Schreiner’s Gardens in the United States and it won the Confindustria of Florence Prize.

Fourth, the Italian Iris Society Medal, went to ‘Piero Bargellini’: Charmanda by Klaus Burkhardt in Germany.

Fifth place, Honourable Mention, went to ‘Anima Triste’ by Angelo Garanzini of Italy.

Sixth place, Honourable Mention, went to ‘Voglio Tempo’ by Angelo Bolchi of Italy. 

Seventh place, Honourable Mention, went to E 06.05 by Siedl Zdenek of the Czech Republic.

Eighth place, Honourable Mention, went to ‘Hrom a Blesk’ by Siedl Zdenek.
Image by Gary White

Ninth place, Honourable Mention, went to Seidl Zdenek’s E 21.07.

Tenth place, Honourable Mention, went to Italy’s Roberto Marucchi’s N43-1.

Special prizes were also awarded and will be listed in Irises later. All images by Andi Rivarola unless otherwise noted.

Monday, May 6, 2019

2019 AIS National Convention

By Bryce Williamson

On April 23-27, 2019, in the 99th year of The American Iris Society, Region 14, Northern California, Nevada, and Hawaii, hosted the National Convention at San Ramon, California. In addition to meetings and trainings, the event featured three days of garden tours. This post is a sample what we saw in the gardens.

The four tour buses were split two and two and I ended up at the Horton Iris Garden Thursday morning. The weather had not cooperated with plans since it had been in the 90s, but there was still much to see. I really tried to find a weed in Mary Ann’s garden, but I did not succeed and that is no small accomplishment in a garden spread over acres of rolling landscape. It was here also that we had an early lunch after the bus start time of 7 AM. Special praise is need for the Sierra Foothills Iris Society who had provided a lavish spread of snacks for the attendees, many of us pretending to be dying of thirst and starving after the two-hour trip to the garden.

'Sweet Child of Mine'--Larry Lauer
'Dressed in Black'--Leslie Painter
'Luminager'--Stout 2016
After lunch, we drove through the state capital, Sacramento, to Elk Grove and Fran and Russ Shields’s Frannie’s Iris Garden. There seemed to have been a spirited competition between local iris societies because the Sacramento Iris Society had matched the lavish spread of snacks and cold drinks were especially welcome in the 90-degree heat. Of special interest was the Dykes Medal winner bed, gaving me the chance to renew acquaintance with famous irises some that I had not seen in 50 years.

Black Cherry Sorbet' (MTB)--Harris
'Queen's Circle'--Fred Kerr

'Blue Rhythm'--Whiting, Dykes Medal 1950
Friday attendees experienced the capricious, mercurial nature of Northern California weather when we drove to Sonoma to Rudy Ciuca and Joe Lawrence’s C&L Vineyard and arrived on a cold, foggy morning. With only 22 acres of farmland, Joe and Rudy have lots of irises and lots of grapevines. That morning several us, including yours truly, provided an hour of judges’ training in the guest iris beds. Here we also had lunch and we able to enjoy the quiet of the countryside as the fog burned off and the day warmed.

'Better Than Butter'--Black
Meininger 1-F (easy to miss the flounces)
In the afternoon, we had free time in the historic town of Sonoma. Famous as the last California Missions, Sonoma was also the site of the declaration of the short-lived California Republic. A small town, Sonoma is famed for its fine wineries, boutique shops, and excellent restaurants.

On the final day of tours, we had yet another 7 AM start, this time to Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Park, Union City. This is part of East Bay Regional Park system and they gave the gardener and park ranger Jeff Bennett permission plant a few irises on a ridge. I am not certain that they understood what they were getting; however, the park district has been amazingly supportive, providing the deer proof fencing for the plot, running a water line to the location, picking up the cost of materials, and, even, providing great signage for the convention. This planting of 800 guest irises and another 1000 named varieties is clearly a labor of love for Jeff Bennett. Local societies Clara B. Rees of San Jose, Sydney B. Mitchell of Oakland, and Mt. Diablo Iris Society all have pitched in to help. As one might expect, growing irises in virgin soil has wonderful results for the plants, though there was a little matter of an accumulation of years of weed seeds.

'Black Lipstick'--Keppel 2016
'What A Beauty' --Joe Ghio
Kelly TAFCS 12-13
The day after the tour by the iris society, the planting was opened to the public and the plan is to continue to add and improve this garden in the next years.

By lunch time, the famed fog had burnt off leaving us with a good view of San Francisco Bay to the west and we were told the famous Hayward earthquake fault was just a couple of hundred feet to the east.

After lunch we braved the weekend traffic and went over the Santa Cruz Mountains to Irene and Jim Cummins’s garden in Scotts Valley. Joe Ghio of Santa Cruz got them interested in irises and their garden is noteworthy for the integration of irises with other plant materials.

'Heat Is On'--Thomas Johnson
'Joy Returns'--Shadlow (rebloomer)
'Graffiti Art'--J. Painter 2016
Arriving back at the hotel, we had time to stop and rest before the evening awards banquet. The American honorary awards and garden awards voted by the judges were already known, so the highlight on the evening was the naming of the winners of the 5 cups from the garden visits.

The President’s Cup for best named variety from a Region 14 hybridizer was won by Rick Tasco of Superstition Iris Garden in Catheys Valley for his iris ‘Autumn Explosion’:
Image by Rick Tasco
The Franklin Cook Cup for best named variety from outside of Region 14 was won by Paul Black’s ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’:

The Ben R.  Hager Cup for best median was also won by Paul Black for IB ‘Black Comedy’. Paul Black’s irises are introduced by MidAmerica Iris Garden, Salem, Oregon:

The Lloyd Zurbrigg-Clarence Maham Seedling Cup went to Hooker Nichols’ 1978; Hooker Nichols' irises can be found at their garden website:
Image by Mikey Lango
Awarded for the first time in honor of Gerald Richardson, that award went to Irene and Jim Cummins for their use of irises in the whole garden:
Image by Mikey Lango