Monday, September 2, 2019

On the Road Again: The Miller Garden, Canby

By Bryce Williamson

Those of you who read The World of Irises on a regular basis know that I am a firm believer in garden visits. Yes, I know we have gotten older and in my case slower, but visiting gardens is so important in a time of high prices for newer irises. By visiting gardens, I find the irises that I like and irises that are growing well as garden plants.

The season’s On the Road Again posts will be about Oregon and Washington and I am going to cheat, combining information in the post about the gardens and what I saw in the last two years.

Flying into Portland from San Jose (who would have thought at 6:30 AM flight would be full?) I picked up the car and headed first to Lynda and Roger Miller’s garden in Canby. I had written Lynda that I was coming up and she wisely told me not to take the freeway to the connection to I-5 and instead drop down on the Old Portland Highway and it was perfect—traffic flowed smoothly and I cut at least a half hour off my time.

Lynda and Roger have put down new roots in Oregon after their move from the Midwest. And the garden is a joy not just for the irises, but all the other plant materials integrated into landscape. They also sell a wide variety of perennials and conifers. 

Lynda Miller
Lynda has seedlings in all classes of bearded irises ranging from dwarfs to tall bearded. Lynda is well known as a successful hybridizer of both diploid and tetraploid miniature tall bearded irises. Her ‘Moose Tracks’ is gathering lots of votes from AIS judges.

'Bingo Marker'
Miller 13918
Miller 4118-B
Lynda also has some fine tall bearded irises. Her 'Football Hero' was the top Award of Merit winner on this years AIS awards list. 

'Football Hero'
Among her irises, I liked the following.

'Amazon Queen' has a huge flower and it is not a flashy color, but I am planning to add it to the collection next year because I believe it is one of those varieties that will grow on me as I see it from day to day.

'Amazon Queen'

A personal favorite of mine is her 'Ninja Warrior'. When I heard the color combination of rose-pink standards and black falls, I thought, "This cannot work." But it does.

I like and hybridize pink plicatas, so I really like her 'Blushing Grapes' with its pink ground; many of the other Region 13 hybridizers are working on orange grounds, but I think pink compliments the plicata edging. This is another iris on the want list for 2020.

Lynda is also working with space age irises. She is keenly aware of the potential faults of this popular class of irises and working to create flowers that do not have those faults.

'Love in the Air'
Miller 1716B
Miller 4817C

Miller 5918
'Cookie Crisp'
As one might expect in Region 13, Lynda grows many new things from hybridizers. Here are a few things that have impressed me the last few years.

'Dancing Days' (Keppel)
Strangely, we do not have a lot of good reds these days, but Terry Aitken's 'Red Triumph' was looking good in the Miller garden.

'Red Triumph'
'Colors of the Wind' (Blyth)
Lauer 62-2
After my whirlwind visit to the garden, I headed south to the Keppel garden in Salem and that will be the subject of the next On the Road Again post. Stay tuned.

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