Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fortuitous meeting tomorrow!

Apparently there is an iris farm right here in the city where I live, called "Hanks Iris Garden." I am set to visit there tomorrow, and hope to pick up some iris from my wish list like 'Hostess Royale' and 'Fancy Dress.' The owner is named Louise and she has photos of her farm on Facebook. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Iris - The Rainbow Goddess

The genus Iris is named after Iris, the Greek messenger goddess; the goddess of the sea and the sky. Iris's most famous association is with the rainbow. The greek's believed that Iris walked between heaven and earth over a bridge made by the rainbow. Legend has it that wherever Iris walked, her footprints bore flowers in the colors of the rainbow. The Iris family lives up to its rainbow goddess name, with frilled blossoms that can be any color or combination of colors, from blue to yellow to red to green to white and even black! My other great plant interest is cacti and succulents. There are no true blue flowers in the cactus family; the pigments that produce them are not present in cacti. This makes the various shades of blue in the iris family appeal to me all the more.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Adventures in Gardening

I've grown tropical shrubs, roses, orchids of all kinds, hibiscus, cacti and succulents (including epiphytic cacti), with moderate success but lots of labor involved. Many times, I find myself fighting against the dry, desert-like southwestern climate of California's inland valley. Perhaps it's time to indulge my dream of growing Iris. Iris love sunshine and dry weather. Mom always had iris as I was growing up; some of my earliest memories include admiring the beautiful evergreen fan-like iris foliage, noticing the tall and proud flower stalks heralding springtime, and watching the unfurling of delicate flower buds to ruffled petals of many colors. I hadn't thought much about iris lately, having been busy raising my family, but a few months ago I stumbled upon an iris exhibition at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. Upon viewing the exhibition, again the desire to attempt to grow these beautiful and reputedly carefree plants resurrected itself. Intuitively, I was drawn to these lovely luminatas (Not knowing anything at the time about the color patterns in iris): Lots of potted plants and a few available rhizomes caught my attention. I went home with a few varieties to try my luck with, including 'Alabaster Unicorn', 'Honor Flight', 'Peggy Sue', 'Barbara May' and 'Mary Frances'. All are potted up and growing (and will eventually go into the ground.) Now to look to find the Southern California Iris Society to find out about joining!! I've ordered some rhizomes from a commercial supplier in Oregon named "Schreiners", a family-run business in operation since the 1920s. My box arrived in the mail this week and contained many FAT rhizomes, that are now planted along my front walk.