Monday, June 14, 2010

Marilyn's Magnificent Marvels

When it comes to Tall Bearded Iris, judges are looking for strong stems, upright flowers, big frilly presentation and fabulous fragrance. Or, so I was told. I can't tell a bad one from a good one. They're all too stunning for words.

Do you keep track of what you plant? I was all type A when I first started planting my perennial gardens.

I'd log every single flower into an excel spreadsheet and categorize them by cultivar, color, bloom time...  Good Lord! That was a lot of work!

Made Of Magic Tall Bearded Iris

Later, I opted for a more efficient method of garden bookkeeping. As in the ultra-arrogant, "Oh, I'll remember / Why waste time jotting this junk down?"

Guardian Angel, Tall Bearded Iris

That made life easy. Right up until some well-meaning garden visitor would exclaim: "Ooh la la! What's the name of that one?"

At which point I'd have to shrug my shoulders and say: I dunno.

Millennium Falcon Tall Bearded Iris

Suffice to say that when I visit more experienced gardeners ~ as in the gals who've done this for a good, long time and know full well that the devil is in the details ~ I'm forever ordering a second helping of humble pie.

Love Ballad Tall Bearded Iris

I'm talking, of course, about the hottest ticket in town last week.

The private showing of Marilyn's Magnificent Bearded Iris collection.  One ultra-special VIP party and ~ oh, yeah, I crashed it.

Now when you show up uninvited, you really need to act super nonchalant. Casually stroll around and behave as if this is nothing.

You do not drool all over yourself, as I did. That's a dead giveway.
Collette Thurillet Tall Bearded Iris

Not only do Marilyn and her flower-loving husband, LeVar, (he even hybridized a special iris for her!) have the most magnificent Tall Bearded Irises I've ever seen ~ they're perfectly arranged by bloom time and color combo, with nifty little tags that told me where they came from and how long they'd been living there.

Marching Band Tall Bearded Iris

* There are tons of wonderful aspects to the Bearded Iris. For one, they're amazingly drought-tolerant ~ to the point that they will continue to grace an abandoned home long after the humans have moved on. 
** Marilyn and LeVar have a fab collection of every predictable color of Iris one could imagine but her psychedelic beauties simply stole the show. :))


joey said...

Big hugs for the great info, stunning photos, and lovely tour. After 30 + years, you'd think I'd keep a better gardening journal ... I did when I began gardening but ... hum ... can't find it and now simply 'wing' my garden tours!

Toni said...

Oh my gosh... how beautiful!!!

KC said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for taking all the photos. I knew I could count on you for that.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

I need to fenangle a trip to Hubbard Lake! :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Toni;
Do you grow some? They do so well out here in our world but I'm just amazed at Marilyn's. Mine are dull compared to hers.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Did you go back the next day and shoot a few? I could not believe your great fortune when M. offered you a few rhizomes...

Thank you ever so much for free passage to the inner sanctum!

Amy said...

Kate, I was never an iris lover, but in the past few years I've changed my opinion - your photos are to die for! Thanks for taking us along!

donna said...

I've never seen irises more beautiful than these. Hats off to Marilyn and LeVar.

Enjoyed the birds singing and the bees buzzing (or was that a fly). always, I luv your sense of humor.


Toni said...

My neighbor gave me some last summer. They are all budded. If I give them enough water.... I hope they'll bloom!

Iron Needles said...

Just took some great photos of them, too, which I know is no small task.

Also, I bought 6 or 7 iris last year, and I don't know what they are! I,too, fall prey to the 'oh, I'll remember...'

(But I knew I wouldn't. That's the kicker!)

Melanie J Watts said...

Beautiful. I suppose you must have had your pen and paper to record all the info for these beauties or did you remember it all ?:)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Amy;
I was the same way. I nixed Iris from my own gardens because they don't bloom long enough. Seeing Marilyn's collection has definitely changed my mind. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Donna;
You would not believe her front yard! There must have been 100 huge iris blossoms - every color imaginable - blooming along the front walkway!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Toni!
I think you live in a great spot for Iris. Can't wait to see pics on your blog once they decide to flower. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey, Iron;
Well, the great thing about flowers is that they still happily bloom even if we can't remember what the heck they are!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Melanie -- Marilyn has the coolest system of permanent plant tags next to everything in her garden. It's impressive... she's a real pro.

Amy Farrier said...

I used to do the same garden logging thing! Now I just keep the plant tags and seed packets, and hope I can remember with that. Love, love your gorgeous iris photos.

A Garden of Threads said...

Fabulous iris and the pictures are perfect. I have many iris growing in my garden, they love my lose sandy soil.
I lose the tags or keep tags of plants I no longer own, so I just give up.

Thanks leaving a comment. Take care.

Betty said...

Just beautiful. I have about four varieties, but covet those of my surrounding neighbors. I have had fantasies of approaching said neighbors with offers of a trade...I have an abundance of blue and white ones, but never get around to making it happen.

Lona said...

OMG Kate! Girl I am in love with those Irises. So many I have never saw before. They are just gorgeous.
I keep a log of what I have planted and where but what I really need is markers to mark them outside. Many times I have to check the log to see what it is called. LOL! I do not see it getting easier to remember them as I age either so I better come up with something.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Amy;
I think that's a wise idea. I stick the tags in the ground and sooner or later I find them blowing all over the gardens... :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Glad to meet another iris lover, Garden of Threads. I really enjoyed your blog post today. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Elizabeth -- I'll bet your neighbors would love to make a trade! Glad to see you're feeling better. Such situations are never easy.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Lona - I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that yellow pink purple crazy Iris. I must have one!!

joey said...

An open invitation ... do come!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Thanks for letting us crash the tour with you. What beauties!

Before blogging, I just planted and knew I may not remember what the name of things were. Now, I try to take photos of the tags with the plants, and sometimes I can find the photo hundreds of pics later. I am the queen of scatterbrains.

jan said...

Oooooh! I am loving Made of Magic! Those are gorgeous! Thanks for the tour!