irisarians all over the world
I know a bit about a lot of plants. When I choose plants for my garden I choose ones that aren’t thirsty and that will fit into the picture I am aiming to create.
How different are those gardeners who concentrate their passion on a single flower. Take irises. People who are into irises in a big way are called irisarians. There are blogs focussing on irises, like Heritage Irises from New Zealand. There are clubs devoted to irises in many countries, in the United States, Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Russia and others.
Not far from where I live, in the outer Melbourne suburb of Pearcedale, is one of the small number of specialist iris nurseries in the world. It is called Tempo Two, run by Lesley and Barry Blyth. I intend to visit some time soon.
Another specialist iris nursery that ships irises to customers all over the world is Mid-America Garden in Salem. I couldn’t get their irises because Australia has such strict quarantine regulations, but at least I can download their catalogue and admire.
One well known and highly acclaimed irisarian is Sergey Loktev. Sergey lives in Moscow and expresses his creativity by propagating new iris hybrids. He seems to have propagated hundreds of new varieties. You can see the irises in his website. It is in Russian but many of the iris names are in English.
Like any parent you are entitled to name your creations. My favourite iris of Sergey’s is called Bertrand Russell showing his interest in philosophy. Other chosen names of his are of musicians or music he likes, such as Joe Lyn Turner, or AC/DC songs Satellite Blues and Let There Be Rock. The irises above are Sergey's and are named Dream Island and Child in Time.
So what is the secret of iris flower power?
“The possibilities of new iris colours and their combinations are endless”, says Sergey.
Vincent Christopherson from Accent Iris Garden in Texas describes his experiences in an article called What Irises Have Done To Me published on the website of the Tall Bearded Iris Society of North America.
“Warning – contact with irises can be addictive! Laws should be passed that require warning signs at the entrance of all iris gardens. Little do unsuspecting people know, at first contact, what an encounter with irises may do to them … By now, well passed the point of no return, I am hopelessly immersed in everything iris … Each new seedling crop brings new insights. Each new success leads to renewed effort. Anticipation keeps me waiting for the future. What new iris wonders will it bring? … ”
Ruffles, lace, fragrance, endlessly varied colours and colour combinations – yet so far I haven’t managed to find a place for these gorgeous sexy flowers in my garden.