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May 1, 2017 6:32 PM CST
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises Region: Ukraine
I thought a weekend trip to Superstition Gardens at peak bloom would be fun. So off we went on Friday. Superstiton Gardens are located in the Sierra foothills on the highway to Yosemite Valley National Park. (Yosemite is about 50 miles further.) It was a beautiful drive once we rose up from the Central Valley. Due to the record rains Northern California has gotten this year, the hillsides were covered with deep green grass, wildflowers, and fresh-looking oak trees. The typical California landscape is dry grass and dusty trees, so to see such greenery was an unusual pleasure. We didn't get to the gardens until
4 pm on Friday, due to traffic issues in the Central Valley. It didn't really matter, since it was very windy and we planned to return on Saturday. Seeing the flowers backlit by the sun was lovely.

So we spent the night in Mariposa (gateway to Yosemite and crowded with tourists and went back to Superstition Gardens on Saturday.
The remarkable feature of Superstition Gardens to me was how beautifully the iris are grown. They displayed several of the iris I grow myself, but their blooms are much bigger, the stems look stronger, and the leaves are unmarked by leaf spot. We talked to Rick about their cultivation methods. Some of things they do people like us, who live in the burbs, can't, but I thought what he had to say about
fertilizing and irrigation were interesting and worth passing along. I have heard such various kinds of fertilizer recommended, 6-10--10 or 10-10-10 or no nitrogen and super high phosphate fertilizer, etc. He recommended a 6-20-10 fertilizer with traces of iron, sulfur, and zinc applied in the fall, six weeks before bloom, and RIGHT after blooming. I had picked up the notion of waiting to fertilize a month after bloom and no fertilization in the fall. So that was interesting. For irrigation, they use lines with holes punched every 8 inches. They run the water for four hours at a time, a
really deep watering, much deeper and longer then we presently do.

I do have pictures, of some iris I like but can't afford, and some I like but are already sold out, and some I like and will order when I figure out where I am going to put them.

Those I like but can't afford:

Irresistible Charm

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Mango Queen. I really, really like this one.

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Mystic Image. I really, really like this one, too.

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Sweet Child of Mine

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Under My Spell. This one too.

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Dark Storm. This is a 2017 introduction



And here is Dark Storm, all in a row.

Last edited by AndreaD May 1, 2017 6:43 PM Icon for preview
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May 1, 2017 6:54 PM CST
Name: Liz
East Dover, VT (Zone 5a)
Annuals Irises Lilies Region: Northeast US Organic Gardener Peonies
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Hummingbirder
I am sooooo jealous. I so wish I could see Rick's irises in mass. Thank you for sharing your wonderful visit and information Andrea. Thumbs up
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May 1, 2017 6:57 PM CST
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener
Garden Ideas: Master Level Dragonflies Bulbs Garden Art Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Gardens in Buckets
Beautiful, Andrea!
Thro' all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing; It finds an echo in my soul— How can I keep from singing?
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May 1, 2017 7:06 PM CST
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Birds Bulbs Region: California Dragonflies Foliage Fan Irises
Keeper of Poultry Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Andrea, I too was very impressed with how they grow their Iris.. I found fertilizer in San Jose at Horizon Irrigation. I think it was Rick that let me know where I could get it.

I could help you out with Mango Queen if you remind me in July. It's been a really strong grower/bloomer for me.

Wish I could have found the time to go this year. Rick and Roger are great. Their selection of hybrids show the same high standards that are reflected in their garden/growing grounds.

Dark Storm is yummy!
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
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May 1, 2017 7:09 PM CST
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises Region: Ukraine
Iris at Superstition I like but they are already sold out:

Clotho's Web. This is wonderful.

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Senior Moment. So pretty, and so appropriate.

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Dream Express

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Lemon Cloud

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Rio Rojo. I have heard of this iris for years, but have never seen it in person. I always thought it was a sort of brick red. It isn't. It's close to cranberry red. Lovey dubby

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Winterberry

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May 1, 2017 8:16 PM CST
(Zone 9b)
Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
I love all that you listed too. Green Grin!

Sounds like a nice trip! One of these years I'll have to make it over there.
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May 1, 2017 11:19 PM CST
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Dog Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Rob, did you make it to Napa this past weekend?
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
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May 1, 2017 11:27 PM CST
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Garden Photography Cat Lover Irises Seed Starter
Thankyou so much Andrea for the fertilizer tips and the photos Thank You!
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May 1, 2017 11:37 PM CST
Name: daphne
san diego county, ca (Zone 10a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
wonderful andrea! love those irises you love, too. one of these days we will make a trip to cathay, ca.

lucky you to have a fulfillment of eye candy. thank you for the fertilizing tip.
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May 1, 2017 11:45 PM CST
(Zone 9b)
Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
I get my 6-20-10 at Horizon's too.

No Barbara, I didn't make it.
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May 2, 2017 3:44 AM CST
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Vegetable Grower Keeper of Poultry Irises Keeps Horses Dog Lover
Daylilies Cat Lover Region: Wisconsin Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Bet that was a spectacular show! You are so lucky to be able to visit. Thanks for sharing the pictures.
Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities,"
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May 2, 2017 5:35 AM CST
Name: Lilli
Lundby, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
Thank You! for sharing, Andrea! I tip my hat to you.

I just love Mango Queen, Dream Express and Rio Rojo! Lovey dubby

Your pictures are really good, you should add them to the database! Thumbs up
Of course I talk to myself; sometimes I need expert advice!
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May 2, 2017 5:52 AM CST
Name: Gabriel/Gabe Rivera
Charlotte, NC (Zone 7b)
German imported, Michigan raised
Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers hot summers Roses Garden Procrastinator Region: North Carolina
Lilies Irises Hybridizer Hostas Dog Lover Daylilies
More than fertilizer makes them that way. Their methods are down to a science too. Tilling, cover crops, rotating beds, solirizing, and yes those deep irrigation canals are great contributors. I'd love to see in person too..

Phemonal photo quality @andread please make sure to add them to the database Acorn Acorn Acorn Acorn
Gimme it and I'll grow it!
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May 2, 2017 8:45 AM CST
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Birds Bulbs Region: California Dragonflies Foliage Fan Irises
Keeper of Poultry Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2015
Absolutely Gabe.. they really have it down to a science... right down to the custom cover crop. I have a great deal of respect for their farming techniques.
I solorized a couple of beds last year, and things are growing relatively well in them. I had no rot in those beds, despite the fact that I had it in most other areas..
The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
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May 2, 2017 2:08 PM CST
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises Region: Ukraine
Sherry,

Thank you for offer of Mango Queen. I will definitely be in touch in July!
Also, thank you for the tip on Horizon Irrigation. Rick was selling the 6-20-10
fertilizer and I bought 10 pounds of it, but it is good to know where I can get more.
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May 2, 2017 2:15 PM CST
(Zone 9b)
Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
Horizon's sells it in 25 and 50 lb bags.
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May 2, 2017 2:18 PM CST
Northern CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Cat Lover Dog Lover Irises Enjoys or suffers hot summers
The nearest Horizon's is about 150 miles from me. Blinking Thumbs down
• “Whoever said, ‘Do something right and you won’t have to do it again’ never weeded a garden.” – Anonymous
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May 2, 2017 2:35 PM CST
Los Altos, CA (Zone 9b)
Irises Region: Ukraine
Thank you, Gabe and Lilli, for the acorns. (My first ones!)
Thank you, Rob, for the information about Horizon's fertilizer. They have
a store in San Jose, which isn't too far from me.
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May 4, 2017 3:19 PM CST
Name: Niki
Bend, Oregon (Zone 6a)
Flowers are food for the soul.
Bee Lover Butterflies Daylilies Dragonflies Frogs and Toads Hummingbirder
Irises Region: Oregon Organic Gardener
Thank you for sharing the photos and information you learned from your visit to Superstition. It's far enough away I don't want to drive. Acorn
"The Earth laughs in flowers."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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May 4, 2017 3:26 PM CST
(Zone 9b)
Region: California Garden Ideas: Level 1
Andrea and anyone else that may go to Horizon's...call to make sure they have it in stock before you go. It sucks to make the trip to the store and it's sold out and on order. "It'll be here Wednesday"..yeah but I wont be. Sticking tongue out

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