2011 Region 15 Fall Meeting

2011 Region 15 Fall Meeting “The Miracle of Rebloom”
By Carole Buchheim

Guests and board members began arriving at the Ayres Suites Hotel at Ontario Mills Mall on Friday afternoon, November 11, 2011. The event—our annual Region 15 Fall Meeting. Traditionally, the Region 15 Fall Meeting is a one-day program held on the first or second Saturday of October. However, things were very different this time around.

The focus of the Inland Region Iris Society sponsored event was “The Miracle of Rebloom” and delaying the meeting to the second weekend of November allowed for more reblooming bearded irises to unfurl their lovely colors. An additional bonus was the opportunity to have a trek/fieldtrip to get a sneak peak at one of the four guest gardens for the 2012 American Iris Society National Convention. About one tenth of the bearded guest irises for the National (92 out of 949 at Mystic Lake Gardens) were designated as rebloomers.

Activities began with a Region 15 Board Meeting at 4:00 p.m. followed by dinner (on your own) at local restaurants. At 7:30 p.m. we were favored with a 1½ hour Reblooming Iris Judges Training presentation by Riley Probst of Fleur De Lis Iris Garden in Modesto, CA. Riley is the Southwestern Director of the Reblooming Iris Society (Regions 14 and 15) and the founder/administrator of the Reblooming Iris Society site on Facebook. He is also a hybridizer with a particular interest in working with Miniature Tall Bearded irises.

Judges Training exercises are an important part of spring and fall Regional activities. Not only is it important for accreditation of AIS judges and students training to become judges, it is an educational opportunity for all to learn more about irises.

One of Mr. Probst’s main points regarding Tall Bearded rebloomers is what he describes as his 22 day rule: “The AIS Judges Handbook states that a TB iris must have at least 7 buds on a stalk. It also states that each blossom should last for at least 3 days. Thus, a TB stalk with good sequential opening of blooms could last for 21 days. The 22 DAY RULE for TB rebloomers is that in order for a plant to rebloom for 22 or more days an iris must have one of the following: blooms that last longer than 3 days, more than 7 buds per stalk and/or more than one reblooming stalk. Any of these three traits are outstanding traits.” In southern California reblooming irises can extend our springtime pleasure throughout the year and crescendo their beauty right into the following spring.

More than 30 attendees had to rise early on Saturday morning to have breakfast and catch the bus for a fieldtrip to Mystic Lake Gardens owned by Paul and Carole Buchheim and located in Nuevo, CA. Dr. Rich Richards, esteemed bus captain, had the privilege of entertaining the travelers and Carol Morgan provided bus prizes.

Coffee, hot chocolate and lots of delicious goodies awaited the stalwart irisarians who chose to brave the shadow of rain for the pleasure of seeing nearly a hundred different varieties of reblooming irises. Umbrellas went up for about a half hour of very light, misty rain and then to our joy we beheld a lovely rainbow encircling the valley.

On that bright note Chuck Chapman of Chapman Iris Garden in Guelph, Ontario, Canada began a 2-hour Garden Judges Training session. Chuck is the science advisor for the Reblooming Iris Society, commercial garden owner and a hybridizer with over a hundred iris introductions, the majority of which are SDBs.

As the group meandered through the garden with nearly 70 varieties of bearded irises in bloom, Mr. Chapman shared with us the nuances of evaluating remontant irises in the garden coupled with his personal experience in the cultivation of remarkable rebloomers. The two most important agricultural practices to encourage good rebloom are to fertilize after spring bloom and to water regularly throughout the heat of summer.

After the training session was completed garden visitors ventured to the fenced area to see the guest irises. Of the 92 designated remontant guest irises 26 were in full bloom with an additional 8 sending up bud stalks. It is a rare opportunity to visit a guest garden during the fall or winter and see the wonderful rebloomers in their full glory. At a National Convention a rebloomer is “just another iris” but when the majority of cultivars are sleeping, rebloomers are stars that shine!

About noon it was time to board the bus and return to the hotel for a delicious buffet luncheon. Upon arrival the tables were set and lunch was ready. The menu included rigatoni with fresh tomato basil sauce, pollo parmesan, sautéed vegetables, salad, bread and butter and cake for dessert. The drinks included coffee, iced tea, soda and water. At each place setting there was a gift remontant iris provided by Mystic Lake Gardens and prepared in stylish gift bags by Carol Morgan.

Following lunch was a Region 15 General Meeting. Old and new business was discussed and new officers were elected: Region 15 Vice President – Winona Stevenson, Assistant RVP – Debbie Babsuscio-James, Secretary – Janis Shackleford, Treasurer – Cheryl Deaton. Committee Chairs: Awards – Jane Troutman, Membership – Winona Stevenson, Youth – Cheryl Deaton, Historian – Linda Smith, Editor & Circulation – Katharina Notarianni, Nominating – Position Open, Ways & Means – Position Open.

The afternoon program featured a PowerPoint presentation by Chuck Chapman entitled “How to Grow Rebloomers for Maximum Rebloom”. Chuck’s Canadian garden north of Lake Erie is the weather equivalent of USDA Zone 4 and certainly a remontant iris challenge compared to our fair weather conditions of southern California, USDA Zone 9. His presentation began with photos of his commercial garden followed by remontant irises of particular interest as well as seedlings. Then Chuck led us step by step through many significant and well illustrated points regarding reblooming iris genetics, plant maturity, increase, bud set, rebloom types and behavior, growing conditions, water, fertilizer, and tried-and-true pointers for increasing rebloom potential.

Last but not least was the distribution of raffle and door prizes. Among these were gift certificates from Schreiners’ Iris Gardens and Napa Country Iris Gardens in handmade tote bags by Cathy Coache, a large glass platter with a red cardinal design, a juice canister/dispenser with grape vine motif, and many smaller items. Region 15 had silent auction items including several bound AIS 10-year Iris Check Lists and an assortment of other iris books. Potted irises were offered for sale and five new introductions of “Opposites” (Shirley Trio 2012) were auctioned with the proceeds donated to the Region.

Thank you to all of you who planned and participated in making this 2011 Region 15 Fall Meeting a memorable occasion.

Photos of this event can be found in the 2011 Fall Trek Photo Gallery

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