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Re: Re: Riverview Iris Gardens

  • Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re: Riverview Iris Gardens
  • From: oneofcultivars@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 17:06:35 EDT

In a message dated 8/24/2004 6:41:57 AM Central Daylight Time, neilm@charter.net writes:

I am sympathetic to the owners' situation.  They are a husband and
wife team who do most of the physical work themselves, including the
irrigation, cultivation, digging, labelling and shipping of orders. 
There are just so many hours in a day, making some tasks difficult to
complete.  With their price structure set as low as it is they do not
have the option of hiring a lot of seasonal help. I am amazed they do
as well as they do.

All very well said, Mr. Mogensen. I've sometimes followed the carping about Riverview  with similar empathy and wondered how we could be so inconsiderate without making analysis similar to yours.

Your references concerning large variety, small stock, rhizome size, and growth conditions are particularly salient. I swap a fair number of irises here with most parts of the country. I think the mechanics of what I do not so very dissimilar from what Riverview pursues as a commercial endeavor.

True, I'm a little on the lazy side and my wife would not dig or plant one even if I whupped her regular. I do not count the number of fans of each iris present here in each bed. First, doin' so would require time, second the inventory would change by the shipping date, and I do not swap rhizomes from any clump that has rot evidence. I send trading partners the list of irises that are supposed to be in inventory here. I attempt to delete lost irises from the list as I dig swaps or observe them. Such misery, is misery and often put off under the guise of bein' winter work. Too, I do not delete from my list irises that I expect for whatever reason to replace, Doin' even this minimal amount of "inventory control" among the 1500 or so iris varieties purported to be in existence here is mentally daunting at best and prediction of survival at an arbitrarily chosen date in the future impossible. I think Riverview or any other commercial grower in a not so different situation.

I find myself sometimes embarrassed by size in the otherwise ins and outs of mutually beneficial trades. True enough, the "fat juicy" rhizomes from west of the Rockies, give excellent first year bounce. On occasion I get such flowers from places this side of the Rockies but they are pleasant surprises when I do. Sometimes too, the "hard knots" from other places perform nearly as well and do so better in the rot nemisis arena. For me a mature rhizome is pretty much a mature rhizome regardless of size. The axillary buds in hard knots are not always visually observable but are usually there waitin' to awe the unsuspecting.

A feller I read about once said something about throwin' the first rock. I do not know who is best qualified to throw them except I know it is not me. I garble about as many irises ID's as anyone in spite of my best efforts and I also find myself wasting inordinate amounts of time chasing ID's of irises from all sources: trades, road sides, commercial suppliers. Part of the garbled here results from me finding neat rows less pleasing than free flowin', randomly shaped beds that only the most accomplished graphic artist might find himself capable of depicting in a bed map.

The neatly ordered, properly ID'ed, hard knot, economically priced, rhizomes often attributed to Riverview is high praise to my way of thinkin' and I hear it from many. In my mind such performance constitutes a service to the iris world and the promotion of the iris as a fine, climate adaptable, garden addition. Truth is such labor of love, commercial operations fall second only to hybridizers as heroes of iris promotion here. I more than a little like commercial operations tryin' to keep variety available instead of just keepin' the more mundane, faster sellin' list makin' irises. I can not tell you how highly I truely value such service with or without profit motive.

Someday, someday, someday, we are goin' to make use of the vast knowledge stored among the many that constitute the iris world. We are gonna' make real use of judges, the selection process of them, and we are gonna develop real criterion for iris evaluation beyond "snapshots" of performance. We are gonna' have judges serving rather than dictating, someday. We are gonna offer many roads one might travel to achieve influence/credentials/etc. and take irises to their deserving place in both reputation and world gardens. We are gonna' move beyond promotion of self interests and back scratchin' among cliques. We will someday both encourage and value participation of the many rather than restrict iris selection/promotion to the few.  I age. I am lazy. I digress. I rail. Too though, much like the many, I some days think.

In my world embarrassments have come so very easy. Somewhat more difficult to acquire and still with acquisition attempts bein' made are selflessness, sharing, wisdom, acquisition and retention of knowledge for it's own sake, along with a more than modicum of respect, praise, and appreciation for the efforts of others.

Somewhere between noticeable embarrassment and absolute envy fall some trades of note this and past years. Char sent some rhizomes down here that rivaled those from my favorite commercial supplier. They were "fat hard 'uns" that rivaled or exceeded the size of "fat juicies" supplied by my favorite commercial supplier. Robin sent some similar rhizomes. I got some hard dry ones from Texas, put them in the ground in hot muggy June. These show good above ground growth as we speak. I swapped some local stuff in July and planted with similar favorable results. I got some more local stuff in August and planted with favorable results. I got a load of really treasured stuff later in August from a good humored Yankee in Ohio who refused to let me reciprocate in kind. Treasures arrived too from the Carolina's. And too, sometime came a special serrated one from that knowlegable, helpful Hensler girl. Back in June/July a ton of arilbreds from the generous Bates woman located in the whacko California world of plant ogre police were planted. We fought the ogres, had fun fightin' 'em and laughed a lot in the process. Sometimes I guess winnin' in the iris world takes time and strokin' egos of those claimin' superior intellect while lurkin' behind their hoops and rules. Ogres ain't real. And, as I write sweat drips. I'm in from the torture of diggin', behind on a swap. I most always am. Not 'cause I don't have most of the irises I'm supposed to but because sweat drips. Been pickin' at this one for days between rain showers. I even drip when I don't sweat. Still as I sit and drip, in my mind is the exhibited vigor of irises hybridized by that half way cross state Moore's feller. Too, are the rhizome swaps and performance levels of the irises from the high desert country of Oregon from a while back, "rock hard knots". Not any rot in 'em, ever! That Oregon region apparently is very similar in climate to that incountered by Riverview's Idaho operation. Spect they just started out tougher.

There is a point to all this. I'm not name droppin'. I'm iterating the importance of real  people that grow irises in iris knowledge acquisition, sharing, utilization, and advancement. I love the real iris people and do not mind suffering the embarrassment of sayin' so. I need them all. We need them all. I do not terribly so mind the premise that there will always be greater and lesser men (and grudgingly sometime women) though in moments of weakness I find myself succumbing to my own constructed reality. Trades have a way of teachin' even slow Southerners both humility and tolerance. Trades whether they be for money or rhizomes will not always be fair when viewed as a snapshot in time. They are best viewed over longer time periods and during bloom.

Reckon I'll be sittin' down and sendin' Riverview a check now if I can find an address and a check. I reckon too, since they have limited availability, I'll just tell them to send me an iris or two they think good. I don't care which ones. I still like 'em all.... irises and real iris people.

As a point in passin' it seems all a matter of trustin'. It won't be a real big check even if I do know how to write one of those. It's cause my bank keeps callin' ever time I do a big one. I'm thinkin' my bank could stand some understanding of trustin' and would benifit a bit from developin' a wider confidence interval, learnin' to wait til bloom season..... course they ain't real iris people. They are just someday gonna' be.  Me? I suspect myself particularly astute with their bankin' kinda stuff. Shoot, I mighta' even missed my callin'. I use every bit of money I get.

Bill Burleson

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