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Re: Riverview Iris Gardens

  • Subject: [iris-photos] Re: Riverview Iris Gardens
  • From: "Neil Mogensen" <neilm@charter.net>
  • Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 11:39:41 -0000

--- In iris-photos@yahoogroups.com, millsmithpoultry@a... wrote:
"I was wondering if anybody on the list have purchased from Riverview 
and what did you think of the rhizomes etc...."--Robert

Robert, I am familiar with the area where Riverview irises are grown 
as I was born and grew up in the area and managed farm lands in the 
area for a number of years.  During the years I worked for a large 
Agri-business corporation I had an office only a few miles east of 
Riverview's land.

I know the fertility of the land to be high, the deep profiles rich 
in most nutrients and of excellent texture for cultivation.  In fact, 
Canyon County, Idaho, where they are located, is known to have some 
of the best farmland in the entire nation. 

Because of some very dry years recently in the mountains providing 
the Boise River with its water supply has been uneven in supply.  The 
Boise Valley has near-desert conditions with very high evapo-
transpiration rates, so the per-acre allotment for irrigation has to 
be been on the order of five acre feet per acre for land classed as 
farmable.  With drought and low run-off from the mountains the 
allotment has to be cut.

Five acre-feet is equivalent to a 60" annual rainfall, all occuring 
during the growing season.  Because the humidity is desert-level low, 
every bit of that 60" is required for good production of crops.

Irises, like any other field crop, require a substantial amount of 
water to grow to normal size. When the allotment is cut a grower has 
to make a choice--either abandon part of their cropland for that year 
and concentrate the available water on the remainder, or end the 
irrigation when the reduced water allotment runs out, perhaps as 
early as July.

I do not know how much Riverview has been affected by all this, but 
on Iris-talk over the past few years there have been a number of 
comments made about their products.  In an informal summary of the 
comments several things can be said.  

I recall no complaints about products not being true to name.  In the 
very dry, hot years some of their rhizomes have been reported as 
small, but grow as well as the large ones.  The survival rates of 
rhizomes received is apparently very high.

One complaint has surfaced a number of times--not all items ordered 
have been enclosed in the shipments received.  Attempts to contact 
the owners by e-mail or USPS mail to fill on out the irises ordered 
are not always responded to quickly.  Some of those who posted the 
complaints to the list reported they did receive most of the missing 
items later.  Extras are reported to be generous.

Because of the high number of varieties listed, the stock of each 
cannot be very large, with many items probably sold out before all 
orders are filled.  If this is true for Riverview, I would suggest 
any order placed with them be sent early in the season if receiving 
everything ordered is of serious importance.

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.

I have not ordered from Riverview myself, but a friend included an 
item for me in her order.  The variety 'Tomeco,' a significant 
historic, is currently listed only by Riverview to the best of my 
knowledge.  The friend sent 'Tomeco' on to me when her order was 
recently received.  The rhizome was healthy, of decent, satisfactory 
size, clean and disease-free.

I would not hesitate to order from Riverview, but I would plan to 
place my order as early as I could.  I assume they like most vendors  
process shipments in the order received.

Neil Mogensen  z 7  western NC mountains

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