SPEC and SHOW
From: Dianne Dalla Santa <email@example.com>
With Spring's arrival here in Oz, apart from the Dutch iris and evansias
Japonica and Fairyland already in bloom, there are a couple of other
iridaceous plants in flower in my garden. Morea Morletti(?) Small starry
yellow blooms with minute greyish-mauve spots in throat. One wide, coarse
leaf out of which the 3' flower spathe appears. The other looks very much
like a Tectorum but significantly taller than the tecs I have had for years
that self sow freely. The flower is a similar shade of blue but larger and
the white crests are really pronounced, no perfume, and are borne on tall
thin stems. My other tecs are always stocky little plants and they are tecs
because they were purchased many years ago from Robyn Rhorhlach, very
reliable source for species.
With only one month now until the Iris Convention in Australia I am madly
typing up garden descriptions for the program when I should be out working
in the garden. Here is one you might enjoy reading about the garden of one
of the worlds better known rose growers who is also an avid irisarian and
great supporter of our convention.
The garden of Mr David Ruston, OAM.DHM.SMA.ARA. of Renmark, South Australia.
The garden around the house was planted by David Ruston's father in 1924.
A few of the roses and a number of trees date back to this time. The trees
include a number of Lombardy Poplars, a Lemon Scented Gum and a huge
Norfolk Island Pine. David started gardening at a very early age and has
slowly converted the whole of the 27 acres of fruit block to roses grown
commercially for cut flowers, budwood and floristry. Hundreds of trees and
shrubs were also planted along with big collections of bulbs and perennials
suitable for a hot inland climate. There are now about 50,000 rose bushes
and over 4.000 varieties of all types of roses making the collection one of
the largest in the world.
David became interested in iris after exhibiting at a Melbourne Rose Show
in the early 1950's where there was an iris show being conducted in the
lower Town Hall beneath the rose show. Errey Brothers of Camperdown
brought in masses of iris lightly wrappped in newspaper and the blooms
opened to perfection in a few hours. The iris purchased at this time were
from Aylett's Nursery near Wagga Wagga and from Errey Brothers. Some of
these are still grown but a number of the names have been lost. In the
early 1980's six to seven hundred bearded iris were purchased from Barry
and Lesley Blyth at Tempo Two and the late Albert Cox from Iris Corner.
Most of these have been transplanted over the past few years after spending
far too much time in the same area. The iris acts as a lovely foil to the
roses and flower at much the same time. Spuria iris respond wonderfully
well to irrigation and the heavy soil and their spiky foliage in winter
provide greenery when the roses are pruned. The collection includes most
of the varieties introduced into Australia over the last 30 years and a
number of clumps have formed from self-sown seedlings. Early varieties of
bearded iris like Harbinger, Piety and White Lightning come into flower in
early September and the bearded iris reach their peak in mid to late
David has tried to make the garden look as as uncommercial as possible.
Huge old trees act as a break-wind and as a backdrop to the roses and iris.
Many climbing roses are trained on pillars, arches and on trees to give
height to the rather flat landscape. Some of the old irrigation channels,
which are no longer in use, have been kept to give atmosphere and the
garden is divided into a number of sections with the use of breakwinds to
give a more intimate effect. There is a lily pond and a viewing tower
which gives a panoramic view of the garden. A large collection of
ornamental fruits is grown to give Autumn interest. Interesting tree are
huge specimens of the swamp cypress from Florida, the evergreen Mexican
Swamp Cypress which has autumn folige in August and September, a huge
Quercus Rubra (the red oak), Liquidambars, Ashes, Elms, and a collection of
deciduous Magnolias. There is a wonderful specimen of the variegated Ash.
With only a 10 inch annual rainfall another 40-50 inches of water is
applied by irrigation.
Currently David is building up on a collection of early blooming iris to
extend the iris season and has also planted some Louisiana and Sibirica
iris in damper spots. David uses iris a lot for his hobby of flower
Cheerio from Dianne, Victoria, Oz.
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