Think spring. Visit us in May.
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow cycles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” – May Sarton
Ralph Waldo Emerson said when he went into his garden with a spade to dig a bed, he felt such exhilaration and health, that he felt he’d been defrauding himself all the time in letting others do for him what he should have done with his own hands.
We need places of reverie and reflection. It feels good to put work aside, relax and enjoy the garden. To just relax on a bench and quietly gaze upon the landscape. The cares of the world quietly slip away.
Idly strolling among the Iris, unexpected delights endlessly appear. Captivating juxtapositions of color are seemingly on parade. Deep purple against a glowing orange, an icy white contrasting beautifully with a lavender Iris, then a brilliant gold, the darkest black, a sky blue…On it goes. Countless new colors and combinations. As Emma Townsend wrote, “Irises are the glamour pusses in the world of floral loveliness.” Time spent in an atmosphere of beauty is restorative.
The Schreiner Family
P.S. Please consider a trip to Schreiner’s Gardens at bloom time. Our 10-acre display of over 500 Iris cultivars, planted among a dizzying array of mature perennials, welcomes local and international visitors each May. Call our office or visit our website for more Bloom Season details.
Back in the spring of 2015, as we geared up for the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, and to welcome the Annual AIS Convention-goers, we received a message from Cathy Egerer of the Historic Iris Preservation Society. She proposed we plant an historic Schreiner Iris bed in our Display Gardens to commemorate our golden anniversary. While our 10-acre display garden contains beds filled with hundreds of Iris cultivars, seedling tests, guest Iris, Dyke’s Medal winners and more, surprisingly we had not yet dedicated a single bed to our own legacy of 90 years of Iris breeding.
We agreed that this would be a tremendous addition to the garden. Ms. Egerer then enlisted the help of dedicated Iris enthusiasts across the country. These generous individuals donated and shipped the historic Iris rhizomes from their own gardens to us here in Oregon. We received several dozen specimens of older Schreiner hybrids, dating back to 1936. Once cataloged and arranged, Ben Schreiner (4th generation owner) planted the “newcomers” and tended to them throughout that first winter.
Thus, our official Historic Schreiner Iris bed was conceived of and built. We would like to very sincerely thank Cathy and all of the folks who donated Iris and time and postage to this project (please forgive us if we have forgotten to list anyone by name): Carlos Ayento, Nancy McDonald, Linda Baumgartner, Judy Schneider, Arlyn Madsen, Lani Shooks, Patty Del Negro, Wanda Rezac, Charles Pickett. We are grateful to you all for helping to restore these historic Iris to their roots.
Do you grow historic Schreiner Iris in your garden? We would love to know.
Mr. Carlos Ayento has been collecting and proving Iris in his hometown Chicago for a good long while. We enjoy his company and feedback here in our Display Gardens at Bloom Season when he’s able to visit. This brief report of his trials and tribulations in his home garden should prove helpful to our readers. Thank you, Carlos!
By Carlos Ayento
I have been involved with irises since seventh grade. That was back in 1992 when I planted eight tall bearded irises from a collection offered from Burpee’s Seed catalog. Seven of those irises I would later find out were introduced by Schreiner’s. These were Invitation (1982), Grand Waltz (1970), Stepping Out (1964), Gay…
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, sacrifice and a love of what you do.” – Pele
Greetings fellow Iris enthusiasts,
At Schreiner’s Gardens we strive to put a smile on your face when you open a box and see large, healthy rhizomes, every one you ordered. Whether buying a car or a box of iris, the product garners the attention. Usually one barely gives a thought to the workers who make it happen.
In spite of our best efforts, our iris refuse to jump out of the ground on their own and sort themselves, on the way to their destination. Talented and dedicated employees are necessary. Every organization has to have people to be depended upon. Schreiner’s Gardens is fortunate to have top quality employees, men and women, who have worked decades here. They do anything and everything: answer phones and the mail, provide the best customer service, dig and ship iris rhizomes, prepare and maintain our beautiful display gardens, transplant our crop, and service our vehicles and machinery. Pictured in our print catalog are the friends and employees whom we entrust with the most vital tasks.
Just as it’s a thing of beauty to see an orchestra perform in concert, an onlooker can come away with a similar reaction watching our crew. They are very good at what they do. There’s little doubt that they care. Even in extremes of weather, there’s a ready smile. So the next time you open that box of iris, remember our staff behind the scenes, whose mission is to satisfy YOU.
Our catalog features our new introductions for 2017, as well as 30 additional varieties from outstanding hybridizers. Iris offer tremendous variety of incredible color, from the early-blooming dwarf to the late-blooming tall bearded, to the slender elegance of the beardless iris. Within the narrow confines of a city lot, or stretched along an entire side yard, colorful iris lift your spirits each spring.
Finally, 2017 heralds a new chapter for Schreiner’s Gardens. We have accepted the opportunity to offer renowned hybridizer Mr. Bill Maryott’s beautiful, modern Daylilies to our customers – another hardy and easy to grow perennial Look for more information on our website. As always, we thank you for choosing Schreiner’s Iris Gardens.
The Iris are planted. The sheds are quiet. The equipment has been cleaned and stored away for a long winter’s rest. And now, we turn toward the holidays. You see, we like to stay busy. And we love, love, love the holidays. And we love fresh. A perfect opportunity presented itself for us to combine these three elements: Oregon Evergreen Holiday Wreaths. All components of these wreaths are fresh from the forests above Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Up in the Silverton hills, not far from our farm actually, an evergreen nursery constructs the wreaths from their own harvest. (The sweet evergreen scent is intoxicating!) We ship them to you fresh in time for the holidays. Each wreath comes with three darling, fresh pine cones.
Happy holiday preparations to all!
A blast from the past… It’s springtime 1986. Schreiner’s Iris Gardens’ Iris Lover’s Catalog has a new seedling to announce.
“A knockout! Dusky Challenger has caught the eye of many garden visitors. We have been frequently asked when Seedling #1953-AA would be ready for introduction. And with good reason. This silky rich purple gem combines an absolutely gigantic flower with impeccable ruffled form on a beautifully branched stem opening four blooms as once. See for yourself what has caused this commotion in our photograph… This wonder raises the standards for dark Iris to a new level. Destined to challenge all comers and bound for glory. Order early. AIS Highly Commended Award, 1984.”
Thus was Dusky Challenger introduced to the Iris world in 1986 in our 61st Iris Lovers Catalog. Since that time it has gone on to prove itself a champion, winning the Dykes Medal in 1992.
Like a dark knight rising from an obscure past to the heights of glory, Dusky Challenger continues to glorify gardens far and wide (despite its unknown parentage — a little mishap that occurs from time to time in the Iris world). Bernard (Gus) Schreiner would have made the initial hybrid cross in the early 80’s and was duly impressed in subsequent bloom seasons with the seedling’s blossoms. Gus likely consulted with his brother Robert and the two agreed it would be a good introduction for the 1986 season. Gus’ son, Ray Schreiner, impressed with the rich color and fantastic stature of the seedling, christened it Dusky Challenger. Our very knowledgeable colleague from down the road, Mr. Keith Keppel, has theorized that Titan’s Glory must certainly be in the parentage.
Dusky Challenger has appeared on the American Iris Society’s (AIS) annual popularity poll numerous times, including landing first place more than a dozen years. Iris judges have reported to us that Dusky Challenger and Silverado (Schreiner, 1987) are two Iris that judges consider to be “perfect”. The popularity Dusky Challenger has enjoyed is a clear indication of its vigor and success in gardens in all regions of the United States. Dawn Mumford, contributor to the AIS blog “World of Irises”, included Dusky Challenger in her “super achiever” list. She writes, “My husband and I like to recognize those irises that can always be counted on to bloom well, resist disease, provide beautiful blossoms, make big clumps…” Enjoy the fun read in her April 25, 2016 post on the AIS World of Iris blog.
In a May 21st interview with Garden Time TV host William McClenathan, Steve Schreiner compared Dusky Challenger with another high-achiever from eight decades prior, The Red Douglas (introduced by J. Sass in 1934). See in the photo here the contrast of the two (Dusky Challenger on the left), representing the progress made in Iris hybridizing over 80+ years. As the photo illustrates, the flowers are large, with excellent substance. The color is a deep dark purple. The form is the epitome of excellence, with standards shaped ideally, not open too much or closed too much. The falls are equally admirable in form, with slight ruffling, wide hafts. And no sign of fading even in the warm spring weather we experienced this year. The plant is a healthy one, the stalks are thick, and again, it grows well for everyone as far as we know. One online review exclaims, “I would not want to have a garden without it!” (found on Dave’s Garden).
So, Happy Birthday Dusky Challenger! May you continue to amaze and delight garden visitors for many a decade more.