When we announced that the Second Congress of the Ukrainian Iris Society will hold in the garden of Alexander and Catherine Monako, the question “To go or not to go?” didn’t arise. Of course, go. And, as it turned out, wishing there was a lot of. Iris-lovers came from all over Ukraine. And for what? To see one of the best collections of irises, to communicate, to exchange experiences. And we were not disappointed. What we saw exceeded all expectations. As soon as we had in the garden all at once took up the cameras and notebooks(which were distributed by the host in advance).
First of all surprised the area size and diversity of tall bearded iris varieties. And these were mostly varieties of the latest selection. Most visitors saw the most of these irises only the on the foreign sites of the iris-lovers. Each flower is a new unexpected surprise, a fantastic combination of colors, shades, shapes. This diversity is fully justifies it’s name, the word iris means “rainbow”.To enumerate all the varieties that you like – a thankless task and not enough space. Suffice it to mention only a few: Accessible (Ghio’08) – pink and purple heavily frilled, Buccaneer’s Prize (Blyth’09) – Burgundy red frilled extreme, Be Original (Ghio’09) – original bicolor, Calgary (Johnson’10) – bitone blue with very wide falls, Camera Ready (Tasco’09) – bronze-brown, sprinkled with “sand”, Chestnuts Roasting (Blyth’10) – laced chocolate, Hysteria (Blyth’08) – white with a bright pattern, Lasley My Love ( Blyth’08) – most tender laced coral-pink, Mahogany Magic (Johnson’10) – gorgeous yellow-brown, Opening Number (Black’10) – bluish-purple with a gold ribbon, Obsessed (Blyth’11) – super ruffled cherry-plum velvet, Repertoire (Johnson’11) – a singular olive-lavender with a wide band and perfectly pleated, Wish List (Black’11) -snow white with purple veins. Most collectors went here not only to witness the new varieties, but also to learn something. All guests without exception were amazed by a high level of agricultural technology. The entire collection, numbering many hundreds of varieties available on the neat two-row plots between which is narrow paths suitable for passage and contemplation flowering irises. All the plants are in excellent condition.Each variety is designated by a sign that is very important and much easier to review the collection. Personally, this trip motivated me to reconsider my views on the formation of the iris collection. Earlier I thought that get rid of old varieties which I loved so much and which I grew for so many years, is the same as to drive out from home the pets. Of course, old varieties have a certain aesthetic and historical value, but the size of land is not unlimited, and care for plants need to exert more and more effort. So no need to chase the quantity, it is necessary to focus on the quality of varieties. Moreover, exactly in the Monako iris garden I saw irises arilbred (AB) for the first time and was fascinated. Arilbred is a hybrids of bearded irises and ‘oncocyclus’ and ‘regelia’ iris. The beauty of the original flower was slightly obscured by graceful tall bearded irises which were and are kings of irises. But arilbredy deserve to grow in our flower beds. I was impressed by AB with typical for them dark signal on falls: Octave (Johnson’08), Lancer (Shockey’95). In Ukraine the AB is not very popular, but I have managed to buy a few varieties AB and find out that a dozen varieties grown in our iris-lover collections. It was nice to meet those collectors with whom I met at the First Congress of UIS, and meet new people. This contributed to the relaxed atmosphere that prevailed among participants. And during the “gastronomic” part we were able to not only enjoy the delicious lunch that filed hostess, Mrs. Catherine, but also to exchange experiences, share experiences and discuss future plans. Here, each participant received a souvenir to remember – a nice cup depicting symbols of the Congress. Among greyness and ordinariness of our life the human eyes will always directed skyward. But our prosperous land can give immense pleasure from the contemplation of unsurpassed beauty of flowers. That is the truly fascinating beauty we saw in the iris garden of the Monako family. Without a doubt, this collection is the best in Ukraine by the number of the latest varieties of irises. All new varieties of the best hibrydisers of Australia (B. Blyth) and the USA (K.Keppel, P.Black, J.Ghio) immediately after the start of the sale “settle” in this garden. The owners of the garden did everything to the guests left feeling unforgettable holiday. And we are grateful to them and to the management of UIS for that. Health, strength and inspiration to you!
Irina Lukava, Lviv