About Cascadia Iris Gardens
It’s been some time since we updated this page. There have been many changes and life experiences we’d like to share.
Margaret and I started our collection in 2004 with just a few rises. Our collection grew quickly–fast enough that we opened Cascadia Iris Gardens in 2008. So much has changed since then. By 2011 our iris collection outgrew our property.
We gave up the custom-built home that started us on this journey to find a larger piece of property. After months of searching and one real estate agent change, we found the perfect property: about 5.1 acres of mostly flat, clear land. Approximately 1 acre is forested, and the house, display garden, and garage sit on about an acre; that leaves us with 3 acres for growing irises. Unfortunately, the house leaves a bit to be desired, but that is a story for another day.
We bought the property in the fall of 2011 and began moving irises the following spring.
Thus began the period I like to call “The Dark Years.” I spent 6 months moving irises while Margaret finished moving the contents of the old house and got it ready for sale. As usual, Margaret did an excellent job. Once the house hit the market, it sold in 24 hours. Unfortunately, the irises didn’t do so well. With only one water faucet on the property, it was impossible to keep all the newly transplanted irises wet enough to survive 74 days without rain. By the end of the season, I had transplanted all the irises, but we lost about half of what was moved. The next year wasn’t much better, and I lost even more irises. By the middle of bloom season, I couldn’t make myself go out into the garden. I was that upset. By 2014 though, our new soil and I came to an arrangement, and we’re now on speaking terms again.
Fast forward 3 years to 2017, and we are back to producing excellent-quality irises. Thanks to my friends in the iris world, I was able to recover many of the irises I lost. Our collection of Japanese irises is now one of the best anywhere, both in variety and quality. Our collection of 40-chromosome Siberian irises is unsurpassed in the United States and perhaps anywhere in the world.
I’m still hybridizing. My focus is on Japanese iris, but I also dabble in the rare and unique 40-chromosome Siberian irises. The Dark Years were not good to my initial crosses, but we do have some excellent new irises coming to market in a year or two. One of them, JI0704-A, was voted favorite seedling at the 2017 Society for Japanese Iris convention.
Margaret and I are continuing to develop our display gardens.
My stated goal (in an effort to convince Margaret this is a good idea) was to showcase our beautiful irises with a wide variety of other plants to demonstrate how they would look in your perennial beds. The real reason is because I have become so enamored with all the fauna we have the ability to grow, I want to try them all. But let’s not tell Margaret. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt me.
We are adding collections of many different plant species. We received an excellent collection of spring ephemerals from Carla Lankow, trilliums, erythroniums, arisaemas and the like. We have well over 200 varieties of daylily, 50 or so peonies and have just started what we hope to be one of the largest collections of lilacs around.
We are also working diligently to provide an environment that attracts and protects the resident and migratory bird life in our area. See our Birds & Bees page to see Margaret’s photos and read a few stories.
Please plan to come for a visit. Whether you live locally or plan to visit Seattle for a few days, Margaret and I would love to meet you. Come alone or bring your entire Garden Club; we can tailor a visit to meet your needs. Check our Open Garden Days on our Iris 101 page or contact us to make an appointment.
Patrick & Margaret