Special Excursion Gardens

Welcome to a Special Excursion to see three personal residence iris gardens in the San Fernando Valley. Excursion includes lunch. Registration is $50 and can be paid for on the regular Calizona Gold Convention registration form.

Jill & Joe Bonino Garden - Glendale, CA

The Boninos were married in 1993 and Jill has been working on the garden since she caught the iris addiction in 1996. She joined the San Fernando Valley Iris Society and the American Iris Society that year. She has held many offices with the SFVIS and is currently the Treasurer for The American Iris Society. The house is about 1500 feet above sea level in east Glendale, almost in Pasadena. The garden has evolved through many stages. Numerous areas have been replanted and replenished. It will always be a work in progress. A large ivy bed in the front was dug up in 2004 and planted with irises. These are a mixture of Tall Bearded, median and aril irises. Below this bed are two ground level narrow beds in front of brick walls that hold all medians. Above the medians in the front, perpendicular to the top former ivy area, is another narrow bed of Tall Bearded. Most of these plants are recent introductions, some rebloom, and some are those classic “oldies but goodies”. In the front bed near the house are several iris species, and the immortal ‘ Morea Dietes”.

The back garden area is a mixture of roses, daylilies, succulents, geraniums and Tall Bearded iris planted in among them. There are also about 10 spuria plants along the back fence and a self contained Louisiana bed next to the house. There is also one Pacific Coast Native iris which may or may not be in bloom.

Randy Squires Garden - North Hills, CA

The Squires Garden is located in the San Fernando Valley southwest of the 405/118 Freeway interchange, about 25 miles northwest of the Bonino Garden.

The one acre garden area has been growing since 1978 beginning when a friend gave the Squires some of their extra iris after dividing. Not long after this, Randy and his Mother Betty joined the San Fernando Valley Iris Society and began collecting anything that came their way. Randy has slowed down a little over the years, and currently grows around 500 named varieties, many of Randy’s seedlings (mostly Tall Bearded) and a few newer introductions he purchases every year. Randy has been the Sales Chair for SFVIS for many years. He plans and coordinates the Spring and Fall Sales for the club, and orders and organizes the Club’s Auction in September .

From the street you see a wide area of rows of Tall Bearded iris. Behind that next to the house Randy constructed a pond and waterfall that holds some Louisiana iris and pseudacorus. Randy also grows Louisiana iris in water tubs along with alstroemaria, geraniums, and johnny jump ups scattered throughout the front and back garden areas.

Loren Zeldin Garden - Reseda, CA

Sixty years ago, Loren’s parents bought a half-acre parcel of land in a semi-rural part of the San Fernando Valley called Reseda. This area is a little bit south and further west from the Squires Garden. There wasn’t a tree or shrub or a blade of grass on the property, and the clay soil was very alkaline. Within a few years there were fruit trees, dogs, cats, and a wide variety of poultry.

By the mid 1970's, most of the farm animals were gone, and while attending college Loren began creating a large garden on the property. His family joined the San Fernando Valley Iris Society and before long scores of iris cultivars became the central focus of the garden. However, by the end of the 1980's roses had supplanted iris as the main event even though Loren still continued to acquire new irises from time to time, especially spurias.

Today, Loren and his mother still live on the property and the garden has become a rich mixture of plants. Daylilies have entered the picture along with others including alstroemaria, duranta, ruellia, abutilon, euphorbia, coprosma, datura, cestrums, milianthus, salvia, lantana and justicia. And despite dire warnings from garden friends, Loren continues to value (and referee) his self-sowing “garden thugs”---feverfew, morning glory, four o’clocks, centranthus, borage, violets, poppies and larkspur. They add a wild, cottage garden flavor to a display that Loren is sure you will enjoy when you visit. You have to see it to believe it.

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