At A Glance: Ensata Gardens

The first time I ever visited Ensata gardens in Galesburg Michigan was 27 years ago.  I was 34.  My dear friend Denise was pregnant with her child Jacob-who by the way has been married 3 years now, and is about to buy his first house.  I was fiercely obsessed with gardens, and had all the energy to go with; so was she.  I was in my “have to have every iris” phase-the species iris, Louisiana iris, tall beardeds, siberians-and of course, Japanese iris. Being the painter that she is, Denise shared that love of iris kaempferi with me. 

We lost track of each other over the years until the day she decided to drive up to the shop on a Saturday.  We have been thick as thieves ever since, as if that twenty year gap never existed.  Buck and I drove up yesterday to spend 2 days with Denise and her husband Ken.  On the itinerary-a visit to Ensata Gardens. 

What a thrill it was to see that this small highly specialized nursery not only still existed, but was thriving.  They are the largest nursery devoted to the hybridizing and sale of Japanese iris anywhere-outside of Japan.   John Coble and Bob Bauer have persisted in a way I truly admire.  Their iris, and all of their other perennial offerings are beautifully grown.  Though it was 96 degrees when we got there at 10am this morning, I hardly noticed.  I hope you enjoy my pictures. 

If you are interested in growing them, I can attest that they do not just propagate these iris-they eat, sleep and live them.  This is a long way of saying that they are happy to coach.  The iris I bought from them I had for the better part of 10 years, before I sold my land.  Today’s visit made me want to grow them again; every plant was beautiful, and the flowers extraordinary. 

dreaded beetles!  After I took this pictures, I squashed him.

I so very much enjoyed this visit. I liked the memories-I loved what is going on there right now.