On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter Mike in Oly.

I know, like me, most of you are ready for spring, and since my last iris garden photos were so well received I thought I’d revisit another springtime garden from 2016. The American Iris Society held its annual Convention in Newark NJ with the main attraction being the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair, NJ. Established in 1927 to honor one of the city’s founders, Frank Presby, it is referred to as ‘the Rainbow on the Hill’, and is a beloved local garden. They display thousands of irises of many species and from all eras of development. I was so fortunate to have accommodations just down the street from the garden, and hence all day access for photography. A dream come true for me, as historic irises are my favorites and this is Mecca for such aficionados. I hope you enjoy the blooms.

Taken on 2016-05-23 00:00:00

Montclair, NJ

The Barbara Walther house holds court over the garden as the visitors are welcomed. Barbara Walther was the devoted director and caretaker of the garden for decades and really shaped the gardens into the form we see today.

Taken on 2016-05-23 00:00:00

Montclair, NJ

The beds make rivers of blooms to explore, with unique colors, patterns and forms of the flowers, all glowing in the sun and bringing joy at every turn.

Taken on 2016-05-23 00:00:00

Montclair, NJ

A perfect spring day.

Taken on 2016-05-23 00:00:00

Montclair, NJ

This variety is named ‘Amigo and is from 1930.

Taken on 2016-05-23 00:00:00

Montclair, NJ

A closer look. The architecture of flowers is so fascinating to me. Irises never fail to deliver maximum joy.


Thank you so much Mike in Oly, do send us more when you can.


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15 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    Those are gorgeous! Beautifully laid out “rivers” of so many colors. Another garden added to the bucket list.

  2. 2
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Yes! Iris, my favorite 💞

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Spring is coming. This weekend we expect rain, and then more rain. What a surprise.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    Mary is right that viewing the gardens should be on one’s bucket list. Thank you for sending the pictures in.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have a deep soft spot for irises.

  6. 6
    HinTN says:

    The Tennessee State Flower presents very well in New Jersey. Thanks for sharing those pix of a lovely place.

  7. 7
    debbie says:

    I cannot wait to see irises all around my neighborhood!

  8. 8
    JAFD says:

    Did not know about this, thanks, very much, for telling us.
    Will have to catch bus there. Is May peak time for blooms , or would earlier or latr also be worthwhile ?

  9. 9
    sherparick says:

    Thanks Alain. The forecast next week here in Virginia is that at least it will become “seasonal” next week. Hopefully, the warm weather is just around the corner. Thanks for the pictures.

    By the way, if you want to know why the Democrats need a majority in the Senate no matter who wins the Presidency, this is why:


  10. 10
    waratah says:

    A single iris is lovely, but in mass in full bloom they can take your breath away.
    Thank you.

  11. 11
    Mike in Oly says:

    @JAFD May would be the peak flowering time. You’d likely find some early bloomers before then and some later species or rebloomers after but May will be the main show.

  12. 12
    J R in WV says:

    Really great flowers, and great to see some real spring blooms!

    it’s snowing here, gonna be another shitty winter day.

    After yesterday’s shitty news, I feel like having Irish Coffee to start the day, and then drinking other whiskeys all day long. Won’t, would be a bad thing to do, but it IS what I want to do.

  13. 13
    KSinMA says:

    Beautiful pix. Thanks!

  14. 14
    Kattails says:

    Gorgeous! I lived in Montclair for my first couple of years & then lived in nearby Chatham Twp. for another 17 years, never knew about this. Irises are some of my favorite flowers, though they don’t seem to grow for me.
    For anyone planning a trip, the Montclair Art Museum houses a collection of 21 George Inness paintings, he worked in the area when it was still largely farming. It also has an extensive collection of Native American art. Always nice to get a twofer for your traveling pleasure. Thanks so much for this. I may have to plan an excursion, the Bellamy-Ferriday House and Gardens are just north of Woodbury CT and feature an extensive collection of lilacs, peonies and fragrant shrubs; I’ve only heard about it and seen some pics.

  15. 15
    stinger says:

    I love irises! The forecast this weekend is for an inch of rain, which should help finally to start washing away the wasteland of ice and snow that has been my yard for three months now. And then crocus, and then daffodils, and then tulips, and then irises!

    Those Amigos look quite a bit like some plants I inherited from my grandmother. As the variety dates from 1930, it’s possible that’s what they are.

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