Saturday, April 26, 2008

Champange Elegance Reblooming in the Autumn Mist



This season Champagne Elegance has rebloomed again for us and this year and has up to 8 bloom stalks at any one time. Bloom started from 3rd week in January till now and it still does not look like giving up.I took these photos in this morning's mist which shows the trees changing to Autumn colouring's and its a good feeling to still see a Tall Bearded Iris blooming at this late stage of our Iris season. Our regular bloom season in New Zealand for Tall bearded Iris is Mid October through to the end of November

This iris is available from two New Zealand Commercial growers they are The Iris Gardens (see Iris link) in Christchurch, the Amazing Iris Garden Katikati; Email;
C E is also available from other growers in NZ but I have yet to receive permission to post a link to their gardens

American growers can go to Suttons and Aitkens both are listed in Iris Links who are specialists in reblooming iris

The best Catalogue description for this iris comes from Barry and Leslie Blyth's Tempo Two Catalogue 1996-97
Champagne Elegance (Nisswonger 1987 USA) M 33"
Standards are near white to pale lavender pink; Falls are buff Apricot. Amber Beards. Heavy bloomer and once established regularly rebloom's in Autumn.
( Blyth seedling X (Coral Strand X Peach Spot) HM 1989 AM 1991

All New Zealand and Overseas Visitors to this site should if they want to know more information on Reblooming, also known as Remontants Irises should give serious consideration to Joining the Reblooming Iris Society the link is listed under Iris Links on this page and for $7.00 US annual or $18.00 Triennial subscription represents fantastic value (New Zealander's need to add $5.00 US for international post). In the next month or two I will feature a post from my point of view about membership of Iris Societies and which represent the best value and why.

This season I have purchased an additional 10 varieties of reblooming Iris they are AUTUMN TRYST, CARIBBEAN DREAM, ELAINEALOPE, GOLDEN IMMORTAL

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Blotanical Garden blog Directory


Blotanical is without a doubt a fantastic large directory of Garden Blogs all in one place. If you haven't already, give it a visit, but only if you have plenty of time to spare. Just click on the Blotanical Side Bar Button featured on this page.Enjoy!!!

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New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'MAGNOLIA'

We have 16 clumps of the heirloom iris 'Magnolia' in one garden bed at home, which indicates the high regard I have for this iris and it's magnificent display. A high health, and vigorous grower and I always have requests for plants from people who visit the garden. Magnolia as most will know is the pod parent of Jean's most famous introduction "Pinnacle".

In the year 1950, D'Arcy Blackburn, a Gisborne commercial grower of Irises, and a founding member of the NZIS, had this to say about Magnolia.
"In the creams, although there are some good varieties coming through to us shortly, most of us have had to content ourselves with Magnolia one of the few of this colour we have seen. Magnolia, however, has many excellent qualities, being reliable blooming, of rapid increase, and with nicely formed flower on a good stalk.. We could do with more irises like it. It does not rot or show spot and the rhizomes planted one season unfailingly make their show the next. Alas, I have seen too many much heralded new varieties in irises take two to three years to make a worthwhile show in the garden. It will be a good iris that will supersede 'Magnolia'."

Stevens Bros Catalogue 1939-1940
One of the finest seedlings we have yet introduced. Very large flower's of classic form and parchment-like substance, carried on four foot well branched stems. The colour is a warm creamy white reminiscent of Magnolia grandiflora. A light yellow beard adds character to a charming flower. An extremely vigorous grower 4 ft. seven shillings and sixpence.

Fair Chance Farm Beloit, Kansas. 1948 Catalog
MAGNOLIA 48 inches. M. Parchment substance, creamy white. Very fine.

The Iris Year Book 1949 page 99, Irises in New Zealand, Jean Stevens.
White irises are not yet generally popular, and in this regard the average grower of irises in this country is stubbornly conservative. Only one white iris, WINTER CARNIVAL could be called popular at this date. Strangely enough a light cream, MAGNOLIA, though an old variety, remains universally popular. 

2011 New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist
MAGNOLIA Mrs J. Stevens, Reg., 1939. Sdlg.1/K34 TB, 48″, M, W4; E. Standards and Falls creamy white, soft reticulated gold at throat, light yellow beard. Good shape and substance but lacks branching. Description J Stevens Studbook notes,‘1937 flowering’; (Shasta X Mrs Valerie West). Stevens Bros Catalogue 1939-40.

This heirloom iris is available in New Zealand from the Amazing Iris Gardens
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'BAYBERRY CANDLE'

Above Photo of 'Bayberry Candle' was taken in the gardens at “Beccles,” Bulls, New Zealand, which is one of New Zealand’s early historic Iris Gardens. We do grow this iris in our collection and I consider it to be one of the great classics in Iris breeding and has to date no counterpart in colouration, it's a reasonably recent newcomer to the historic Iris catalogue. The iris is grown commercially in New Zealand and can be purchased by discerning gardeners from Amazing Iris Garden, Katikati.(see New Zealand Iris Growers Link above)

De Forests' IRISNOLL, Route 3, Box 363, Canby, Oregon. Latest Introductions 1969.
BAYBERRY CANDLE '69. 38 inches. Widely flaring flower of excellence substance. Standards chartreuse to lime ; white inside. Styles white and chartreuse. Falls clean, light golden-olive with darker area around beard. From a seedling of Dawn Crest by seedling of Mary Randall, crossed Golden Chance. Rapid increaser..............$25.00

Cooley's Iris Garden catalogue 1976
'A rich brassy green bi-colour with chartreuse lime standards and a brighter gold and olive-green falls. A unique and showy colour with excellent form. Beards are a radiant gold'.

BayBloom Nurseries, Tauranga, The Connoisseurs Catalogue, Spring-Summer 1988  BAYBERRY CANDLE. The whole flower has a brassy metallic overtone. Almost brass green hued, it is a bi-colour with rich chartreuse standards and gold toned olive green falls with the colour intensified around the bright gold beards. A must for every iris collection.

Amazing Iris Garden Catalogue 2007/2008
Standards are chartreuse and falls of gold, toned olive green. Bright gold beard, nice iris $8.00

1969 Checklist AIS description
BAYBERRY CANDLE (C. DeForest, R. 1966) Sdlg. 66-19 TB 36” M Y3cm S. chartreuse to lime, white inside and styles; F golden olive-green, deeper centre; brown beard (Dawn Crest x S8-38) X (Mary Randall x Golden Chance), Irisnoll 1969 HM 1970, AM 1972.

Click on any photo to view a larger image

Photo credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'MAPLE TREAT'

Photographed growing at home and it sure is a beautiful Iris when it blooms. Not well known as it is a slow increase for me,and most New Zealand commercial grower's did not sell it, the grower I purchased it from has closed his business,but if you can find someone who is selling it I recommend that you buy it, in my opinion it is justly named "Maple Treat".

Waimate Iris Garden, Waimate, South Canterbury. Final Catalogue 2007.

MAPLE TREAT Opal Brown,1995. Rich medium brown. Short supply again.

Cayeux, La  Carcaudière, Route de Coullons, France. Iris Lover's Catalogue, 2013.
Arc en Ciel Collection
MAPLE TREAT M - 75 cm £ 6.30
A good son of the variety ‘Caliph’. Medium brown standards and lighter orange-brown falls, paler below the deep gold beards. Rich colour, excellent garden value.

AIS Checklist, 1999.
MAPLE TREAT Opal Brown, Reg. 1995 Sdlg. 91-8E4. TB, 28" (71 cm), M. S. medium brown (RHS 166A); style arms medium brown; F. lighter brown, paler (166D) below beard; beards deep gold, thick; ruffled.Caliph x Indian Caper. Brown's Sunnyhill 1995.

Clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tomorrows Post


Make sure you get yourself back here tomorrow for pictures of MAPLE TREAT a modern tall bearded Iris


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Another Jean Stevens iris growing at home.This is a strong and vigorous plant which shows strong Purple bottom foliage.
As the rules of the AIS checklist requires that should a Iris be named after a living person written permission from the person concerned is required. Jean duly wrote to Winston Churchill seeking his permission to name this iris after him, and received a letter back from the Prime Ministers Private secretary on behalf of Winston Churchill giving permission to do so. The reader should take into account that this was just at the time when all the politics that led to the start of World War 2 was happening.
The listing of Winston Churchill on the HIPS web site has a notation that it "only flowers once every three or four years" this will come as a complete surprise to the many people growing this Iris in New Zealand as it is a rather puzzling statement because every year this Iris is covered in blooms, and is my opinion that should it had only flowered once every three years, Jean Stevens would have tossed it on the compost heap and it would never have been introduced such were the standards she set.

Steven's Bros. Catalogue Bulls, Introductions, 1942-43.
Patiently through the years the breeder works, trying to lead nature along the road he desires her to travel. Ruthlessly he destroys their efforts to stray aside from the goal on which he has set his heart. Nature, true to her reputation, as inconstant, and often perverse, but just once or twice in a generation will give a generous and compliant aid in the right direction.
In 18 years of breeding for true red irises we have worked through many generations of varieties, selecting those nearest in colour,discarding all others. Almost imperceptibly the idea was coming nearer and nearer, until at last nature has come to our aid, and we are able to offer this lovely result of hour-long work.
We present this Iris to the Iris lovers of the world with all confidence we possess, that this is no star of a day or a year but a thing of beauty and joy for ever. Glowing and alive with colour like some of the rich crimson's in the priceless paintings of the old Masters, Winston Churchill as a masterpiece of colour and texture. The standards of an effulgent, copper-lit red, enliven the dark pure red, velvet falls. 2½ ft. 42/-

Schreiners Iris Lovers Catalog 1947
WINSTON CHURCHILL (Stevens 1944) ML. 32"
 A striking new red Iris. A solid color close to crimson, it gleams with a jewel-like lustre. Compared with the reeds regrow it is deeper and the color singles out as being different. Color and texture are very fine.the standards are more a glowing copper-lit red, the falls pure crimson velvet with a gold beard. Very impressive and distinctive in a class where many varieties are confused because of their similarities.

Not tall 2½ feet............................ ....................$20.00

From the Steven's Bros. Catalogue Wanganui ,1952-53:
Glowing and alive with colour, like some of the rich crimsons in the priceless paintings of the old masters. Winston Churchill is a masterpiece of colour and texture. The standards of an effulgent, copper-lit red, enliven the dark pure red, velvet falls. This lovely iris has created considerable enthusiasm in America, being of a rich tone of red, and very distinct.

From D'Arcy Blackburn's Catalogue (Gisborne, New Zealand)1952-53
WINSTON CHURCHILL Stevens. For glowing rich colour there is nothing in the Iris world to surpass this truly masterful production. With copper-red standards and dark pure red velvet falls. Winston Churchill is most impressive and distinctive. 30 inches

2011 New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist
WINSTON CHURCHILL  Mrs. J. Stevens, Reg., 1941. Sdlg.1/N44  TB, 30″, M, R9D; S. deep copper red. F. deeper velvety red, deep gold beard. ML. 2½ft.; Description J. Stevens Studbook notes,‘1939 flowering’;  Achilles X Mareschal Ney. 'Introduced' Stevens Bros Catalogue 1942-43

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'TRIBAL TORCH '

TRIBAL TORCH flowered for me last season and intrigues me no end. First, the very involved Parentage and it's genetic code is made up from some very good irises. Frank Hutchings used a lot of Jean Stevens varieties in his breeding program, so as you can see below 'Pinnacle' is in the parentage of 'Tribal Torch' 5 times and then there is also an appearance of 'Finest Hour'. Undoubtedly ahead of its time with its variegata colouration and it's now referred to broken colour splashes on the standards. Secondly, concerning the registration description just how do you get a self beard on a bicolour??? Additional information added below from Tell's Gardens' Catalog adjusts this beard colour oversight. Many of you may grow Frank's well known 1973 introduction 'Festive Skirt' a Pink Amoena which is another top Iris and has 'Pinnacle' and 'Sunset Snows' included in its parentage . I am most pleased to have both of these irises in my collection.You will also note Tell Muhlestein's catalogue comments that 'Tribal Torch' is fertile both ways, but I can find no registered Iris that has it included in it's parentage, could this be an opportunity for someone??? 

Tell's Garden's Orem Utah. 'We proudly present our 1971 Introductions'.
TRIBAL TORCH (Hutchings) ML. 36" Ruby Mine X 68-89.  A very involved cross with Mardi Gras, Pinnacle (5 times), Mexican Magic, Finest Hour, Cherry Falls, Sable Night, Pacemaker, Canyon Sky, Tompkins 30-96 D, Cock Pheasant, Wabash, Red Torch. Stunning variegata with red-brown (auburn) falls; styles yellow flushed red ; beard burnt amber; Clean hafts; Superb addition to the limited variegata's. Fertile both ways. No. 68-17A..............................Net $25.00

1979 AIS Checklist
TRIBAL TORCH (Hutchings R. 1970) Sdgl. 68-17A. TB 32" (81cm) M. S.golden with F. color busting up from the base: F. rich red chocolate; self beard.Ruby Mine X 68-89A (Inv. Pinnacle, Cherry Falls, Sable Night, Pacemaker, Canyon Sky, Cock Pheasant, Wabash, Red Torch.) Tell 1971

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version. Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'EDENITE'

This great flowering Red Black iris grows in a large clump at home and puts on an amazing early display. Vigorous growth with clean light green foliage. Blooms are a super smooth deep red-maroon black, velvety, a true self and are the epitome of elegance. Large and rounded full form. Not commonly sold commercially in New Zealand. It was originally sold to me labeled as "Black Swan", but that label was put to rest the day it first flowered.

Eden Road Iris Garden, Wenatchee, Washington. 1959 introductions.
EDENITE--- EM. 30 in.( Great Day x Sable Night) Entire flower is deep red-black with falls having a sooty black appearance. Flower is large with wide petals. Fertile both ways. H.C. '58 ...........................$35.00 net.

 Schreiner's, Salem, Oregon, Iris Lover's Catalog, 1964.
Here is a startlingly different dark iris. Absolutely different from other dark's in that it is a deep, intense, almost sooty deep red-maroon. Crisp, closed standards and flaring falls. Sombre and attractive.HM 1959. AM 1961. 

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 1963.
'Sooty' black with a deep red undertone; a seedling of Sable Night The uniform blackness of this flower immediately attracts all who see it in the garden. Domed standards and flaring falls. Blooms rather early.

Richmond Iris Gardens, Hill Street, Richmond, New Zealand. IRISES 1967-1968
EDENITE E-M 35" A dark intense Iris, of deep maroon. Crisp closed standards and flaring falls, most attractive

Schliefert Iris Gardens, Murdock, Nebraska, 29th Annual Catalog, 1970.
EDENITE (Plough, '59) A large sooty black, from the red side. The entire flower is a deep red-black with the falls having a sooty black appearance.A.M. '61.

Courtesy Schreiner's Iris Lover's catalog for 1964

AIS Checklist, 1959.
EDENITE (Plough, R. 1958). Sdlg. 55-11-14. TB 30" EM. RN1. Sooty red-black. Great Day x Sable Night., Eden Road 1959. H.C. 1958, H.M. 1959 A.M. 1961.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version. Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Historic Tall Bearded Iris 'DUKE OF BEDFORD'



The DUKE OF BEDFORD raised by Arthur Bliss 1922 is an amazing Iris to view.Good increase, handles the weather well, and has many hues of purple depending on the time of day and the position of the sun.
The Picture is taken at a vineyard just down the road from home and is growing in a position where it gets the full forc
e of the southerly winds,its roots are in poor soil with not much moisture just a little shade from the shelter belt that it is growing under yet every year puts on an amazing display of bloom.
DOB is seen blooming a lot in older stately gardens of the Wairarapa

Checklist 1939
DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss 1922) TB E B1D (Dominion X E. H. Jenkins?)

Description from Rainbow Fragments, J Marion Shull published 1931 page 200

DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss 1922) A velvety deep purple bicolor.

Excellence..In color, form, and size
Color...........Notable for strenght and depth rather than brilliance.
Form...........Rounded, of good proportions
Standards...Erect to arching;Dull bluish violet
Falls.............Drooping; Velvety prune purple
Haft............Broad; darkly veined but not conspicuous
Beard..........Dense; White with yellow tips to orange in throat
Fragrance..Moderate, suggestive of vanilla
Spathes......Purpled green; scarious at tip
Foliage........Broad and stiff; medium green
Growth.......Vigorous with good increase
Stalk...........Erect, well branched to 3 feet
Bloom.........Moderately free
Time...........Mid Season
Remarks....A fine flower said to be of Dominion parentage but showing no indication of such a relationship in its form

Irises Catalogue 1931

DUKE OF BEDFORD (Illustrated on the front page of Cover)
A magnificent Iris of the Dominion Race, with typically large well formed flowers of great substance.The Standards are a rich violet and the Falls a much deeper tone, almost black purple in certain lights with reddish sheen under violet veins. In common with others in this race it possesses a wonderful velvety texture in the falls. Mid Season ; 3ft
We are offering this Iris at a special low price (nett): 10/6

And this description just sent to me by Gesine Lohr an Iris friend of mine who I am told has an amazing collection of old Iris

IRISES 1926 Descriptive List Lee R. Bonnewitz, Van Wert, OHIO
DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss)--- Dominion Seedling…….$15.00
S. deep violet; F. of a far deeper tone, almost black purple in certain lights, with a reddish sheen under violet veins. General effect deep violet with a shade of red throughout. It inherits the velvety texture common to the Dominion seedlings. Some Iris experts consider this the very best of the Dominion race. Only a few rhizomes for sale this year

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hi, Hello, and How are You Today


First blog post

I have set up this blog to help promote Historic Irises in New Zealand without the baggage of belonging to a New Zealand Iris Society.
I will be closing my Yahoo NZHISTORICIRIS Site as I consider this to be a better format
I will try and post weekly with interesting stories of Irises growing in great Gardens in New Zealand.
I collect the irises of Jean Stevens of which I grow about 35 different varieties of her introductions plus about 25 Irises that have yet to have their ID confirmed but I consider to be from the JS breeding lines.For more information on Jean go to Dictionary of New Zealand
I Consider Jean as New Zealand's premier International Hybridiser but not so much is known about her within New Zealand yet she is still highly regarded overseas.
Historic Tall Bearded Irises grow well in all parts of New Zealand and are well worth growing.

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