Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Zealand Heirloom Tall Bearded Iris "WYCHNOR"

It may be interesting to some perhaps that the New Zealand heirloom iris 'Wychnor' was thought to be registered for decades, but when researching New Zealand iris history I found this to be not the case. A couple of days ago I dug out the file on 'Wychnor' and included were the toing and froing of correspondence by emails to John Vickers advising him of this oversight prior to John thoughtfully registering the iris in 2006.

A white garden Iris which displays a lot of the colourations of 'Purissima'. Strong grower with flax green foliage, buds display a bluish tinge before opening. Flowers are large and well proportioned, standards are white, falls white with a cream centre and soft light green veining with olive gold striations on the hafts. The underside of the falls shows an olive green midline. A cross of the Morh-Mitchell White 'Purrissima' with Jean Stevens creamy yellow 'New Dawn'.
The hybridiser Pattie Levett lived with her sister Olga at the Levett family homestead "Beccles" in a small town called Bulls, in the North Island of New Zealand. Daughters of Mrs E Levett (Nina), the sisters never married. 'Beccles' was one of the earliest New Zealand gardens to grow Irises that Mrs Levett imported mainly from Germany at the turn of the twentieth century creating a unique collection of irises. Bulls is also where Jean and Wally Stevens started out growing Irises together just after their marriage in 1935. The Steven's Bros. Nursery introduced Miss Levett Irises.
This iris is a piece of 'New Zealand history plus' was kindly sent to me by John Vickers and is sourced from the Levett garden. I have grown on some additional Rhizomes which will be sent to Massey University for planting in their grounds early next year.

Steven's Bros. catalogue for 1946-47
WYCHNOR (Levett)
An Excellent pure white of clean cut rounded form and remarkable substance. Of largest size, the flowers have that new quality of clean even texture we are coming to associate with the newest irises. Very free flowering and an excellent doer. 3½ ft.

New Zealand Hybridisers Checklist
WYCHNOR Pattie F. Levett deceased, by John Vickers, Reg., 2006.TB, 41″, (103cm) L. Pure white self, cream around beard, soft grey-green veining on hafts; beards white at end cream in middle, gold in throat; slight fragrance. Purissima X New Dawn. Stevens Bros. Wanganui 1946-47

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter


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