Saturday, December 24, 2011

Heritage Irises 2011 Year in Review


HERITAGE IRISES has been around in the blogosphere for over four years now and its hard to imagine my life without it. (sad huh).

The bloom season for me in 2011 was erratic and many New Zealand growers reported a bloom season that came late by 2 weeks. At home, not only was it late, it all came at the same time for the Standard Dwarf Bearded and Intermediates, Dutch and English Irises and early flowering Tall Bearded. Then the strong Nor-westerly winds of up to 140 kph wasted the iris bloom several times during the season, and about half the Irises did not bloom at all, so all and all a disappointing bloom season.

'Heritage Irises' measured success and the many Google #1 page ranks it has received for subject matter has been achieved without links from Iris Societies web sites making visitor numbers accurate and avoiding 'Iris Churn' also Google does not track my own page views. Referring sites are almost all search engines.

The Internet is not the "be-all-and-end-all", nor is it going to be, it's a telephone party line, a broadcasting medium, an Archive, a Library, a Botanical Garden, a Public Park and the Garden Centre. Sure, it puts a digital spin on each of those things, but it's fundamentally the same, not fundamentally different. I don't have, facebook, twotter, squidly or any other of the try hard so called 'social media' bunk, if you want social networking, go to a cocktail party, a community barbecue, a street party, or try and overthrow a government.

My awards this year are somewhat like the 2011 European Economy, on negative watch sprinkled with a small amount of positive.

Time for the Awards

BEST IRIS PUBLICATION, Bulletin or Journal for 2011 (That I receive, and I receive a few) goes to 'Tall Talk,' for its 'Content', 'Content' and wait for it,'Content'. Its a great read. Now I do not want to encourage another deluge of emails on this subject but, 'Just how is it that there seems to be more content in some Commercial Growers Catalogue's than in some Official Iris Societies Bulletins???'

MY 'I DONT THINK SO AWARD' for 2011 was a copy of a report sent to me regarding a Iris Website which included the following point of interest, "If the society were to pay for a site like this it would be spending between $5,000.00- $10,000.00". Now having visited the said Web Site I cannot see where one thousand dollars could have possibly been spent on it let alone ten times the quoted value. Web Sites are so Static and when will some web-masters get to understand that unless its new and informative and current, visitor numbers will just fade away.

THE 'LETS COMPLAIN SOME MORE AWARD' goes to a editorial comment which is a bit of an old chestnut actually, and no doubt you have heard it before. It goes something like this, "send more information and photos after all this is your bulletin blah blah blah." I always smile when I read these articles and you may hear me mumble "What's the big deal??? Write a Blog you have to do it all yourself !!!"

THE IRIS LIKEJACKING AWARD for Tricking users of a social media site, especially on Facebook, activated by clicking a “like,” “fave” or “thumbs up” button goes to the AIS Facebook Page. To view the American Iris Society Facebook pages the Welcome page message currently reads "The American Iris Society. Please click, "Like," above, to get started, then go to the Wall tab to browse around. Thank you for visiting."
 Just how do you know you are going to like it?? you haven't seen anything yet !!!!! They count these 'likes' as members!! Gives the facebook page a 'Please like me I'm really desperate' look.(Almost got my 'Worst of the Worst' award as well)

WORST OF THE WORST AWARD, goes to selling Irises on the internet for a 'Trade Me' listing of a common garden Iris Pallida hybrid listed as "One (1) Rare Spring Flower Lilac Blue Bearded Iris" I mean what is rare about it?? not sure if it is just a selling point or the seller needs to get out more often or just lives in a plain old fantasy world. The majority of Iris listings on Trade Me are most likely to be genuine but sellers who use photos that are not theirs to use (Its Called Theft) always makes me think that maybe the iris they are selling is not what they say it is, and after all the purchaser is going to have to wait until next bloom season to see if they are genuine or not, why take the risk!!! It never ceases to amaze me the amount of coin some people spend purchasing Irises on 'Trade Me' when they could buy the same Iris for many dollars less from a Commercial Grower and in most cases get a better rhizome with a guaranteed name.

MY 'RECOVERING LUDDITE FOR 2011' would have to go to a Publicity Chair who recently labelled members without a computer as "Internet Challenged" and insulting the members who made observations regarding the error of his ways by informing them that "complaining is their art form not producing results".

Reading the latest NZ iris clubs 2011 booklet, (I do this so that you don't have to.) the club has lost its editor and does not have a replacement, so potentially there will be no publication, and will anyone be sure if the membership will notice.
While we are on the subject of the NZ iris club I received anonymously in the mail a few days ago a complete set of the last seven years of NZ iris club booklets. My first thought was that I could wrap them up for the office Secret Santa, but that just seemed a bit cruel for the potential recipient. It took me awhile, but I figured that they where sent to me as a sort of 'Chain Booklet' so I added the years 2001 to 2002 to the parcel and sent them on to someone I am sure firmly believes that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden and so its quite possible that he might try and see some merit in the parcels contents, but I'm not holding my breath.

 Anyway Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks for your visits to the blog, for your understanding when I have my rants and raves, thanks to the comment makers, also to those who don't comment but often visit to read, Thanks to the Worlds Iris Hybridisers both past and present for whom I have the utmost respect,to the contributors of Photos, and also to the International readers and contributors.

All the Very best for 2012 and may your New Year be full of family, Irises, laughter and love.
See you later and thanks for 2011.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tall Bearded Heirloom Iris "EASTER BONNET"

Bred by Luke Norton and Alexander Maxwell both of Yakima Washington, "Easter Bonnet" is a no fuss heirloom iris I found in a paddock growing alongside an old dilapidated house that is still been used for storing hay, it was fighting for survival amongst the tall grass an indication of its will to survive. Sun fast flowers on tall branched stems, with high health glaucous green foliage. It's a sixty eight year old Iris, that inherited its classic form from both its classy parents, the pod parent bred by Dr P.A.Loomis' is the large rose-pink self, "Morocco Rose" this was crossed with "Alastor" the deep cyclamen pink with an underlay of gold bred by R.E Spender who was the Editor of the Iris Year Book (BIS) 1932-1939, and also co-authored the book,' Iris Culture for Amateurs' (Country Life Ltd,1937).

Often photos of Easter Bonnet are sent to me enquiring if it is a lost "Jean Stevens" iris which it obviously is not, but I have no doubt she would have been very proud to raise it.
 A bright and elegant historic Iris that you’ll find yourself drawn back to time and time again.

From National Iris Gardens 33rd. Catalog 1949
EASTER BONNET (Maxwell 1946) M. 38" H.M. A.I.S. 1946 : Put on your Easter Bonnet with the bands of gold upon it! Truly a beautiful blush pink with an unbelievable gold band on both standards and falls. A must have for the unusual. $3.00

Tell Iris Gardens Iris Catalog and Hybridizers Handbook 1951
EASTER BONNET (Maxwell-Norton,1944) M (Morocco Rose' X 'Alastor) Rodenite pink edged gold. H.M.46. $1.00

From Lyon's Irisland Catalog 1951

EASTER BONNET (Maxwell 1946) An enticing color, rhodenite pink, bordered with a half-inch margin of burnished gold on both the standards and the falls. A golden flush to the heart of the flower combines with a gold beard to make this startling new color combination very attractive. Mid-season. 36". $2.00

AIS Checklist 1949
EASTER BONNET (Maxwell-Norton, R. 1943). TB, 40", L.S7M, Morocco Rose X Alastor. Maxwell & Norton 1943. HM A.I.S. 1946

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tall Bearded Iris "LUNAR FIRE"

American Iris breeder Dave Hall was renown for his breeding of irises with tangerine beards. 20 years after he introduced his first flamingo pinks with tangerine beards  'Lunar Fire' was introduced. It's a beautiful flower, good substance and very full, the petals are just slightly laced at the edges, and of medium size when compared to more modern irises. The colour is best described as pale apricot with tangerine red beards. Height is 90 cm or 36 inches with average branching. Grows well at home with moderate increase but can sometimes miss a bloom season. A solid and stunning coloured Historic Iris which was sold until recently commercially in New Zealand, I purchase my plants  in 2006.

 AIS Checklist
LUNAR FIRE    (D. Hall, R. 1963). Sdlg. 59-107. TB 36" M. YO5.    Golden amber self. From two yellow sdlgs., Cooley 1963. HM 1964.

Gilbert H. Wild and Son. Inc. An Outstanding Selection of Quality Peonies- Iris- Daylilies
LUNAR FIRE (Hall 1963)
36in. A big spreading lace-edged flower of golden amber hues, the sharply contrasting beard a blazing tangerine red. In addition to form and size it has petals of extra heavy thickness and very stout well branched stems.H.M. 1964

Courtesy Cooley's Iris Gardens

Cooley's Gardens catalog for 1963
 Featured in color on our cover. . . . a big, spreading, lace-edged flower of golden amber hues, the sharply contrasting beard a blazing tangerine red. Dave Hall worked for years breeding this series and this one has been singled out as superior to all its kinfolk. In addition to form and size it has petals of extra heavy thickness and very stout well-branched stems. No. 59-107 . Each $25.00"

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

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New Zealand Iris Grower "Mossburn Iris Gardens"

Mossburn Iris Gardens
P.O.Box 96, Mossburn
Phone/Fax 03 2486373
After receiving the Lucy Delany Award in 2010, the Standard Dwarf  Bearded Iris 'Alamosa' featured on this years catalogue cover received a Highly Commended award at the New Zealand Iris society Convention 2011. This years catalogue introductions are HENHAM, KIM MAREE, KINKAID, and SAY SO, four new SDB registered by Noel Lapham.
 The cold climate of the gardens, produce Medium Size rhizomes which are of good health.  Irises purchased from 'Mossburn Iris Gardens' will adapt well to growing in your garden wherever it is located in NZ. Prices are competitive. Catalogue lists a good selection of Miniature, Standard, Border, Intermediate, and Tall bearded Irises, manly modern irises and of course the introductions of Noel Lapham. I have featured Noel's outstanding introduction 'Prize Lady'  in an earlier post.
Bev and Noel Lapham are the owners of Mossburn Iris Garden, Southland, who are good to deal with and answer emails generally within 24 hours.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011


Catching the early morning sun, nearly said it all!!!! Visitors to the blog know I have a strong affection for Broken Colour Irises and 'MILLENNIUM FALCON' would have to take the cake, it is an extraordinary strong Iris that ticks all the boxes. Anyway I could wax lyrical regarding this Iris but, the master of reviews 'Perry Dyer' writing in his CONTEMPORARY VIEWS – 2002 already beat me to the punch and it is his compendious point of view that I have copied for you all below.

'The 9-1-1 AWARD is given to the New Iris that is, in my opinion, the most significant hybridizing achievement or color break, of the varieties I have seen. It was hard to put one above another this year, as far as impact and importance are concerned. But finally, I gave the nod to MILLENNIUM FALCON (Kasperek 2000), a choice Color Breaker of the highest quality. I would say this is the culmination of the intense dedicated work Brad has done in this style of iris, but I won’t, because I expect great, festive things from him for years to come! Even if you have snubbed Color Breakers as “freaks”, and wouldn’t dare consider “lowering your standards” to support (translation: VOTE) for one of these things, well, you’re just gonna have to get over it! Millennium Falcon has all the poise and sophistication of the best of the “non-spashers” (!), and is a complete package, with strong plant habits, consistent growth, resistance to adverse weather conditions, flowers with broad, architecturally sound form, and that all-important quality – PERSONALITY. It is basically a neglecta, with light blue standards with a touch of lavender in their makeup and elegant white streaking, and rich royal blue falls with the white streaking with a bit more intensity.'

Say's it all don't you think!!!

AIS Checklist 1999
MILLENNIUM FALCON (Brad Kasperek, registered 1998) Seedling 94B-23C. TB, height 38" (97 cm), mid season bloom. Standards light wistaria blue (RHS 92A), silver white (155D) streaks; style arms violet blue; falls rich royal blue (89B), silver white streaks; beards orange, hairs tipped blue; broken color pattern; ruffled; slight fragrance. 'Gnus Flash' X 92B-49Z: ('Batik' x 89B-42E: ('Rustic Dance' x 'Maria Tormena')). Zebra 2000. Honorable Mention 2002, Award of Merit 2004, Wister Medal 2008.

Zebra Gardens is t
he Hybridiser Brad Kasperek web site, and displays all his exciting new releases 

Selling this year in New Zealand at 'Amazing Iris Garden'

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

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