Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Iris Re-Christened SUNSET, The Garden 1922.

Below is the story of the Iris Re-Christened Iris Sunset. It is as relevant today as when first published in 1922.

June 17, 1922.
Iris ochracea-coerulea. A very delightful Iris. The standards are copper coloured and the falls have brown reticulations with a yellow base.
The blade is bluish, shading to copper. Award of Merit. This variety was raised by Mr. Denis of Balaruc-les-Bains and shown by Mr. W. R. Dykes.

June 24, 1922.
The richly if somberly tinted Sunset, also illustrated, also marks a notable advance. It received a well deserved award of merit at the recent Iris Show under the clumsy name I. ochracea-coerulea. Very free flowering and an excellent grower, its good form the picture will attest. It is, we understand, to be distributed this autumn by Messrs. G. G. Whitelegg and Co.

July 8, 1922.
AT the Iris Conference held at the R.H.S meeting on June 7 one of the points raised was the desirability of the regulation of Iris names. This was emphatically advocated by almost every speaker. Mr. Dykes, Mr.Wister, M. Mottet and others agreed that the duplication of names was to be strongly deprecated, and various suggestions were made for the purpose of ensuring that in the future no new Iris should be sent out under a name that has already been used. The American Iris Society have compiled a list of names under which Irises have been distributed from time to time, and it was proposed that the English and French raisers should so far as possible consult this list and make it a basis of a permanent record, so that duplication should not occur in the future. On opening The Garden for June 24 the necessity for some such arrangement becomes very apparent.
In 1914 we received at Colchester some plants from M. Denis of Balaruc-les-Bains under the name Iris Ochracea-coerulea. This variety was shown by Mr. W. R. Dykes on June 7 and received the award of merit. According to 'The Garden', someone has now decided to rechristen this variety " Sunset." In the first place, has anyone other than the raiser any authority for altering the name given by him to one of his productions ? Secondly, if it was considered necessary to alter the name, surely some suggestion would be made by the Floral Committee of the R.H.S. when considering the flower for award, and the natural course would be for them to certificate the plant on its merits with the suggestion that the raiser be consulted regarding the alteration of the name. As far as one can gather, no suggestion of this sort was made. Thirdly, on referring to the Check List published by the American Iris Society, I find there is already an Iris registered by the Society under the name of Sunset. If therefore this Iris, after having been in existence in English gardens for eight years as Ochracea-coerulea and having been certificated by the R.H.S. under that name, is now to have this name changed in such a casual manner, nothing but confusion can be the result, especially if the substituted name is that of another Iris already in cultivation. It is certain that some firms will adhere to the only name to which it is at present entitled, and we shall therefore have this variety being distributed to the public under two distinct names, one of which is already borne by another variety.
There is also a slightly misleading statement in the same issue of The Garden, namely, that it is " to be distributed this autumn." As it was in cultivation in England in 1914 and registered by the American Iris Society as having been distributed in 1919, this statement is a little misleading.
Certainly Ochracea-coerulea is cumbersome and somewhat misleading. The first thought it conveys to one hearing the name for the first time without seeing the plant is that it may have something to do with two species or varieties that have nothing to do with the section to which it belongs. For instance, Baker gives the variety Ochracea of Regel as a form of I. iberica. I notice even the American Iris Society seems to have lost sight of this fact, as it has registered the name of this tall bearded variety in its " standardised plant names " as Ochracea. It may be that in the effort of the Society to eliminate double-barrelled names it has unconsciously erred in the duplication of varieties under the same name.
Certainly something definite and authoritative would seem to be necessary, and if the name is to be altered it should be done in such a way that the new name can be universally accepted as correct. In the meantime we have only one authoritative name for it, and that is the one under which it was certificated by the R.H.S. and introduced by the raiser. 

George Dillistone.

CORRESPONDENCE, July 22, 1922.
OUR attention has been drawn to a letter appearing in your issue of July 8 over the signature " George Dillistone," criticising our action in giving "the supplementary name " Sunset " to M. Denis' beautiful Iris Ochracea-coerulea.
We think it is desirable to state that Mr. George  Dillistone is a member -we believe a director - of the firm of R. Wallace and Co., Limited, of Tunbridge Wells. A few of your readers may he aware of this, but the majority probably are not, and we draw attention to the fact because we will not be drawn into a controversy with a trade competitor in the – columns of the amateur gardening press ; it would be neither interesting nor edifying to your readers.
We wish to say that those of your readers who are interested in this matter will, we think, be quite satisfied with the manner in which we have dealt with Iris Ochracea-coerulea in our Iris catalogue if they will be good enough to refer to this publication.
We must also add that, so far as we are aware, "this Iris has never been offered to the public in any Iris catalogue hitherto published in this country, on the Continent, or in America, and that if we should have stated at any time that we are distributing it this season, we should have been perfectly justified in doing so. Further, the name " Sunset " has not previously been appropriated for any other variety in any Iris catalogue with which we are familiar, nor does it appear in the American Iris Society's List of Irises (at any rate, not in our copy), as stated by Mr. Dillistone, and we have every right to use it as a supplementary name. Our reasons for doing so are sufficiently obvious and well founded.
We have never willingly misled our customers with regard to any matter in connection with the plants we sell, and we are not doing so in this case.
G. G. Whitelegg & Co.

CORRESPONDENCE, July 29, 1922.
WHY Messrs. G. G. Whitelegg and Co. should consider it necessary to " broadcast " the news that I am associated with the firm of R. Wallace and Co., Limited, I do not know, after fifteen years connexion with that firm it would be hopeless for me to prove an alibi, even if that association were a crime. In any case, if it is a crime, I am proud to be able to plead guilty.
With reference to the remark about the manner in which they have dealt with Iris Ochracea-coerulea in their Iris catalogue, I have no doubt that this is quite satisfactory. In any case it is a matter of indifference to me. Reference to my notes on this question must convince everyone interested that nothing that I have written was intended to cast an aspersion on either their commercial integrity or business procedure. I have the highest opinion of both.
One point, however, in the letter that does concern me is the accusation of my lack of veracity,and this I am compelled to deal with.
They say : " This Iris has never been offered in any Iris catalogue hitherto published in this country, on the Continent, or in America." One example will be sufficient. I have before me two successive editions of the catalogue of Messrs. Millet et Fils, a French firm of some considerable standing, and in both I find the following ; in the second edition the page is 13 :

"OCHRACEA-COERULEA (Denis) très tàrdif, jaune citron et mauve lilacè, violet cobée, coloris original " (followed by price).

The next statement made in their letter is that " the name Sunset has not previously been appropriated for any other variety in any Iris catalogue with which we are familiar, nor does it appear in the American Iris Society's List of Irises," etc. I do not know which edition of the Iris Check List they possess, but in the copy that I have before me, on page 34, in the second column, the thirteenth name down the list is Sunset T. B.
With reference to their concluding remark in this paragraph. They have the indisputable right to name any number of different plants with the name " Sunset " if they wish to do so ; whether it is wise or conducive to the avoidance of complications is another matter.
  I might point out that, in addition to being registered in America among the varieties in commerce in 1919, see Iris Check List, page 18, column I, thirteenth name down the list (curious how this 13 recurs), and having been certificated in London, it has also been certificated by the Society Nationale Horticole de France under the name Ochracea-coerulea. This latter award had escaped my notice when writing previously.
Thanking you in anticipation for your courtesy. -
George Dillistone (of R. Wallace and Co., Limited, Tunbridge Wells)


A blue Iris with a orange beard was sold in America as 'SUNSET' as well. 

AIS Checklist 1939 listed the many versions of SUNSET as follows ;

SUNSET Span-S6L ; Barr, 1898.
SUNSET TB ; W.J. Cararne, 1901.
SUNSET Eng. B9L ; J. Backhouse,1902.
SUNSET TB ; A. Bliss
SUNSET Jap-Dbl-7RD ; Elliot Nursery, Pittsburgh,1926.

Today the AIS Irisregister E Database states
SUNSET No description available for most 1939 & 1949 registrations.

As you can see above  incorrect listings of Irises are an age old problem and today you can still find Irises being sold with names like 'Kerry's Red', 'Dulldoug' or 'Junes Pink' which can lead to problems in later years. At times to ID irises can seem like beating a dead snake.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Siberian Iris SNOW QUEEN

Not sure how the Siberian Iris Society came up with the 18 inches (46cm) height of Snow Queen as it grows 6-8 inches taller than their checklist height and small flowers are reported by HIP in their photo galleries, which most other catalogue listings would indicate small is not a great bloom size description. The 1939 Checklist show a listing for 'Snow Queen' as a Illustration in 'The Garden'  28th July, 1917, page 298, so I have taken this opportunity to show the image as referred, it accompanied an article written by Robert Wallace of Robert W. Wallace & Co. nurserymen, specialist in Irises for many years. I will see if I can dig out the Wallace catalogue of 1902 and look up the listing and see what it says, (I will post this at a latter date).
'Snow Queen' a natural hybrid of  I. sanguinea and is an exceptionally nice example of a historic Siberian Iris. Clumps up quickly, and becomes a welcome addition to any classic or modern garden.

Courtesy 'The Garden', 28th July, 1917.

 The Garden, 28th July, 1917.
June in a Devon Garden, A Garden of Little-Known Shrubs and Hardy Plants, Robert W. Wallace.
COVERING about an acre, the interesting garden of Mr. Eden Phillpotts, the famous Devon novelist, contains within its walls an unusually fine collection of little-known trees, flowering shrubs and plants........................................................
On a slightly lower level a new pond has been prepared, into which, with great care and interest has been placed the greatest of all Water Lilies — the glorious ruby 'Escarboucle' — and as a companion 'Mrs. Richmond', with its magnificent flowers of soft pink. I do not think there are any two finer Water Lilies than these. Again, beyond these in the surmounting beds are masses of Iris orientalis and Snow Queen in a happy contrast, while Primulas and a host of other moisture-loving subjects are planted in close proximity, including the new golden yellow Marsh Primrose.

Robert Wayman, Bayside, New York. Irises 193
SNOW QUEEN Collected By Peter Barr 1900) this is a very handsome snowy white flower, with rich yellow markings at the throat. It is large enough to be mistaken for a Japanese Iris and is very free flowering. The flower is of a firm waxy texture. It is the best white and should be in every collection.
50c each ; 3 for $1.25 ; 6 for $2.00 ; 100 for $25.00.

The Society for Siberian Irises.
Cumulative Check List of Siberian Irises, 2006.
SNOW QUEEN Collected By Peter Barr Listed 1900 Collected in Japan SIB (dip.) (18" 46 cm) M & re White form of  I. sanguinea.   Peter Barr 1900 AM: RHS: 1902

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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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Iris Evansia, Iris Japonica, Crested Iris, FAIRYLAND

Dainty white speckled florets smother this plant making a truly welcome display that starts in late winter and continues until the Tall Bearded Iris. Flowers are listed as in the checklist as B7 (Pink to Red toned self) which is just so completely wide of the mark. This plant has smaller growing sword like glossy green leaves, has no canes but sheathed stolons spread from plants traveling close to the surface quickly establish new plants that lead to form a large clump. In New Zealand  'Fairyland' grows best in semi shade as our harsh sun tends to badly burn the leaves. Registered by James C. Stevens of New York and introduced by Samuel Berry of Redlands, Southern California, who specialised in species Iris. My 'Fairyland' plant was gifted to me by Mary Richardson of Upper Hutt, whose garden is just full of New Zealand Iris History and also pleasantly packed with Iridaceae bulbs that put on a bold complementary display in the spring and early summer.

IRISES, A Gardener's Encyclopedia, Claire Austin.
Iris japonica
This short, spreading plant bears white flowers on upright stems. Height 30cm (12in.) Parentage I. Uwodu X (an American form) X  I. confusa.

AIS Checklist 1939
FAIRYLAND James C. Stevens, Reg 1936  Evansia. Ev.-E-B7 L  I. uwodu X I. confusa. J C Stevens 1936.

As usual, clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bearded Historic Iris GYPSY QUEEN

I was given this iris from the owner of a large Estate which has magnificent gardens in the year 2006 as an 'Iris of Antiquity' and was first recorded as growing in these gardens in 1896.
The 1904 H C Gibbons Bulb Catalogue, Hutt Valley Nurseries, Upper Hutt, is the earliest cataloguing I could find in a New Zealand plant nursery and the iris was listed as HAMLET which is a synonym for Gypsy Queen. (See 1939 Checklist description below) Adding to this the first time 'Gypsy Queen' bloomed at home in 2007, identification was complicated as  'The Historic Iris Society' had a completely different variety of an iris displayed on their web site as 'Gypsy Queen', the 1929 AIS Checklist listed Gypsy Queen as a Tall Bearded, then the 1939 AIS Checklist changed its classification to a Intermediate Bearded Iris. Now for an Iris that flower height is 76-91 cm (30"-36") and its bloom period is toward the end of the Tall Bearded Iris season and these two facts took 'Gypsy Queen' well outside the Intermediate Iris classification. Today it would most likely
be classified as a Miniature Tall Bearded Iris or 'Table Iris' as I still like to call them. Then to really throw a spanner in the works a New Zealander in 2005 recklessly renamed 'Gypsy Queen' (At the time a iris with lost label) and registered it as 'Braemar Station'. One of the great evils of antique irising is the application of entirely new names to existing cultivars.
 All of the above led to confusion with many people, making 'Gypsy Queen' one of the most complicated
conformation of an Iris ID I have ever been involved in. 

Gypsy Queen standards are open and coloured old gold that has been airbrushed with a smoky rose tone, inside the bottom of the standards colours are lemon lime with purple maroon veining. Style arms yellow with greyed centres.  Falls are white tinged yellow at haft and edges, heavily veined deep red-purple confluent to solid black; beards white deepening to old gold, mild citrus fragrance. Nice clean foliage with a nice level of Purple bottom foliage. This iris was one of the parents Fryer used in his hybridising, and its imprint is seen in W. J. Fryer and Kathryn Fryer.

 H. C. Gibbons & Co.,Hutt Valley Nurseries,Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand. Bulb Catalogue 1904.
amlet Standards and Falls straw and peuce, dark veins.

Biltmore Nursery, Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, The Iris Catalog, 1911
Gypsy Queen. Still another unusual and welcome blending of rich colors is found in this meritorious variety. Standards are of golden hue shaded with smoked pearl, and the falls are dark maroon with delicate tracings of pale yellow. It blooms late.

The Dean lris Gardens, Moneta, California.The Iris 1916.
SQUALENS GROUP The standards are clouded shades of copper,bronze and fawn.
Gypsy Queen (syn. La Prestigieuse). S. old gold, shaded smoked pearl; F. black-maroon, reticulated light yellow. Each, 25c.

Farr's Hardy Plant Specialities, Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.Seventh Edition 1922.
SQUALENS GROUP The standards are clouded shades of copper,bronze and fawn.
GYPSY QUEEN (syn. La Prestigieuse). S. old gold, shaded smoked-pearl; F. black-maroon, reticulated light yellow; late bloomer. 2 ft.

A.B. Katkamier, Macedon, New York. Hints to Pleasure and to Profit in Growing the Iris, 1931.
Gypsie Queen; Honey yellow : Black maroon. Tall. Strong.

Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, Austin W. Sand, 1925.
Gypsy Queen (Salter before 1859) 
Color effect an old gold, velvety maroon veined bicolor.Standards honey yellow to old gold much undulated. Falls velvety maroon-brown to blackish brown , distinctly  veined to a point one-half inch from the end of the blade. The edge blends yellow to old gold on the haft. Occasional lavender or cream white flecks occur on the blade. This plant is a vigorous grower, and has stiff, slender, deep green  foliage, tinged purple at the base. The flower spikes are tall and well and widely branched.It is very late bloom, its dull color combinations like those found in the Cypripedium orchid and its early history,being a parent of the variegata groups, make it still worthy of selection.

1939 AIS Checklist
GYPSY QUEEN IB-MLa-S6M John Salter before 1859 Floricultural Cabinet and Florist Magazine 29 172 June 1859: L'Illustration Horticole 40: tab 182 1893%%. The Garden Chronicle 14th July 1899; Farr, 1912; Francis 1920; Bonnnewitz, 1920; A.B. Katkamier 1939; Journal Royal Horticultural Society January 1928 page 146 Trials; germanica gypsea; Hamlet; La Prestigieuse; Queen of Gipsies; Reine des Fees; Reine des Pays; Virgil (Lovett); Gypsie Queen; 

Note: The above checklist notation L'Illustration Horticole 40: tab 182 1893 %% is another of the early checklist anomalies as the L'Illustration Horticole published full page colour plate image of Iris Germanica var. Gypsea which shows a white coloured Iris that has all the appearances of a Florentina hybrid of sorts. The percent sign (%) is the symbol used in the 1929 and 1939 Checklist to indicate % -Illustrated and %%- Colour Plate.

Perhaps the very, very small group of people within 'The Historic Iris Preservation Society' who are currently embarking on a campaign to 'call out' iris growers who are growing and displaying images of what is now known as 'The fake Gypsy Queen' should be mindful of the fact that HIPS photos at a time 'not so long ago' were also stating the so called 'The fake Gypsy Queen' was the real deal and at that time 
these gardeners could have used HIPS as an authoritative means to identify their Iris!!! 'Pot calling kettle black'??

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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Saturday, December 7, 2013


The Garden Chronicle November 30th. 1901

This addition to the race of early spring flowering Irises is the result of many years of experiment in hybridising Irises, undertaken, in so far as the plants of this section of Iris is concerned, with a view to the improvement of that very promising little group of dwarf bearded Iris which are the first of all the rhizomatous Irises to bloom in the spring, and are included under the names of biflorus, Chamæiris, Olbiensis, pumila, &c., which have one or two variety names to add to their list, but were still very limited both in number and an the range of colour they presented, having nothing of the gorgeousness that the numerous varieties of tall bearded or " Flag " Irises had accustomed us to connect with the word Iris. 'This lack of variety in colour was a considerable bar to any chance of popularity they otherwise deserved — and that they did deserve it was evident from their many other qualities: their freedom in blooming, their acceptance of and delight in a windy, exposed position, where other plants could not thrive; their hardiness, and power to withstand extremes of weather, flourishing on a dry bank where grass was unhappy, and being withal, at every season of the year, neat and cheerful-looking plants, with a pleasant contrast of character in their foliage to all other plants in the border, looking after themselves for the most part, and satisfied with an occasional clean up of weeds and dead leaves, happy in the privilege of being let alone.
Questions which had to be considered at the outset were : What should be done to impart new colours, and to improve the old? Would Nature herself do it by simple intercrossing? Was the artist's pigment theory one that might be reasonably expected to act? or was the scientist with the spectrum right ? for very queer things arise from the admixture of spectrum colours to the eye of Art, and that Nature herself was perfectly independent of any calculations on the matter was evident from the way she produces brilliant scarlet, as in the Pelargonium, &c., when a pure white opaque ground is covered with a thin skin of dingy, semitransparent material which works the miracle — one could not hope to even remotely follow.

However Art stuck to its colours, and the event proved reliable, the pure whites must be set to the credit of Nature alone, and both the yellows, the purples and blues shaded with these as was expected through Art experience. Crimsons, rich yellows, and bronzes had their rudiments in plants of species which were either wholly new, or had been previously unobtainable ; and to whose aid I was, as must be surmised, entirely dependent upon the liberality, kindness, and interest of Sir Michael Foster. With these new means at hand the possibilities of success were greatly forwarded. Many things which had previously seemed hopeless became accomplished facts, though not all at once visible, for Iris raising is a matter of many years' patience, and many pleasant surprises began to arrive.


To describe the Irises which are the result of this inter-crossing of species, which, as regarded their parents, hail from all the alpine and sub-alpine districts of Europe, I have ventured to call them hybrid alpine Iris. One must say that they are rhizomatous plants, with practically evergreen leaves, four or live to a tuft, thin, flat, sword or sickle-shaped, 3 or 4 inches long at flowering-time, afterwards prolonged to 6 or 8 inches, and from half an inch to 1 inch wide, growing out towards the end of the rhizome on all sides, so that the tendency of the plant is to form a circular patch. The flowers are produced in early spring, as soon as the weather breaks and will allow of growth to be made, upon stiff, succulent stalks, which enable them to remain fresh for a long time without water after being cut, and standing from 4 to 8 inches, or in the tallest, 10 inches in height. The flowers are large, often larger than the plant which produces them, and are of similar shape to the German or summer-flowering Iris, with three upright petals, the standards, which in some of the varieties, however, lay flat open, and expose the 3-petaloid styles to view; the three lower petals, or falls, are pendent, sometimes contracted and tucked in, so to speak, and they all have a more or less conspicuous white, primrose-yellow, rich orange, or blue beard.


In colour they range from the purest of white selfs, white standards and cream or yellow falls, white and blue, white and violet and purple, each being white, yellow or orange bearded ; primrose-yellow self, cream and canary-yellow to rich yellow, with conspicuous orange-scarlet beard ; blues from the palest porcelain to deep blue-purple, lavender, violet-purple and crimson self, and bronze and almost black. These, with many changes of smooth or folded petals, long or round, plain, unmarked, or covered with lines, dots, and tracery, make up a sufficiently varied amount of combination and change to please a fastidious taste, and all of them together maintaining a constant relay and succession of flowers from very earliest spring to the end of April or early in May. Indeed, if the weather is mild, they will begin during October, November or December to throw up fitfully one or two flowers.


They have proved a welcome addition to greenhouse (either slightly heated or cold) decoration, they occupy but little space in small pans or 3-inch pots ; and if in clumps larger sizes may be used, but they require very little soil whilst in pots, and are very impatient of much water until growth has well set in, so that it is best to err on the safe side.
If grown in quantity for cutting, shallow boxes are equally satisfactory. In heat they will bloom from January to the end of March ; in a cold-house they commence early in March or end of February, and continue through to April. In all cases plenty of air should be given, especially when in bloom ; for if in a close, stuffy temperature, a minute fungus besprinkles both the petals and leaves, and the remedy is, of course, ventilation. They do not make satisfactory growth in pots, pans, or boxes, and so they should be hardened off and replanted in the open ground as soon as the weather will permit, for it must be remembered that they are hardy plants, accustomed to a rigorous climate.


A free, rather gritty soil is perhaps the best, and provided there is no stagnant moisture about, they are not exacting ; they have thriven in a stiff clay in a windy, exposed, and
sunburnt situation, and in ordinary garden loam. Their roots are voracious feeders, and quickly interlace in all directions where the plant is happy ; but if they get a rather dry,
sunny bank, where it is too hot and dry for most things, their growth may be much smaller, but their flowers will gain greatly in refinement. There is, in fact, no difficulty about their culture, provided that it be understood. Weeds and the shade of trees or large plants are quickly fatal to them, as is stagnant moisture; but beyond this, they are happy almost anywhere — on rockwork, as edgings, small borders, old walls, &c. ; and as they are small, bright green plants, they give an added charm to any situation they may occupy.
Their enemies, other than the conditions above stated, are chiefly the winter-slug, snails, and woodlice, the first two being very destructive. The latter is very insidious and troublesome if not looked after when the plants are grown in dry situations, as it makes its home underneath the rhizomes, or in the interior of the older decayed ones in the centre, and foods on the budding tips of the now roots just at the end of the advancing rhizome, which of course prevents its growth altogether; but these can be trapped or otherwise kept down, should they make their appearance.

In conclusion, it is hoped that they may prove useful, satisfactory, and popular plants, for there are no special cultural difficulties connected with their culture, as is the case with most of the bulbous Iris, together with the magnificent group of Oncocyclus Iris. With the new hybrids of "intermediate" Iris, which have caught the larger habit and flowers of the later, tall, bearded, summer-flowering Iris, together with many of their colours, but winch have placed themselves in time of blooming in front of I. germanica, the tall, blue flag, whose group furnishes the advance guard of summer Iris, we may have a continuous display from the earliest days of Spring, that endures without a break up to

W. J. Caparne, Guernsey.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Tall bearded Iris EXOTIC BLUE

Exotic Blue is another of those astonishing irises that is stunning in its unusual simplicity. Perhaps one of the most out of the square descriptions I read was Lloyd Austin  determination that 'Exotic Blue' was a kind of green and in fact 'Exotic Blue' was listed with the other 'Fascinating approaches to Green'  classified irises in his catalogue (nearly two pages of this colour tone).
This iris along with Burnt Toffee, Crimson Tiger, Infernal Fire,
Millennium Falcon, Tiger Honey, and the Border Bearded Irises like Jungle Shadows, Batik, Network, and the surprisingly named  Baboon Bottom, when they bloom at home always give me time to ponder the unstable genes that are always just below the surface in the Bearded Iris genetics. You can never beat the element of surprise! Keeps you grounded.

Randolph Iris Garden, Ithaca, New York. 1958 Introductions.
Lavender blue tinged with greenish brown. having a heavy matching beard which accentuates its exotic charm. 32". H.C. 1957. Runner-up for the President's Cup at the 1958 Annual Meeting.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, July 1959, Number 154, Part 1.
Varietal Comment, Region 7-Nashville Vicinity, Adelaide D. Peterson, Brentwood, Tennessee.
Exotic Blue (Randolph), more than just aptly named. This is a connoisseur's iris which almost defies comparison. Medium in height, with falls a bit narrower than are generally popular, it nevertheless is a type of color break that is a hybridizer's dream come true. Several shades darker than powder-blue, it has a dark blue, olive-tipped beard, an olive green area at the haft with 'purple veining deep inside. While most viewers here stood around it in awe, one irisarian thought it terrible. That's the way with this iris, you're likely either to admire it tremendously or dislike it entirely.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society,October 1960, Number 159.
Varietal Comments by Region 15 Members by Thornton M. Abell, Santa Monica, California.
A few things seen in the Los Angeles area before leaving for the AIS Convention in Portland.
Also in Lura's and Barbara's gardens we saw Randolph's EXOTIC BLUE, a most intriguing flower, a smoky greenish blue with a rusty-violet beard; although  somewhat narrow in form, it was effective.

Rainbow Hybridising Gardens, Placerville, California. Lloyd Austins World Famous Iris Color Guidebook, 1963.
EXOTIC BLUE (Randolph, '58) EM 34"
From our AIS President Dr. Randolph comes this hybridizer's dream come true. Of such spontaneous appeal it was runner-up for President's Cup the year it was introduced. Yes, it's exotic & quite different. A distinctive blend of lilac blue and greenish brown with a matching olive-tipped brown beard. A connoisseur’s iris that defies comparison. [(Mata Hari x Black Forest) x White Wedgwood] JC '59.

AIS Checklist 1959
EXOTIC BLUE  Randolph, Reg. 1957  Sdlg. 51-223-5. TB, 28" (71 cm), M ; Light lavender-blue self, with darker center; brown beard, tipped blue. (Mata Hari x Black Forest) x Wedgwood. Randolph 1958. HM 1958.

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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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EDENITE and CALIENTE and that blasted wiki iris thing again.

We grow large clumps of 'Edenite' (Plough, '58) and 'Caliente' (Luihn, '69) at home so it was with some wonderment that I recently received an email from a concerned Iris grower about the identification of his Iris and could I inform him if the Iris in the photo attached to his email was Edenite or Caliente??
I replied to the gentleman politely pointing out he must be confused as the two irises are so completely different, and inquired how was it possible to confuse the two varieties?????
Back came the email reply which referred me to a listing for 'Edenite' on that blasted wiki thing and on the page a note states " 'Edenite' is almost identical to 'Caliente' (W. Luihn, R. 1969) The difference is the color of the beard." and 'Yes Folks' after looking at the listing for 'Caliente' there is a double dose of this claptrap, the note on this page states " 'Caliente' is almost identical with 'Edenite' (Plough, R. 1958). The difference is the color of the beard." These pearls of wisdom have been there since 1st February 2011, that's almost three years of misinformation!!

Well I put the gentleman straight that these statements are pure works of fiction which took a bit of convincing as
unsurprisingly he was sure the American Iris Society would know best.  The 'slam dunk' is the above image, but I also copied him the registered descriptions from the 'real' Checklist database, also the introduction notes by Eden Road Gardens and Mission Bell Gardens which all make no mention of this little known look-a-like fantasy.
As readers can see that the official check lists entries below list the colour of 'Edenite' as "Sooty red-black". 'Caliente' on the other hand it's colour is described as "Wine red" two totally different hues. 
I sent the above photo collage to one of Americas most distinguished Irisarians and the reply "THAT'S IT!!! I first saw Caliente in the Luihn garden before introduction. There is NO way it could be confused with Edenite" 

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.

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.

AIS Checklist 1969
CALIENTE    Walter Luihn, Reg. 1967. Sdlg. 64-9. TB 38" ML. R1.    Wine red self; bright gold beard. ((Tompkins 54-173 x Bang) x (Oriental Glory x Huntsman)) X Forward March., Mission Bell 1968. HC 1966, HM 1969.AM 71.

Mission Bell Gardens, Melba and Jim Hamblen,  South Roy, Utah. Introductions for 1968.
CALIENTE (Walt Luihn). ML. 38". Brilliant wine-red of exceptional smoothness and clarity of color, highlighted by a heavy beard of antique gold. The standards are domed and the wide flaring falls have a jaunty lilt. Strong stalks with superb branching and prolific bud count. ((Tompkins 54-173 x BANG) x (ORIENTAL GLORY X HUNTSMAN)) X FORWARD MARCH. Sdlg. 64-9. HC '66 Net $25.00

When this wiki thing was first mooted did someone say the price for the Iris Encyclopedia will be to make the American Iris Society purveyors of inaccurate information?? I think not! But that is what is happening. Apparently a huge amount of the AIS membership do not even own a computer so are blissfully unaware that Iris nomenclature and the status of the AIS as the 'go to' organisation for accurate iris information which members take so much pride in, is being constantly eroded by the inaccuracies deceminated by this Ersatz Iris Encyclopaedia.   
Maybe if the Manager of this iris wiki free-for-all spent more time editing the web site information and less time trying to emulate that Hanna-Barbera animated fictional character 'Muttley wants a medal' the problems highlighted above would have had a slimmer chance of seeing the light of day! But Hey that's not something that's going to change any-time soon.  

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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