Monday, September 29, 2008

Historic Iris 'ZUA'

ZUA, in my opinion one of the great lookers in historic irises . Bred by Mrs William Crawford, (Anna Boyd), La Porte, Indiana. In 1890 Mrs. Crawford began cultivating peonies, eventually specializing in the growing of Peonies and Irises at Crawford Gardens, publishing her first Iris catalogue in 1920.
The iris is classified as an Intermediate. Shows good increase, great fragrance, flowers handle moderate wet weather well, and is a definite talking point in our garden. A hardy plant that can handle neglect which is perhaps one of the reasons that the Iris has survived and is still growing in discerning gardens today. The 1929 and, 1939 checklist has 'ZUA' as a sport of FLORENTINA

"Zua and Sports" Jean Stevens
My attention has recently been drawn to a statement that the strange little crisped, ice-blue Iris 'Zua' is a sport of the collected iris known as I.florentina . This statement is based on the fact that the origin of Zua as given in the Checklist of all iris varieties, is that it was recorded in 1919 as a sport of I.florentina. Apparently there had been much discussion on and interest taken in 'Zua' at the time as a number of Horticultural publications referred to it, some of these being used as references to Zua's origin in the 1929 Checklist
A "sport" is a horticultural term denoting a change in the plant or part of a plant, a change of habit. growth, colour, form or what you will, that takes place vegetatively. This means that the change has taken place during cell division while the plant is in growth- not through the seeding process. The effect of sporting can be seen in the occasional familiar four standard- four fall freak which most of us have seen or the equally familiar phenomenon of a petal or part of a petal being a different colour. These sports, since they have occurred in the flower itself and not in the growth fan are lost when the flower fades.
Most kinds of flowers produce occasional sports, and some of these sports occur in the growth buds or shoots or in the case of irises in the side fans. When this happens the growth bud sport can be propagated and so the sport kept and perpetuated. Camellias, Chrysanthemums, Roses, Carnations, and a number of other flowers quite frequently produce these growth bud sports, all of which can be propagated and saved. The iris produces growth bud sports only rarely, and over the many years I have been growing irises I have seen only one instance of such sporting. This was when a yellow flowered seedling produced a fan which sent up a spike of all white flowers.

Image courtesy Mrs Crawford's Catalogue 1921

Mrs William Crawford,1602 Indiana Avenue La Porte, Indiana. Peonies, Irises and Perennials, 1921
ZUA-- Standards and Falls dainty lavender ; Standards and Falls of texture like heavy frosted crepe. Very Distinct. Fragrant .Early...............$2.00 

Lee R. Bonnewitz,Van Wert, Ohio, Peonies and Irises,1926.
ZUA (Crawford). A light colored Iris whose standards and falls are more like silk crepe than any other variety we know. The standards are white with a delicate lilac tint and the falls have a slightly deeper lilac tint with olive-cream markings at the base. Large size blooms for the 18 inch stalk which carries it..................$0.35.

Iris Fields, West La Fayette, Indiana. Iris of Quality. Surplus stock from Private Collection,1926. 
 75  ZUA  (Crawford, 1914). White self, slightly tinged lilac, crimped and crinkled like crepe paper. Absolutely different and in a class by itself. 

18 inches ............................. .50

Indian Springs Farms, Baldwinsville, New York. Iris Catalog 1926
ZUA (Crawford 1914) 7.5. An early-flowering, dwarf-growing variety with large blooms of clear white, slightly tinted lilac. S. and F. have a curiously crinkled texture like crepe paper. 12 to 18 inches. The flower is similar in color to Florentina alba but with more crinkled texture and dwarfer habits. 50 cts. each; $1.25 for 3; $4.00 per doz. 

F.X. Schreiner, St. Paul, Minnesota. An Iris Lover's Catalog with Iris map, 1930. 
A Group of Iris With Personality
Zua-One of the most interesting early Iris, lascinated, a pearly white with a lavender overlay. The whole has a crepe paper appearance.

Robert Wayman, Bayside, Long Island, New York, 1930 Catalog and also John Scheepers, 522 Fifth Ave, New York,"Beauty From Bulbs", Catalog 1931,
'ZUA' (Crawford 1914) 18 inches FRAGRANT. this variety is in a class by itself, both on account of its color, which is a uniform soft pearl grey and also on account of its creped and crinkled petals. It looks like an artificial flower made out of crepe paper. the flowers are fragrant and of good size.

Carl Salbach, Berkley, California, German or Bearded Iris Catalog 1939
Most unusual, this pale porcelain blue iris, so light in color it approaches white,is most enchanting. The petals are crinkled like crepe paper. Not well known because it it blooms before the bulk of the iris flower, but delightful. Would be most fitting in a rockery. Very early. 14-inch.

R.E.Harrison & Co., Palmerston North, Harrisons Autumn Bulb Catalogue 1962
Bearded Iris, Named Varieties.
ZUA. Different in form and texture to any other bearded iris we have seen. The petals are heavily crinkled and of almost leathery texture. The colour is a light blue self frosty in appearance......2/6

AIS Checklist 1939
ZUA IB-E-W1 (Craw 1914) Sport of FLORENTINA

Julie May of 'The Iris Garden' fame has 'ZUA' growing in her well manicured Canterbury gardens. So anyone who drops in for a cup of tea at her very famous tearooms should be able to see the iris in full bloom this coming season, so stop by early spring and check them out. 'ZUA' is available from the nursery only in bags, not listed in this years catalogue.

Also available in New Zealand from Kingswood Irises 15 Railway Road, Woodlands RD1, Invercargill. Write to Marion Rutherford for their Catalogue which is on CD with some of the best Iris photos around. This iris nursery I also highly recommended!

In America 'ZUA' is available from the following, Bluebird Haven Iris Garden, Chuck Chapman Iris, Irises of Shadowood, and Wanda Rezac Iris.

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, September 27, 2008

Standard Dwarf Iris "pumila THE GEM"

'Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley, "Proper Studies", 1927

PUMILA THE GEM photo taken in the Morning Sun a couple of hours ago. This Iris was first introduced 1933. Often miss-labelled or confused with I.kochii.  The neighbour came over at 6.30am to help shift the cattle and found me lying on some sacks taking photos of dwarf irises including the above, sure had his head scratching for a while! 

A H Burgess and Son, Iris Specialists, 1933, WAIKANAE, WELLINGTON, NZ. 
VARIOUS SPECIES (Rhizomatous) page 29
PUMILA THE GEM -A Dainty little hybrid which is just the thing for the rock garden . Glowing rich Purple. 6 inches.

Stevens Bros, Nurserymen, Bulls. Lilies Irises and Rare Bulbs, Autumn, 1938 Catalogue.
Miscellaneous Irises
pumila The Gem
A Dainty little gem which is just the thing for the rock garden. Glowing rich purple flowers borne profusely in the late winter and also off and on throughout the rest of the year. 8in to 1ft. 1/-

Stevens Bros Catalogue 1949-1950, Wanganui, New Zealand.
This is a little rich red purple of our own raising which we offered in our bulb catalogue some years ago.
It resulted from crossing the old blue germanica of Europe with a red purple dwarf chamaeiris. It has the additional merit of blooming almost all year round, giving several major displays, the first being in very early spring. Ten Inches 1/6

Waterson's Iris Garden, Wanganui 1960-61 Wanganui, New Zealand.
An old favourite which not only flowers in very early spring but has bursts of blossom off and on throughout the whole year. In early spring it contents itself with the height of a true dwarf being then only about 6 inches high, with flowers in proportion but later in the year the stems often attain a height of 12 inches. The colour is a light pure purple. Extremely vigorous. 2/6

As a registration by Jean Stevens was not apparent the following registration occurred ;

AIS Checklist 1999
WANGANUI GEM (registered for Jean Stevens, deceased, by Bay of Plenty Group, 1999). MDB. Stem 6-8", (15-20cm), M & RE. S. dark mauve; F. purple; beards white, tipped yellow; slight fragrance. Summer bloom taller, branched. Purple chamaeiris X Madonna. In commerce in NZ since circa 1930 as “The Gem"

I have spent time checking Jeans Stevens Stud Book from 1924 to 1954 and can find no reference to Madonna or for that matter any crosses that involved I.albicains Blue or White form. If Madonna was used in any cross Jean would of noted it as she kept very accurate records.The cross closely associated with this Iris is a 1925 cross B63 Purpurea grandiflora X primila (Plum). I can find no reason why the Iris could not have been registered with notations from the Stevens Bros Catalogue 1949-1950, that are backed up with the A.H. Burgess 1933, and Stevens Bros. 1938 Catalogues. 

Thanks to a senior member of the Auckland Iris group for sending me a 1953 photo of 'The Gem' taken by Mrs Iris Bradford-Smith growing in her Remuera garden which was used as part of the ID process. I have always considered the older the photo the better the provenance. I will continue to list and label this iris as "pumila THE GEM"

Still commercially grown in New Zealand and occasionally sold on Trade Me
As usual, clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Reproduction in whole or in part of the photo without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson © .
Reproduction in whole or in part of this article without the expressed written permission of Heritage Irises  is strictly prohibited. 

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Standard Dwarf Iris 'TONYA'

TONYA Pictured in the garden this afternoon. The significance of this iris is that information received from Carlos Ayento of Brighton Park Irises an expert on Schreiner Iris introductions, is that it is no longer available in America the home of its hybridiser Robert Schreiner and was until recently considered to be lost. It was recently found growing in Germany and is still grown and sold in New Zealand by Richmond Irises see New Zealand Links above.

Schreiner's Iris Lover's Catalogue 1962.
Early blooming 12" to 14". This cute little fellow can be pictured as an Amigo in miniature. Light blue standards and rich plum purple falls. Plant in the front of the border for a prolific carpet of bloom. A real gem.

Schreiner's Iris Lover's Catalogue 1964.
Iris beauty in miniature, An amazing new race of vigorous hybrids. A clump two years old literally covers it self with flowers for weeks. Blossoming early, before the Intermediate Iris on 10" to 18" stems their crisp colours and fragrant blossoms are a show in the early spring garden. They are the perfect answer for edging of beds, walks, or in the rockery. What a wonderful way to start the Iris Season
TONYA cute 2 tone, light blue standards, rich plum falls. A gem

1969 AIS Checklist
TONYA (Schreiners, R. 1962). SDB 12" E. B4V. S light sky blue; F dark petunia violet- purple. Amigo X blue I. pumila sdlg., Schreiners 1962.

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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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Standard Dwarf Iris 'NORMA VALERIE'

Flowering in the garden this morning New Zealand Bred 'Norma Valerie' a Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris in shades of soft watercolours. Hybridised by Ron Busch, this variety is always covered in blooms every season and shows good increase. Strong clean high health Foliage, showing PBF. An interesting Fertile Parent;
I recently talked to Ron about this iris and we concluded that Norma Valerie is an Iris that takes a season or two to reach its full potential but when it gets there it is an Iris that I am more than pleased to have it in my collection . Great Fragrance first thing in the morning
Named after Ron's wife Norma.

New Zealand Hybridisers Checklist 2011
NORMA VALERIE (R.W. Busch, R. 1995). Sdlg. 89170/1. SDB, 10" (25 cm), E. S. lemon; F. lavender, flushed lemon when fresh; beards lemon; sweet fragrance. Combo X Sdlg. Irwell Iris Gardens, 1996.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

Another "Nice One Ron"
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Friday, September 19, 2008




KOWHAI (Sophora tetraptera)

New Zealand's Native Spring Blossom Tree absolutely at the start of its best over by the Woolshed yesterday.Over a period of the next two weeks The tree will have just about all the blossom ripped off it by the Tui's as they drink the honey contained in the flowers so all of this gold will fall on the ground. We have three trees all of 12 metres in Height growing in this location and is one of my favorite Native tree's

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Iris Seedling Photo's Last in this Series



Once again I would like to express my Sincere Thanks to Adele and Wayne Harrison for sharing their amazing Seedling Photos.
As previously stated in this series © All Pictures Copyright W.Harrison

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Top Aril Seedlings Raised in New Zealand



Yes as promised more pictures, and a few more to come!!!

© All Pictures Copyright W.Harrison

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top Aril Seedlings Raised in New Zealand



So glad to catch up with Adele and Wayne Harrison today from Bannockburn in the South Island Lakes District. These two outstanding Horticulturists are growing some of the finest Arilbred seedling's I have seen in New Zealand and the good part is they kindly gave permission for me to publish their pictures. The fantastic news is that the Aril Gene pool in New Zealand just got a whole lot better.More pictures to come!!!!!

© All Pictures Copyright W.Harrison

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spring has Sprung which starts with The Daffodil Show



If you are in Masterton on Saturday be sure to visit the Daffodil Show. All are most welcome

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