Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tall Bearded space-age Iris 'TRIPLE WHAMMY'

As space age irises go, Ben Hager's selection 'Triple Whammy' has all the bells,whistles and bold purple horns. Large flowers with the colouration similar to 'Sky Hooks', bloom stalks that grow much taller for me than its registered 40 inches so may need to be grown in a sheltered spot or keep those friendly bamboo stakes at the ready around bloom time, it also comes with very vigorous growth and lush, healthy foliage.
'Triple Whammy' would be an interesting pollen parent selection for anyone starting a breeding programme with high expectations of a 'space-age outcome', it was recently used in the cross that produced the great looking reddish, purple and bronze, space-age iris 'Purple People Eater'.

Cooley's Iris Gardens Catalog 2002
TRIPLE WHAMMY (Hager 1990) ML 40"
A very tall space-ager with brilliant yellow standards and bright lavender-white falls. A bold yellow edge encircles the fall deeping at the haft to gold. Impressive bright purple beard, yellow in the throat, grows into a bold purple horn turning upward. Eight to nine buds on widely branched stalks. H.M.92; A.M.95; Wister 96

Contemporary Views, Perry Dyer– 1990
TRIPLE WHAMMY (Hager 1990) is a colorful blending of old gold with light lavender in the falls, then with decadent bright purple beards and horns protruding from the heart. A tall, almost lanky stalk with wide branching, opening 3 large flowers at once. A wild one that is distinctive and most popular.

AIS Checklist 1989
TRIPLE WHAMMY (Ben Hager, R. 1989) Sdlg. SP4884YBldPrHr. TB, 40" (102 cm), M-L S. bright yellow; F. lavender-white center, deep gold hafts, wide yellow edge; bright purple beard and horns. SP4432Tn/Oc: ((Birthstone x Sky Hooks) x Jester) X SP4078: (Barbary Coast x Buckthorn). Melrose Gardens 1990. HM 1992, AM 1995 .

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Historic Iris germanica 'CRIMSON KING'

Photo taken a couple of days ago, an historic rebloomer from the 1800's that was involved in much of the success the Sass Brothers had with their intermediate reblooming programme in the 1920's and 1930's.
Now it's an iris that I can not be 100% sure that the name is correct or that the Iris should be attributed to Peter Barr, yes the above photo is the iris 'Crimson King' considered to be Peter Barr's most well known iris, but there seems to be more than just a little confusion with 'Crimson King's' nomenclature that can't be just swept aside.  
 There is a contentious description published in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Bearded Irises Tried at Wisley 1925-1927 where 'Crimson King' is mention under the heading 'ATROPURPUREA.'  I've copied references below for your consideration. Its probably a popular natural hybrid that some plantsmen squabbled over its name and breeding rights. For the time being I will go along with the label 'Crimson King' and Peter Barr as the introducer but I think it is becoming increasingly obvious that 'all bets are off'.

L.F Randolph in the Book 'Garden Irises' notes that 'Crimson King' has a (2n= 44) number of somatic chromosomes, indicating that this variety arose through a cross with a 40 chromosome species and a 48 chromosome species making it a hybrid in the informal classification of early flowering irises commonly referred to today as 'The germanicas.'

THE GARDEN, Societies and Exhibitions, July 31st, 1880.
July 27th
The usual fortnightly meeting and the annual show of the Carnation and Picotee Society made a very interesting exhibition at South Kensington on Tuesday last. The Carnations and Picotees were arranged in the upper arcade, where many interesting subjects were added, whilst in the Council Room, as usual, the various plants, fruits, and vegetables to be adjudicated upon by the committees were placed. The floral committee awarded First-class Certificates to;
Messrs. James Veitch & Sons, Chelsea, for Iris Kæmpferi Magnificence, a flower of medium size,prettily marked with lines of violet and red on a pale ground ; and Crimson King, a grand flower, having very broad petals of purplish crimson.

THE GARDENERS CHRONICLE, Amateurs Column, July 14th 1894.
IRIS GERMANICA, Harrison Weir, Sevenoaks, June 23
'As I have had a long experience, perhaps I should not be considered trespassing too much on your space if I give the names of a few of the most distinct. Among the dark purples, I have thought subbiflora, nepalense, Crimson King, and Germanica Major the best.'

IRISES, W.R. Dykes, The Times, London, July 6th, 1907

Once May is reached an iris garden should be one continuous blaze of colour for the common purple flag is closely followed by the innumerable forms and hybrids which are loosely known as german irises. Closely related to the type, and only local varieties of it, are forms of which Amas or Macrantha is perhaps best, while other good forms are Purple King, Crimson King, Fontarabie, and Asiatica. 

The Longfield Iris Farm, Bluffton, Indiana. 
Named Iris for Sale 1925
Crimson King
This iris has flowers of the same rich deep purple coloring as Kochii, but the flowers are larger, and the stalks taller and the growth more open. Very Good. Every Iris collection should have either this variety or Kochii.

BEARDED IRIS TRIED AT WISLEY 1925-1927, Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society.

Varieties with deep red-purple self coloured flowers
ATROPURPUREA. Foliage rather yellower than in 'Kochii.' Flowering stem 24 inches, straight, 3 or 4 flowered. Flowers medium to large, of good form, rather brighter deep violet purple than the last (Kochii) ; standards somewhat cupped, 2¼ X 2 inches ; falls hanging straight , 1⅝ X 1⅝ inch ; beard bluish white, tipped yellow. Flowering for nearly a month from May 11th 1927. Sent by G P Baker
Very closely similar to this are 'DUCHESSE DU CHATEAFORT,' from Messrs Barr ; and 'ASIATICA' originally form Messrs. Bunyard, long grown at Wisley ; while 'CRIMSON KING,' 'GERMANICA CRIMSON KING,'(from Messrs Barr), 'EREBE,' and 'TRAUTLIEB' were indistinguishable , or almost so, though the last name is apparently used for 'PURPLE KING.'

CORNELL MEMOIR 100 Study of Pogoniris Varieties Austin W.W. Sand July 1926
Crimson King (1894) Rating 89
Color effect a cotinga purple or more brilliant hyacinth violet self ; size fair ; form long, open, rounded; tall bearded class ; height 24 in.; branching fastigiate, above centre, 2 or more laterals. A flower of good substance; firm texture ; excellent fragrance; good lasting quality. Useful in mass or as a cut flower.
Standards a most intense hyacinth violet to pansy violet, tinged with yellowish and slightly lighter at the base of the blade and on the claw ; carriage cupped, erect to arching ; blade obovate to fiddle-form, notched, undulate, frilled and ruffled, revolute, slightly crumpled; size 2 in. wide, 24 in. long. Falls slightly velvety blackish purple to brilliant Rood's violet, veined with same on the phlox-purple haft, lighter along the beard; carriage drooping ; shape obovate, convex, oblong to ovate; size 2 in. wide, 2¾ in. long. Minor parts : beard fine to coarse, dense, projecting, bluish tipped with yellow ; haft broad, channeled; reticulations fine to coarse, slightly netted, close to widely spaced; style-branches broad, overarching ; crest large, fringed; pollen plentiful ; spathe-valves scarious, purple-tinged. Growth moderate to vigorous ; increase rapid ; habit compact ; foliage stiff, leaves slender to broad, glaucous yellow-green ; 2-3 blooms open at once, floriferous ; stalk erect, with 5 buds.
While the general color is very similar to that of Kochii, it is not quite so distinct a self-color. The outer haft of Crimson King' is more definitely veined and broader, its segments are more decidedly waved, and the stalk is more widely branched. In Kochii the segments are more slender and graceful, while the whole of the flower is very similar to that of Albicans. Crimson King is undoubtedly of germanica origin. It has persistent green foliage.

 Gardening with Iris Species.
Proceedings of an International Symposium, Missouri Botanical Garden, 1995.
The Tall Bearded Iris Species, Philip W. Edinger.
Crimson King (Barr 1893)
Californians (even non-irisarians) know this common iris by sight through out the State. But only old-timers know it by its name; recently it has gained some distribution under the usurped name "Eleanor Roosevelt"! Here in the west, this is easily the best germanica for garden display: it is tall,prolific, has good color, and will flower more than once annually. In fact, you may get three or even four repeat blooms per year in areas where frosts rarely strikes. For heavily purple-tinted spathes, inky buds emerge that open to self colored blooms of rich mulberry color; beards are white shading to yellow toward the flowers interior. The hafts are somewhat veined, as the basic fall color breaks into veins over a blue white ground. Of some dozen germanica clones here, this is the one most likely to set a few "bee" pods.

AIS Checklist 1939
CRIMSON KING Barr, 1893 IB-E & Re-RD7, 22 inches.

This post will be updated when the research regarding
nomenclature of Crimson King is more robust.
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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Monday, April 16, 2012

Tall Bearded Iris 'OKARITA'

 Bred by the late Revie Harvey of Havelock North, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, a stalwart of the New Zealand Iris Society and a breeder of some very fine irises of which 'Okarita' was one of her best Tall Bearded garden varieties. It was  awarded the Begg Shield for the most outstanding New Zealand bred iris seen at a convention garden in Nelson, 1992.
'Okarita' is a strong grower with good plant health, very tall bloom-stalks that have a slight tendency to get a bit zigzaggy, and the height can sometimes be a problem around here with the strong nor-westerly winds that can destructively rush through the garden at bloom time, so needs to be p
lanted in a sheltered spot. Good branching with a high bud count, colouration is clearly a self in the cool white colour range that is highlighted by a subtle green cast in the centre of the falls with just a slight flick of olive green striations on the hafts. Beards white tipped lemon. The high bud count gives very long sustained bloom period and makes 'Okarita' a great choice should you be looking for a good white iris with undeniable grace. 
 I was recently informed that Revie Harvey's 1999 registered Tall Bearded Iris "Spring Nuptials" a pink is also well worth a try.

2011 New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist

OKARITA Mrs R. Harvey, Reg., 1990. Sdlg. RS/WV/83. TB, 42″, (107 cm), EML. White self, F. fluted; beards white, tipped gold; slight fragrance. Regalaire sdlg. X Wedding Vow. Wyuna Iris Gardens 1991. Begg Shield 1992 (NZ). 

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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White Irises and Trade Me

For years I have been hesitant to write about 'White Irises' as there is the a common problem that comes with posting about any white and also other colours of iris on the blog, and as today's above post is about 'Okarita A New Zealand Bred White Iris' I will use this variety for my hypothetical scenario;

White irises with a lost label are very common and just about every nincompoop trader that owns a look-a-like white iris in New Zealand with a lost label or no identity could now label it as '''Okarita,"a New Zealand bred white iris' because believe it or not their in-depth research has reached the dizzy heights of  analytical wisdom which allows them to conclude "mine sort of looks like it too, its white isn't it?" Armed with this unshakable ground breaking conclusion and possibly a photoshop image of a white iris most likely stolen from google images they then go on to sell the iris on 'Trade Me' as the real deal, which it most likely will not be. 

These people are around and they really have no interest in irises their only interest is in getting the highest price for their goods by deception, and if you think this has never happened, then you would be wrong.

If you have any doubts about an irises provenance my advice is buy your Irises from a reputable commercial grower as they will have vetted their catalogue and generally have a policy to replace any wrongly labelled irises.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Barry Blyth's 2011 Blue Plicata Iris Seedlings

T154-3: X S262-B:

T154-3: X S262-B:

T154-3 X S262-C

S262-C  X T154-3

These are the seedling photo's that Barry Blyth sent me to show the results of his rekindled interest in blue plicata breeding lines. Amazzzing!!!! My personal favourite would be the seedling V250-2. Please keep it in mind that the above irises are a selection of his seedlings from the 2011 flowering season at Tempo Two and some of the above may never make the final selection to be named.
V249-3, V249-5, V 250-2, and V351-1 are a cross of the seedlings T154-3, S262-B and S262-C and the configuration of how these crosses apply to each seedling is shown in the caption below each photo. Each of the parent seedlings involved parentage is copied below for your information

T154-3 (R41-4: (P157-1: (N275-2: (L280-1: (G75-A: (E99-1: (B132-2: HOLIDAY LOVER x LOVE COMES) x BYGONE ERA) x (E158-2: (B202-1: AFFAIRE x (Z55-3: (X108-2 x X108-10: CHOCOLATE VANILLA SIBS))x(B164-1:CHOCOLATE VANILLA x ELECTRIQUE))) x (G63-G: MANDARIN MORNING SIB)) x (L133-1: (J141-1: GIRL THING SIB x G63-B: MANDARIN MORNING SIB))) x (L115-B: SHIVER OF GOLD SIB)) x (O228-4: (L133-7: I’M DREAMING SIB) x (L304-1: PLATINUM CLASS SIB))) X (R79-1



A big hat tip to Barry Blyth for the sending of these beauties and please visit his web site Tempo Two
As always clicking on the above images will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Barry Blyth

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Tall Bearded iris 'SMOKE RINGS'

'Smoke Rings' is a great parent, fertile both ways, involved in the parentage of over 60 registered irises, hybridised by one of thee great pioneers of modern day plicata breeding Jim Gibson. Very good plant health, coupled with vigorous growth and increase, and this is the most likely reason it was sent to me as a bonus plant many years ago (more plants than you know what to do with). Large blooms with subtle tones, decent stalks and bud count and comes with a stand out fragrance.The colour tones have always reminded me of some sort of Art Deco tableware. I must confess, for me it was originally not an Iris I would have selected if I had to pay good coin for it, but it has become an acquired taste over the years and a good mature clump of 'Smoke Rings' is very impressive, it's a 41 year old that can still strut its stuff and won't let you down.

Gibson's Iris Garden, 146 South Villa Street, Porterville, California. 1972 Tall Bearded Introductions.
SMOKE RINGS '72 M. 37"       $25.00
This vigorous growing, highly ruffled, smoky orchid plicata is a real attention-getter. The falls are smoky orchid rimmed on a cream ground. The standards are a blend of smoky orchid specks and veins with a cream flushed ground. The beard is a light orange. Petals are broad and serrated. Bloom size 5" X 6". An attention-getter. H.C. 1971. Seedling #23-7B

Browns Sunnyhill Gardens, Milton-Freewater,Oregon 1974 Iris Catalog
(Gibson '72) Standards cream flushed orchid with smoky orchid dotting and veining. Falls cream ground with smoky orchid rim ; light orange beards. Rounded ruffled and different. HM 1973 $15.00

Schreiners Iris Lovers Catalog 1981
SMOKE RINGS (Gibson 1972) M. 36"
Smoke rings is a delightful plicata of subtle tones which becomes more appreciated the longer one sees the plant. Smoky orchid standards with a deeper mauve border peppering on a rich cream ground characterise this beauty. Then too, the stronger growing habits of this Iris superbly show off the big opulently rounded and wide petalled flower. For so large a flower, though, it is refined in both colouration and carriage. H.M. 1973

IRISES A Garden Encyclopaedia,
Claire Austin  
Iris 'Smoke Rings' (J Gibson 1971) This ruffled Cream-white plicata is stippled with pale plum and amber. The flower is very fragrant. Height 97 cm (37 inches). Bloom: mid-season.

AIS Checklist 1979
SMOKE RINGS J. Gibson, Reg. 1971 Sdlg. 23-7B. TB, 37" (94 cm), M, S. smoky orchid veining on cream and mauve; F. smoky orchid and mauve rim on creamy ground; yellow beard; ruffled. 30-5B: (35-1 PB1A: (23-4B x Rococo) x April Melody)) X 142-4A: (86-2PF x 2-2 PL). Gibson 1972. HM 1973.

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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Friday, April 6, 2012

Tall Bearded Plicata Iris 'SAPHARINE'

When it comes to blue and white plicata's I am firmly in the "Enough already" department, but I have to concede that every now and then along comes an iris that can make me reshape my point of view and the iris 'Sapharine' is for me one of the great and complete modern blue plicata's. Not sold commercially anywhere that I am aware of and a google search comes up with mainly references to quotes and a google listing for that Iris Wiki thing. I'm sure I'm not the only person growing it in fact I hope I'm not.
I have grown this Iris for years and is all-round a much better iris than 'Everything Plus' an iris of a similar colouration and both having the same smaller flower size which I like. 'Sapharine' breeding history is stacked with 'Odyssey' genes with a bit of 'Foggy Dew' in the mix to enhance the subtle sophisticated look. The blooms are well rounded with just the right amount of flaring in the falls and the standards are slightly opened but still rounded which is pleasing. Would do well on the show bench with its tall strong candelabra stems that come with great bud count, but just flowers to late around here for the show season.

I wrote to Barry Blyth the other day about 'Sapharine' and asked him for a quote, and his reply;
"I can't remember what I said about 'Sapharine' when I introduced it. I remember it as graceful and a lovely bloomer, making lots of flowers.
I used it a bit in hybridizing and it gave some good two toned plicatas. I think at the time, the early 80's there were so many blue plicatas coming from USA that it got lost in the melee, so it did not get the degree of attention it deserved. Also I was in US each year and I saw what so many were doing in the plicata field of breeding I decided more or less to let up on plicata breeding and concentrate on bicolours and amoenas.
It is only in recent years that I have started again and am getting different blue plics".
Barry has generously sent me some photos of his above mentioned 'different blue plics seedlings' and I will post them on the blog in the next few days or so.

Bay View Gardens Catalog, Santa Cruz, California, 1982
SAPHARINE (Blyth81) Blue amo-cata: lighter on standards........ $20.00

Tempo Two, Barry and Lesley Blyth, East Road, Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia, Season 1983-84
SAPHARINE (Blyth '81 Aust.) M-ML 36". Soft pastel blue stitching on white for the standards, ruffled and closed. Falls are white with light violet stitching. A good contrasting neglecta plicata features include the vivid blue beards. Rounded form and flowers well displayed on extra branching. Slow increaser. (Odyssey x Soul Power) . $15.00

AIS Checklist
SAPHARINE (B. Blyth, R. 1981) Sdlg. K11-1. TB, 36" (91 cm), M-ML; Standards white, stitched soft pastel blue; Falls white, stitched light violet; blue beard. Odyssey X Soul Power. Tempo Two 1981/82.

Pod Parent
ODYSSEY (S. Babson, R. 1970) Sdlg. R10-16. TB, 38" (97 cm), M; S. white, 3/4" border of medium blue; F. white, 1/2" border of medium blue; pale yellow beard. N1116: (((Spanish Peaks x Vatican Purple) x (blue sdlg. x Great Lakes)) x Melodrama) Stepping Out. Melrose Gardens 1971. HM 1972, AM 1974

Pollen Parent
SOUL POWER (B. Blyth, R. 1977) Sdlg. H158-2. TB, 38" (97 cm), E-M; S. white with faint mauve plicata stitching, fading out on 2nd day; F. white with 1/4" plicata stitching of violet; white beard. Odyssey X Foggy Dew. Tempo Two 1977/78.

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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How to Grow Iris, Coaxing sulky Irises

From time to time this year I will add gardening advice that I have tried, some from various publications and others from gardeners like myself. This is one I have used over a period of several years with great success, but I leave them alone for 8 weeks or so.
Coaxing sulky Irises  by Gwendolyn Anley. The Iris Yearbook 1942
Some Irises have the name for being "bad doers," but I have yet to find one which does not respond to the following treatment. A bin of peat stands in the open in the shade of the potting shed. Healthy offsets from unhealthy rhizomes, plants for stamina and "bad starters"are planted in the moist peat and left for some weeks. Strong new roots start into growth in a very few days, and in three or four weeks time a splendid root system has developed. The ball of roots with as much as possible of the adhering peat must be lifted and tact and planted carefully. I find that plants so treated never looked back.

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