Monday, December 24, 2012


      It was just a few days ago that doomsday theorists said it was the end of the world! never happened! Another non event was the Green Party who tried to convince us this year that 'Jack Frost' was going to become 'Jack the puddle' and that also never happened! its been a year where so called major predictions have gone hopelessly askew.
My bloom season for 2012 was the same as many New Zealand growers reported, it came early and all at once making the garden very surreal. At home we had Siberian Irises flowering with Standard dwarfs, the reliable strong Nor-westerly winds came and went and about half the Irises did not bloom at all, so all and all a interesting bloom season. Now before the climate change wonks say this is proof of their dribble, they should read any Iris Journal from the past and they will find published within are a multitude of reports that show the weather has its own mind and most likely always will. Some have immediately attributed  'Climate Change' to recent statements 'No Blooms for the Iris Show this year', my thoughts are that it has very little to do with a change in the weather but more to do with a change with the show date. History shows us that show dates year on year can and have changed by as many as 10 days either side of the previous year's date which has a far bigger impact on the amount of blooms for the show bench but always seems to be overlooked.
   Oh and today, Bee Warburtons 'Reprise' has decided to start blooming again, Bob Hollingworth's 'Shall We Dance' has not stopped blooming since it started 2 months ago, and looks like it will be around for Christmas Day, Terry Aitken's 'Double your Fun' has started to bloom today for the first time this season, it's an intermediate that is registered a re-bloomer but I think it's just a straggler.

Change is so swift in the digital world that Smartphones and Tablets are changing the way we use the internet and web masters need to make it a priority to view the way their web site display's on the smaller screens as within a year these little power packed wonders will be the major player in the world of digital media, web masters who ignore this rapidly advancing change will be rewarded by decreased visitors to their website.
While I am on the subject of digital media let me say the AIS E-membership is not what it is cracked up to be. I am a E-member so I can access the iris register database (the real one). The fee last year jumped from $10.00 to $15.00 and for the 50% jump in fees I get access in advance of the printed Bulletin as a PDF file and help fund the Twiki thing. The bulletin in Portable Document Format (PDF) is a huge data file, takes for ever to download cannot be printed or saved so every time you visit cost more megabits which I have to pay to the phone company, adding to this, once the bulletin is released in the digital format it is then parroted via the AIS Book face thingy and AIS World of Iris blog, parts of the featured articles are discussed on various Iris forums, and all this before my printed copy (which I have to pay for as a separate membership) arrives in the mail. By the time I get to read the printed bulletin half the publication has articles that have already been part published on the AIS Book face thingy and includes some expanded articles that were originally posted on the AIS World Of Irises Blog.
  Hey some people may like this new way of doing things but for me it devalues the Bulletin which is after all the AIS premium publication and this repetitive media strategy is getting a lot like listening to a Wagner opera, you know, where the lead character first tells you what he’s going to say, and then he says it, and then he tells you what he just said.
Also it was a year with some people getting sniffy about this blog expressing my opinions on the inaccuracy of the Iris Encyclopedia.
Am I opposed to a web site undermining the considerable credibility that we associate with the Checklists? Yes I am, but why should I have to shut up about that? Who says any faction of a Society should be able to step over me and say 'shut up, you're not allowed to open your mouth on that'. I am been seen by some to be doing something wrong by pointing out mistakes that are been published on the internet as facts.........huh?
However this is the real point....... Censorship is undesirable and a threat to liberty. We should always think long and hard before bowing to the ever present wowser elements in our society who would wish to align the limits of our liberty to their own tastes. You either believe in freedom of speech, or you do not.

In 2012 my eyes particularly like these irises ... George Shoops, 'Spring Tidings', 'Deep Venture', and 'Private Treasure', Barry Blyth's 'Covet Me', Joe Ghio's 'Caption' Ron Busch's 'Irwell Wild Child' and 'Irwell Fancy',

BEST IRIS PUBLICATION Bulletin or Journal for 2012 (That I receive, and I receive a few) goes to The Historic Iris Society online magazine  'Flags'. It's well set out, can be downloaded, great photos, and its free to everyone who visits the web site. After a trying year for the editor with back problems and surgery the publication still came out for the Fall. If there is one small criticism from me its the need to publish other points of view in regards to various issues but I am sure it will go on to even better and brighter things in the future.

 I DON'T THINK SO AWARD 2012 goes to the Iris Encyclopedia now often referred to as 'Bob's Bloopers' . It wins the award for putting the wrong photos against a check list description and I think my post 'Tall bearded Iris Beaumonde' covered problem well, but from all reports these problems have not gone away.
Now, when I visit the site (which is not often) I am reminded of that old saying 'Trust is like a eraser. It gets smaller and smaller after every mistake.'

Anyway Merry Christmas to all 'Heirtage Irises' readers, thanks to the comment makers, thanks to all 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 commentators, thank you all for a really great year .

All the Very best for 2013 and may your New Year be full of family, Irises, laughter and love.
 See you mid January and thanks for 2012.

  An explanation, 'Heritage Irises'  is a record some of the irises growing at my Home, features photos of 'New Zealand Bred Irises' and also the blog at times  features new introductions of Irises from International Breeders. As opposed to a Bulletin, Journal,or Year Books, 'Heritage Irises' is more of a personal diary with a minimum amount of interactivity.

 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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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'ALISON PENNEY'

A breeding combination of Jean Stevens 'Brilliant Sunrise' and Schreiner's 'Taste of Honey'. This very impressive New Zealand bred iris by Jean Collins is one of the best ever of the classic variegata type, possessing an amazing glow which gives carrying power to the flower and on first viewing has the gardener's mind planning the special place in their garden where this iris will feature. Standards are a smooth rich gold contrasted by the bold red-brown falls bordered a rich gold which in turn has the faintest red-brown outline. The rich gold striations radiating from the hafts lead the eyes towards the deeper gold beards. Silky texture, outstanding form and substance. Slight fragrance.
A stunning have to have!!

Jean Collins Iris Garden, Cambridge Road, R.D.1 Tauranga.

ALISON PENNEY ML Gold standards, red brown falls, bordered gold

BayBloom Nurseries, Cambridge Road, R.D.1 Tauranga. Spring and Summer Catalogue, 1996.

ALISON PENNEY. What a bright show this variety creates. Gold standards, red brown falls, bordered gold. Does well in mild climates.

New Zealand Iris Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2011

ALISON PENNEY  Mrs Jean Collins, Reg., 1979.   Sdlg. 579/1. TB, 35″, (89 cm), M.   S. gold; F. red-brown, bordered gold; yellow beard. Brilliant Sunrise X Taste of Honey. J. Collins Iris Garden 1978/79. Begg Shield 1987 (NZ).

Only available in New Zealand from The Iris Boutique this season.

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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Sunday, December 9, 2012

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'CABBAGES AND KINGS'

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
 "To talk of many things:
 Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
 Of Cabbages--and Kings--"
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll, 1872.

Well yes indeed the time has come to talk of 'Cabbages and Kings'.Strong purple blush in the heart of the standards reminds me a lot of 'Freedom Road' (Gordon Plough,1976), colour placement, frills, ruffles and crimping all taking direction from the Keppel genes. Strangely elegant pastel colour's have that 'painted in watercolours' effect. 
Standards have a tendency to open uneven which is at odds with the Falls more "finished" form. Large blooms on strong stalks with good bud count giving the plant a good length of bloom (much longer for me than just the mid season as noted in it's registration). Good plant health and reasonable increase. Will transfer this iris among the darker black and purple toned irises to display in a different landscape to see if it 'grows' on me a little more than it's done to date. It's certainly an iris that grabs your interest!

Richmond Iris Garden Catalogue, 376 Hill Street, Nelson. Issue 56, 2006-2007
New Introductions.
CABBAGES AND KINGS TB ( A Nicoll 2005) $25.00
This lovely frilled and crimped lemon has an unusual purple blush in the heart of the standards. A sweet fragrance is a bonus.

New Zealand Iris Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2011
CABBAGES AND KINGS   Alison Nicoll, Reg., 2005 Sdlg A01T5: 3. TB, 32″, (82 cm), M. Standards purple blush in centre merging to lemon at edges; style arms lemon; Falls lemon edges merging to cream centre, more intense lemon at hafts; beards lemon tipped white, gold in throat; frilled and crimped; pronounced sweet fragrance. (Knock ‘em Dead x Keppel seed, LLFBKK: 2: (Lotus Land x Fogbound)). Richmond Iris Gardens 2006/07.

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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Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'IRWELL COURAGE'

      "Lines" have come more to the fore recently as a new (or revised) pattern option and 'Irwell Courage' is a great example of how Ron Busch had brilliantly come to grips with this intriguing style. Tall strong stems with good branching hold well proportioned blooms with gentle honey standards that show some darker erratic virus flecking, violet orchid midribs, falls are wide in a handsome mulberry plum colour broadly edged in a softer tone, coupled with strong white striations (lines) on the upper fall which is all set off nicely with the golden bronze beard. Great bud count resulting in a excellent amount of bloom that is paced well over a long season, bracts have a gentle purple tone. Clean foliage with the added purple-based touch, plant shows strong increase. People visiting the gardens just gravitate towards it, it's a very masculine flower.

New Zealand Iris Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2011
IRWELL COURAGE  Ron Busch Reg., 2007. Sdlg. 01587-2149. TB 40″, (102cm). M ; S. lemon, red purple midrib and blush at base: style arms yellow, purple centre; F. Red-purple, ¼″ paler edge, yellow shoulders; beards bronze. (Romantic Evening x Sky Hooks) X inv. Youthful Charm, Taholah, Rococo, Lady Friend, Latin Lover, Lula Marguerite,Velvet Robe, Laurie, Pipes of Pan, Radiant Apogee, Tea Apron, Snowline, Melodrama. Amazing Iris Garden 2011

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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