Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Historic Tall Bearded Iris 'SINDJKHA'

The Hybridizer, Grace Sturtevant, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts (1865-1947) began Iris breeding in 1910 and flowered her first seedlings in 1912. Her gardens were named 'The Glen Road Iris Gardens' and her first catalogue was published in 1917. Miss Sturtevant used European named varieties in making her first crosses and the names Oriflame, Caterina, Dalmatica, Iris King, Dr. Bernice, Aurea, Queen of May,and Mme. Chereau appear in her early breeding records. To quote from her early catalogue notes, "For me there is no ideal type. We want varieties of varying height for garden colour. We desire also varieties which possess qualities of form, carriage, or colour developed to perfection and at least some of us like samples of the curious and unusual". These comments still have relevance in today's iris world. Grace Sturtevant was both a founding member and Life member of the American Iris Society.

Cornell Extension Bulletin 1925
SINDJKHA, G. Sturtevant, 1918 TB 36" M S3M Color effect a blended lilac-drab, neutral violet bicolor. S. Hay's lilac suffused pale brownish drab shading to avellaneous and bronzing at the base, reticulated purplish brown; F. Chinese violet shading to reddish brown at base, veined neutral red and reticulated brown on yellow outer haft.Style branches dull yellow and beard conspicuous orange. Growth moderately vigorous, the foliage stiff and broad and the flower stalks erect, stout, exceptionally tall, and well branched. The blooms are large open and of firm texture. In effect, this sort resembles a dull 'Caterina'. Rating 83.

A H Burgess & Son Catalogue Waikanae 1928
Sindjkhat; Standards lavender bronze,shaded to dark olive bluff at the base. Falls light purple, shaded and pencilled with soft brown at haft. Late 4ft. 5 shillings. 
(Note the different spelling of the name. SINDJKHA spelt as SINDJKHAT appeared in several different early catalogues and the different spelling is noted as a synonym in the AIS Alphabetical Iris Check List 1929)

 AIS Checklist 1929
SINDJKHA TB-S3M. Sturtevant 1918; Sturtevant 1918; Sheets 1928; Class VI a (1) ; AAA 142; Sindjkhat ; ☐ ; 83; 81; 80.

Explanation: Class VI a (1) Blend -Varieties with standards of shot shades, pale blue or lavender, the yellow being scarcely perceptible.

I know of no commercial grower in New Zealand that sells this outstanding Iris at present but there was a grower in South Auckland who had this Iris Catalogued and Mis-labeled as 'Opal Light'. It was also grown and labelled as 'Opal Light' in the official 'Jean Stevens Collection', but that's another great story of intrigue and pious hand-ringing so much so it will have its own post at a latter date.
American visitors wanting to purchase this variety could try 'Argyle Acres'.

Photo taken in the gardens of Dawn Callaghan in Martinborough, Wairarapa, New Zealand.

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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