Friday, December 5, 2008
Miniature Tall Bearded Iris 'MEADOW LARK'
MEADOW LARK (mtb) 1940, Mrs Mary Frakes Tharp, pioneer iris hybridizer of Payette, IDAHO.
The variety blooming over by the Woolshed yesterday. An iris who's colouration is not generally well thought of by many, but at home growing amongst darker background foliage of the roses and the purple penstemon it is without question a stand out iris. It's like a little neon sign saying 'come and look at me'.
This iris was registered as a Tall Bearded as you can see in the checklist description below but there is no doubt that the Iris is a Table or Miniature Tall Bearded and a plicata of sorts. It was not until the publication of the 1959 Checklist that Miniature tall bearded (mtb) or table irises as they were also known received their own classification. (They were also known in breeding circles in the 1920 as "runts'). They are closely related to Historic diploid irises commonly referred to once as "flag irises'. The Official classification is, Miniature Tall Bearded, (mtb) 16 – 27.5" tall, the flower is no more than 6" combined width + height, blooms with the TB’s.
Table Irises flower for me just after the Tall Bearded Iris. Flowers are smaller than Tall Bearded which make them suitable for table decorations hence the name.
Iris growers that I have contact with in Auckland have explained that modern Tall bearded Irises do not do so well, but Irises like the historic I.pallida which is a diploid, grows,blooms, and survives, so it stands to reason that Miniature Tall Bearded Iris (also mostly Diploid) will be strong candidate for success in this area also.
My advice to Auckland gardeners is buy a couple varieties to plant in your garden and give them a shot. For the rest of New Zealand, Miniature Tall Bearded Iris will grow anywhere Tall Bearded Iris grow.
Richmond Iris Gardens, Hill Street, Richmond, New Zealand. IRISES 1971-1972
Standards greenish mustard, falls cream flecked all over like the back of a meadow lark
AIS Checklist 1949
MEADOW LARK TB M Y5D rev. (Tharp 1940) R.1940 ( Y seedling X EUPHONY )
Reader's will note in the color classification from the 1949 Checklist Y5D rev. it has the notation of rev. which is added to the symbol letters and means reversed i.e. the darker tone above.
This Iris is available from Kingswood Irises 15 Railway Road Woodlands R D 1 Invercargill Write to Marion Rutherford for their Catalogue which is on CD with some of the best Iris photos around.
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Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.