Monday, January 19, 2009

Historic Iris "BRIDE"




THE BRIDE or BRIDE is a historic dwarf Iris that grows very well here at home.It is somewhat special to have a very small part of early British iris breeding history in the collection.
Originally classified by John W.Caparne as a 'New Intermediate' in his catalogue 'The Iris Plant and Bulb Co'. St.Martin's Guernsey 1903 Catalogue.
I am not 100% certain that the 1929 checklist pedigree shown below is in fact correct as 'Candida' is listed as 1920 introduction

AIS Checklist 1929
BRIDE Caparne, 1901 DB, 7", E, W4 (Statellae X Candida), AM RHS 1927

From the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. Bearded Iris Tried at Wisley 1925-1927 page 120
Class 1. WHITE, or NEARLY WHITE VARIETIES
Dwarf Varieties (5 to 6 inches)
THE BRIDE AM 1927
Of moderate vigour and rapid increase. Foliage green, 5 to 6 inches 2 fld. Flowers small well proportioned, stiff. standards somewhat domed, 2 X 1⅜ inch; falls hanging straight 1⅜ X 1⅜ inch: white with faint bluish tinge. Flowering for a fortnight from May 5th 1927 Raised by Messrs.Caparne Sent by Messrs. Barr

The Iris Plant and Bulb Co. St.Martin's Guernsey Catalogue 1903
BRIDE (Caparne 1899)
Pure white Self, with a white to primrose beard.

Lee R. Bonnewitz 1928 Catalog p25; DWARF IRISES
THE BRIDE
White .......... $0.35

John William Caparne work in median Irises is still today less well-known than it deserves. Long before the British or American Irises Societies were even contemplated he was breeding and promoting Iris. A personal friend of Sir Michael Foster who commissioned illustrations by Caparne for his works and many appear in Sir Michael's 1892 book 'Bulbous Irises' where he states "Those figures which bear the name 'Caparn' were most kindly drawn for me by my friend Mr. J. W. Caparn, of Oundle."
Caparne was a talented artist whose introduction to Irises came from a desire to paint them.
W.R Dykes in 'The Handbook of Garden Irises',1924 "Within the last few years some growers have attempted to enlarge the Intermediate section by including in it such early flowering varieties as florentina, Siwas, Kochii and Karput. The term intermediate was probably first used in this connection by Caparne and he certainly understood by it dwarfer varieties than these. He defined it, in fact, as meaning an Iris of the size and growth of a large chamaeiris but with flowers the size of atropurpurea or Kharput."

"The Bride" is available in New Zealand from Kingswood Irises
Will no doubt post more on John William Caparne at a later date.
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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