Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tall Bearded Iris "VILLAIN "

Twenty eight years ago the iris 'Villain' was introduced and in two years time it will attain the status of Historic Iris which is a visual puzzle, for if it were to be introduced today it would still make the cut as a stand out Modern Tall Bearded Iris. Maybe the label or the determination of what constitutes a 'Historic Iris' needs to be redressed. as 'Villain' and many other Irises of this era and many more to come do not 'fit' with the Gardening public's perception of what is an 'Historic Iris'.
That aside, 'Villain' is a great garden Iris with high health good bud count and nice clean strong leaf growth that shows PBF. It looks its best when the early morning sun casts its shadows across the velvet falls creating the look of mischief and intrigue. For me the name has a certain irony, and perhaps that's why I grew it in the first place.

Keith Keppel, Stockton, California. Introducing in 1981.
VILLAIN (Keppel) Late-blooming novelty bicolor with olive standards and reddish-toned purple falls.................. $20.00

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, April 1983, Number 249. Flight Lines, Tall bearded Talk, Paul Smith Pleasant grove Utah.
VILLAIN was very attractive with olive standards and dark purple falls. Doesn't sound as pretty as it really is.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, April 1984, Number 253.Southern California Iris Impressions. Dr. Edward Murray.
We had idyllic spring weather until the second week of May, when it suddenly became very warm. In spite of wind and dust storms, the irises came through exceedingly well, with VILLAIN proving to take the dust and wind the best.
VILLAIN (Keppel '81): Ruffled and flared bicolor. Standards tawny bronze, falls dark wine-purple. Many buds on straight, low branched stalks. Very late. Each blossom lasts and lasts, seemingly for four or five days. It withstands winds well and is one of the best late ones.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1984, Number 255.The Brooks Garden, Eric Tankesley-Clarke, Missouri.
VILLAIN (Keppel '81) displayed its sultry, sombre colors of smoky olive standards and dusky maroon-purple falls on 3- to 4-branched stalks with two to three blossoms open.

AIS Checklist 1989
VILLAIN (K Keppel 1981) ML Olive butterscotch standards and red maroon falls. Mustard beards. Excellent increase. Dusky Dancer X 71-82A: ((Montage sib x Happy Ending) x Ghio 67-20W: ((((Frosted Starlight x (Spanish Peaks x Black Satin)) x ((Cahokia x Pierre Menard) x (Black Forest x Chivalry))) x Penthouse) x (Mahalo x Diplomacy))), H.M 1983.

Visit Keith Keppel's new 2010 web site to see his latest selections listed in the Iris Links on this page.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

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Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©

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