Sunday, May 10, 2009


Every time I see this Iris or hear its name it brings back memories of the 70's and the Starland Vocal Band who had a #1 hit song by the same name.It's prolific blooming reminds me of the line "Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight." though I am sure the song writer had something else in mind when writing the lyrics. All and All its a mighty fine Iris and a garden favorite.

Sold by almost all comercial Iris growers in New Zealand.  In the US of A it is still been sold by Cooley's Iris Garden who sell it for the amazing price of $6.00. That's only $18.00 for three rhizomes that will make a better than fantastic display in 12 months time and just keep getting better.In France it is available from Cayeux Iris for the princely sum of 4.50€, also available in Holland from Kwekerij Joosten. Who said you have to pay big money for a classy 5 Star Iris.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, July 1990, Number 278.Looking Back, Rick Ernst, Oregon.
Larry's son Rick picked up the hybridizing program with the Gaulter lines and now Cooley's blooms some 20,000 seedlings per year. The payoff from this program is just beginning, with AFTERNOON DELIGHT winning Rick's first Honorable Mention last year.

Tempo Two, Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia. Iris, Daylilies, Hosta Catalogue  1994-1995 
Standards are golden honey closed and ruffled; Falls are light rosy lavender edged with a ¼" rim of the standard clour. Gold shoulders and light lace add a finishing touch. It has show branching.(Countryman x Outreach) X (Mary Frances x Lombardy) HM 89

Schreiner's, Salem, Oregon, 74th Collectors Edition, 1999 Iris Lovers Catalog.
AFTERNOON DELIGHT ( R. Ernst 1985) M. 36"
This ruffled honey-tan and lavender blend shimmers with an intriguing interplay of pastel tones. The delightful rosy lavender falls are nicely edged with a 1/2 inch border of warm buff-tan. The same honey coloring also blends from the petal's underside and the flower's interior. 7 to 9 buds per stem.HM '89, AM '93.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 2009
Inside of standards is a warm honey-tan which melts through the lavender on the outside. Falls are bright lavender sporting a honey-tan border. Beards are near-white to yellow in throat. Six buds to each stalk HM '89, AM '93. Fragrant.

IRISES A Garden Encyclopedia, Claire Austin.
Iris 'Afternoon Delight' (R Ernest 1983)
This large and frilly variety has lace petals that pale with age. The standards are caramel and sit above the pink lilac falls with their matching caramel edging. The white beards are tipped yellow towards the back. Height 91cm (36½ in.)

AIS Checklist 1989
AFTERNOON DELIGHT (R. Ernst, R. 1983). Sdlg. T607-1. TB 36" (91 cm) M. S. lightly laced light golden tan with lavender infusion; F. lavender with 1/8" golden tan border, gold shoulders, white infusion near yellow beard. R79-120: (Countryman x Outreach) X G77-42: (Mary Frances x Lombardy)., Cooley's Gardens 1985. H.M. 1989, A.M. 1993.

Thirty years from the date of registration which will be in 2013, 'Afternoon Delight' will attain the status of Historic Iris, and as I have stated in a previous post this 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 'Afternoon Delight' along with 'Villain' which featured in a previous post and many other Irises of this era and the many more to come that do not 'fit' with the Gardening public's perception of what is an 'Historic Iris' or what an 'Historic Iris' should look like.

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 ©.

1 comment:

  1. that is a pretty one! I'll have to keep an eye out for it. :)


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