Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Zealand Iris History



The above and below scans are from H C Gibbons & Co.1904 Seed, Trees, and Plant catalogue kindly loaned to me by Gareth Winter. The catalogue is 184 pages of early New Zealand gardening plant and equipment history also includes a truly amazing list of sprays that if used today commercially on fruit and vegetables recommended, the grower concerned would be in breach of Health and Safety laws. Can you imagine a food label stating fruit sprayed with Asenate of Lead.

The popularity of Japanese Irises in early New Zealand gardening history is really surprising, and were sold as plants and seeds by several distributors of the time.
Japanese irises where only introduced into England after 1774,but it was not until about 1859 that the cultivar's became very fashionable internationally in gardens, unfortunately this trend became like a short lived Mexican wave .
It should be noted in the bulb catalogue (H C Gibbons & Co.), 30 named Japanese varieties and 40 named German Iris in 1904 is a substantial and impressive listing for that era. To emphasis the point some twenty years later, the A.H. Burgess 1924-26 Catalogue lists 61 Bearded Iris (German Iris)

Big hat tip to Gareth Winter for the use of the catalogues



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