This iris has had nearly more names than a member of Mossad. Originally when it first bloomed at a distance it did look a lot like Jim Gibson's 1980 reblooming iris 'Spyglass Hill' but it turned out regretfully to be another of my spur of the moment purchases from a Commercial Iris Grower in Gisborne and was wrongly labelled as Keith Keppel's 'Diplomacy' which was the Iris that I ordered. Readers should understand that this purchase is not a case of a genuine mix up, it is an iris catalogued as 'Diplomacy Keppel 1966' with the following dubious description recently added to the listing,"Maroon yellow standards.White falls with deep maroon edges". I mean how does the Iris 'Diplomacy' (a neglecta) get to be confused with a plicata that does not even look remotely like it. I recently politely informed the seller of this Iris status and the misunderstanding with the plants name, but her enlightened reply was that she had purchased the iris labelled as such from a reputable grower (at the time her next door neighbour) so the name stands.Working with the grower and changing the name would have been the best outcome but if a grower is not interested in selling correctly named Irises, New Zealand Gardeners deserve to know. The iris correct name is the Keith Keppel introduction 'Montage' see below. Anyway you look at it, it's another of 'Keith's Keeper's!!'
AIS Bulletin April 1972
NEW FOR 1972, Keith Keppel, Stockton, California.
MONTAGE (Keppel) EML 34" ((Gene Wild x Majorette) x Rococo) X Mexicali sib.
Smoky buff standards, faintly blended lavender. White falls with a wide solid plicata border of greyed lavender to plum. Swirled standards, strongly flaring falls, ruffled. Medium size with branching and buds to spare. BUT-it under-increases and over-blooms. Sold out for 72 reservations been taken for 73 H.C.'70. It was....................................................$25.00
Brown’s Sunnyhill Gardens, Milton-Freewater, Oregon, 1974 Iris.
MONTAGE (Keppel '72) Swirled standards smoky buff and lavender; flaring falls white with plicata border of greyed lavender-plum. Really quite different. H.C. 1970.......$20.00
J & J Iris Garden, Cashmere, Washington, 1975 Catalog.
MONTAGE (K. Keppel '72) (inv. parentage) Standards buff yellow blended light lavender on midribs. Falls white with wide almost solid plicata border of grayed lavender with rosy plum hafts, beard white tipped bronze-yellow. H.C. 1970 ...........Nett $15.00
Recently (2011) in an email to me Keith had the following to say with regards to 'Montage'
"And on the subject of plicata -- while I was on line, I checked out your blog site more extensively than before. Was amazed to see Montage...the fact that it even exists, let alone in New Zealand! Montage was one of the key elements in developing my bicolor plicata lines, way back when...but it was never, itself, a success. It had growth problems, for in California's long growing season, virtually all the increase would bloom without replenishing. I gave up trying to list it after a year or so, as in the field rows where it was pampered it would tend to bloom to death. Only after I gave up, but stuck a sprig in the mixed herbaceous border, did I ever get it to grow as I'd hoped. Being half-smothered by chrysanthemums and such, it did not grow so well...so did not initiate bloom buds so readily and actually increased!"
AIS Checklist 1979
The correctly labelled Iris 'Montage' is sold in New Zealand by Amazing Iris Gardens
Be sure to visit Keith Keppel new web site listed in the Iris Links on this page
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter