Friday, April 6, 2012
Tall Bearded Plicata Iris 'SAPHARINE'
When it comes to blue and white plicata's I am firmly in the "Enough already" department, but I have to concede that every now and then along comes an iris that can make me reshape my point of view and the iris 'Sapharine' is for me one of the great and complete modern blue plicata's. Not sold commercially anywhere that I am aware of and a google search comes up with mainly references to quotes and a google listing for that Iris Wiki thing. I'm sure I'm not the only person growing it in fact I hope I'm not.
I have grown this Iris for years and is all-round a much better iris than 'Everything Plus' an iris of a similar colouration and both having the same smaller flower size which I like. 'Sapharine' breeding history is stacked with 'Odyssey' genes with a bit of 'Foggy Dew' in the mix to enhance the subtle sophisticated look. The blooms are well rounded with just the right amount of flaring in the falls and the standards are slightly opened but still rounded which is pleasing. Would do well on the show bench with its tall strong candelabra stems that come with great bud count, but just flowers to late around here for the show season.
I wrote to Barry Blyth the other day about 'Sapharine' and asked him for a quote, and his reply;
"I can't remember what I said about 'Sapharine' when I introduced it. I remember it as graceful and a lovely bloomer, making lots of flowers.
I used it a bit in hybridizing and it gave some good two toned plicatas. I think at the time, the early 80's there were so many blue plicatas coming from USA that it got lost in the melee, so it did not get the degree of attention it deserved. Also I was in US each year and I saw what so many were doing in the plicata field of breeding I decided more or less to let up on plicata breeding and concentrate on bicolours and amoenas.
It is only in recent years that I have started again and am getting different blue plics".
Barry has generously sent me some photos of his above mentioned 'different blue plics seedlings' and I will post them on the blog in the next few days or so.
Bay View Gardens Catalog, Santa Cruz, California, 1982
SAPHARINE (Blyth81) Blue amo-cata: lighter on standards........ $20.00
SAPHARINE (B. Blyth, R. 1981) Sdlg. K11-1. TB, 36" (91 cm), M-ML; Standards white, stitched soft pastel blue; Falls white, stitched light violet; blue beard. Odyssey X Soul Power. Tempo Two 1981/82.
ODYSSEY (S. Babson, R. 1970) Sdlg. R10-16. TB, 38" (97 cm), M; S. white, 3/4" border of medium blue; F. white, 1/2" border of medium blue; pale yellow beard. N1116: (((Spanish Peaks x Vatican Purple) x (blue sdlg. x Great Lakes)) x Melodrama) Stepping Out. Melrose Gardens 1971. HM 1972, AM 1974
SOUL POWER (B. Blyth, R. 1977) Sdlg. H158-2. TB, 38" (97 cm), E-M; S. white with faint mauve plicata stitching, fading out on 2nd day; F. white with 1/4" plicata stitching of violet; white beard. Odyssey X Foggy Dew. Tempo Two 1977/78.
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter