Strong growth, bold colour tones, blooms make a distinctly striking statement, it's the multi-award winning 'Thornbird'. So what's not to like ??
RHS Trial of Tall Bearded Iris 1998-2000 (An RHS Long Term Trial)
There were 97 entries in this Long Term trial of Tall Bearded Iris which were assessed by the Joint Iris Committee over three years.
All Tall Bearded Iris recommended for the Award of Garden Merit need to have the following qualities: weather resistance several flowering stems a minimum of six buds per stem.
'Thornbird' Award of Garden Merit Royal Horticultural Society.
Raised by M Byers; introduced by Moonshine Gardens; sent by The Iris Garden. Votes 9 for, 2 against. [Trial No. 81]
Stands well; good garden plant; good substance Available from The Iris Garden, and Seagate Irises.
Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1997, Number 307. Editor's Message,Climate Tolerance. Terry Aitken
A good example of climate tolerance and vigor is the 1997 Dykes MedalWinner,THORNBIRD (Byers '89). Here is a plant that was originally selected in a Napa Valley, California garden. It has grown enthusiastically throughout North America. While some have struggled with the aesthetic merit of strange protuberances arising where the beard ought to be, and some have been less than enthusiastic about its form, on all other counts it is the kind of winner that the Dykes Medal is supposed to represent
Contemporary Views,1998/1999, Perry Dyer– Space Agers
The famous Thornbird (Byers) is and always will be controversial. One of those “love-it or hate-it” kind of irises – or one that some “love to hate”. The colors can be very coarse, but those dramatic deep violet horns popping up out of the middle are certainly unforgettable.
Rainbow Ridge Nursery, Dural, New South Wales, Iris and Daylily Catalogue 1998
THORNBIRD (Byers '89 M 92cm) Pale ecru-tan standards, green tan falls with darker hafts and mustard tipped purple horned beards. Unique. You either love it or hate it. Most popular.
Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon, 2000 Iris Fanciers Standard Reference Book.
THORNBIRD (M. Byers '89) M 35" F
This 1997 Dykes Medal winner exhibits such striking unusual colour. The falls are greenish tan, deeper at the hafts.deep violet lines radiate from the beard and suffuse into the centre. The standards are pale ecru. The beards are violet tipped mustard.Bold violet horns grow from the beard. Mild ruffling. HM '91, AM '93, Dykes 97.
Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, 2000 Iris Lovers Catalog.
THORNBIRD (Byers 1989) ML 37"
This is a most distinct Iris, the dark violet horns extending and inch or more from the beards. Like talons, they create an appealing contrast to the flowers delicate shadings. These ecru and greenish tan shades are lighter in the standards and darker in the falls. A prolific bloomer. Thornbird often yields more than one stem per rhizome.HM '91, AM '93, Wister '96, Dykes 97.
AIS checklist 1989
THORNBIRD Monty Byers, Reg. 1988 Sdlg. D156-1-B. TB, 35" (89 cm), M ; S. pale ecru; F. greenish tan, deeper at hafts which are overlaid with deep violet lines radiating out from around beard and suffusing into center; violet beard tipped mustard, violet horns or spoons; lightly ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. Art of Raphael X B-8-2: (Cease-Fire x Sky Hooks). Moonshine Gardens 1989. HM 1991, AM 1993, Wister 1996, Dykes 1997.
For some amazing photos of 'Thornbird' taken in Europe just yesterday visit the Extraordinary Barashka Blog really good photography!!
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter