If you know 'Cherry Garden' the SDB then you will be familiar with the colour of 'Soundz of Counties' but that's where the familiarities finish. This Border Bearded Iris has branching (if you can call it that) far to close to the stalk, the flowers open touching the stalk and the blooms have crowded each other which never is a good look, and this is exactly what the photo shows one flower on top of the other. We all have the right to ask more of a new iris than just "new and introducing this season".
Let me quote a respected opinion on breeding irises ;
"Branching sufficient to display adequately the blooms according to their size, and height of stem to give balance to the flower, are also essential virtues. Beauty of form, substance, and colour are lost, if the branching is not sufficiently wide to display each flower separately. I have seen lovely seedlings, the first flowers of which looked perfect, but the branching was so poor that the succeeding flowers ruined the whole effect. Very short branching will mean that individual flowers will crowd each other out on the main stem until form and balance are lost in overlapping petals and a splash of colour". Jean Stevens, Iris and its Culture, Part One, 'On Breeding Bearded Irises'.
I will give this iris the benefit of the doubt and grow it on for another season to see if this poor branching trait decides to grow itself out via maturity, I'll keep you updated. In the meantime should you need a Border Bearded Iris of this colour tone and you don't want to compromise on good form and lets face it you shouldn't have to, go looking for a supplier who has Duane Meek's 'Honky Tonk Hussy'(1991) or Terry Aitken's 'Cranapple' (1995) both are award winning irises with good branching and are available in New Zealand for very reasonable prices.
New Zealand Hybridisers Checklist 2011
SOUNDZ OF COUNTIES Peter Berry, Reg., 2010. Sdlg. SA 98-6. BB 26" (65 cm), E. S. and style arms maroon; F. same, white lines at haft; beards white base, hairs tipped ginger in throat and middle, white base tipped maroon at end; slight fragrance. Cascade Pass X Cherry Garden. Limavady Irises 2011.
As usual, clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.