Tucked away in Masterton’s Queen Elizabeth Park is a little iris garden, originally established by money donated by the Wallis family and named in their honour. Bert and Nance Wallis were keen irisarians and founder members of the New Zealand Iris Society (NZIS) in the late 1940s. Bert loved Tall Beardeds – the taller and brighter the better – while Nance preferred smaller bearded and species irises.
They passed their love of irises onto their family – son-in-law Ron Isles was President of the NZIS and grandson Gareth Winter is the current editor of the Almanac of the Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris. Gareth, who breeds PCIs in Masterton, has donated some of his seedlings to his grandparents’ garden, and I recently went down to have a look and see what was flowering. This exceptional blue variety took my eye, and I couldn’t help but think of 'The Mamas & the Papas' song, “Californian Dreamin”, partly because the next line is ‘on such a Winter’s day’!
I sent Gareth a copy of the photograph and he went over to the park to see the flowers himself, but before he got there a thief in the night had beaten him, and all the flowers had been picked and taken away. While we admire their extreme good taste in stealing the iris flowers we think they should have been left there for the rest of the public to enjoy.
Gareth's blog 'IRISES & ARCHIVES' is an very good read and a link can be found above in 'MUST READ BLOGS'
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter