I first viewed 'Winner's Circle' with much admiration many years ago in the iris display gardens of 'Bay Blooms' Tauranga. I have never seen it listed in any commercial growers catalogue in New Zealand for the last fifteen or so years, and it had me thinking it had just disappeared for good. Fortunately this past bloom season I was lucky to see it blooming in not one but two gardens in the Wairarapa and got to bring several starts back home ( Now there's a Yippee-yi-o-ki-yay moment). Standards are a dark pontiff purple and have a white infusion up through the centre. Falls I find are slightly darker toned with a velvety sheen and have that distinctive white circle rayed out from the vivid violet beard as its signature. . Bloom was smaller and stem height shorter than the registered and catalogue descriptions due to plants growing in overcrowded Iris beds in the garden I viewed (almost had the hallmarks of a Border Bearded iris) but it has just bolted away now growing without the competition at home. Fertile as a pod parent. Sibling to 'Night Out'. Joins some others of this distinctive style 'Speed Limit'(Lauer, '91),'Cocktail Hour'(Robert Dunn '82), 'City Lights'(Mary Dunn,'90), and 'Exotic Star' (Plough,'74) in the garden.
The Iris Year Book 1975, New Irises In the United States by Ron Mullin
'Winner's Circle'(Plough) is a dark blackish violet with white circles on each of the falls. The circles are about one inch in diameter, making this iris one of a kind
Gilbert H. Wild and Son. Inc. Sarcoxie Missouri Peonies-Iris-Daylilies 1981
WINNER'S CIRCLE (Plough 1972)
E.M.L. 38" Large bloom with very broad rounded petals, classically domed standards and flaring falls. Deep black violet very rich and glowing standards, falls are the same but have a large silver dollar size area of pure velvety looking white just below the beard. H.M.1973 A.M. 1975
Bay Blooms Nurseries, Cambridge Road, Tauranga Spring / Summer 1996 Catalogue
A very classy looking variety with standards of a dusky, blackish-violet and falls that are the same colour but with a round white flash below the beard. Flaring flowers on branched stems.
AIS Checklist 1979
WINNER'S CIRCLE (G. Plough, R. 1971) Sdlg. 66-73-7. TB, 34" (86 cm), E-L Standards deep blackish violet; Falls same with 1" round white flash below beard. Wintry Night X Stepping Out. Eden Road 1972. HM 1973, AM 1975.
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