How is this for a Classic 6o's Iris?? Tall Bearded Iris 'Black Swan' a red black of classic form, large blooms on well branched tall stems, with buds that open easily.Open standards and the edge of the falls are tightly ruffled, this coupled with its dark brown bearded and contrasting white stamens all help to make the Iris an easy iris to ID (the falls have that look like they have been rolled with a pastry crimper). Fantastic plant health with generous increase, and clean green foliage that is accentuated with a beautiful purple base (PBF). There is a great Charles Harrison studio photo taken under artificial light of Black Swan on the HIPS website which was published some forty years ago in the R.E. Harrison, 'Know your Bulbs and Perennials A book for Southern Hemisphere Gardeners', a very popular New Zealand written and published book at the time, but I think photos of Irises growing in garden situations using the natural light gives a better photo. But hey, Whatever floats yout boat!!!
The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1960.
Black and Whites, Harry J. Randall, C.B.E.
In Mrs Anley's garden I saw BLACK TAFFETA (Songer, 1954) and BARNETT ANLEY, raised by Mrs Anley herself from (BLACK FOREST X EBONY QUEEN)X BLACK TAFFETA. Both are fine irises with wide petals and nice ruffling; but both have faint , white lines around the beards. This is not necessarily a fault, and to some growers it might be a virtue; but I mention it after seeing the very latest production from Orville Fay- BLACK SWAN. One must never judge an iris on its first-year performance in this or any other country. My provisional view, which is shared by many visitors to my garden , is that BLACK SWAN is the darkest and smoothest "black" we have yet seen in England. It has no haft markings, its dark brown beard harmonizes with the rest of the the flower, and the only contrast is provided by the pure white stamens which seem to shine like small, bright lights on a dark night. BLACK SWAN will be critically watched in 1961 when I hope that it will come up to my present expectations.
Bulletin of the American Iris Society, July 1960, Number 158. The George Shoop Garden, Hugo Wall.
BLACK SWAN, introduced by Orville Fay this year, is a rich red-black of velvety texture and great substance. The thick, wide beard, created by a blending of purple and yellow hairs, gives depth and richness to the lustrous dark flower. A 35-inch bloomstalk and five increase indicated the vigor we have come to expect from Orville's plants.
The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1961 .
The American Scene - 1961 Barbara F. Walther, Director of the Presby Memorial Iris Garden.
By Sunday and Monday the weather had cleared a bit and a number of fine irises came into bloom and one which might be said to have taken the Convention by storm was BLACK SWAN (Fay). It continued to be the favourite of visitors throughout the blooming season of the gardens. It is a tall iris with a large flower which is beautifully formed, flared and lightly ruffled. Its colour is almost black. The standards show a underlying redness but the velvety falls are so dark that it is hardly discernible in them. It might be well to pause here and to state that the selections of irises and the opinions concerning them are those of the writer.
Cooley's Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 1962.
BLACK SWAN (Fay, '60) Each $15.00
As sleek and as ebon-hued as the graceful bird for which it is named, with both Black Hills and Sable Night in its parentage. It will satisfy those looking for just about the ultimate in dark Iris, great size, very wide petals, smooth velvety surface and a brown beard tipped black. 35 inches. HM AIS, 1960
Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1962, Number 164. Irises We Liked, Ralph and Helen Lewis.
BLACK SWAN (Fay '60). An extremely large and very beautiful black flower, very well formed, with tight standards and semi-flaring falls. The beard is brown tipped black. Petals are beautifully waved. The stalks are tall, strong and well branched. Floriferous and vigorous wherever it was seen.
Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1962, Number 167.
Irises From North Carolina's Coastal Plains to the Foot of Pikes Peak, Ralph and Helen Lewis.
BLACK SWAN (Fay 1960). One of the largest and most spectacular black irises that we have seen. The form is excellent, with closed standards and broad, wavy falls. Stems are tall and strong and the plant is an excellent performer.
Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lover's 1965 Catalog.
BLACK SWAN (Fay, 1960) M, 35"
Several large copiously proportioned flowers open at the same time on a rugged, well branched stem. The petals are wide and of a deep blackish tone with a brown tipped beard. It's rich tones stand out dramatically when contrasted with light iris or green foliage. Highly recommended. HM '60. AM '62.
Wanganui Irises, Lynch's Lane, Putiki, Wanganui. Irises 1964-65.
BLACK SWAN (Fay, U.S.A.)
At last- a black iris with everything! Slowly over the years iris breeders have been improving this colour class, building up height and size of bloom until the "blacks" cold hold up their heads in any company and Black Swan may well remain the criterion of this class for many years. Huge blooms of ruffled black velvet stand tall on well branched stems with excellent petal substance, vigorous, free flowering- this is indeed the black iris you have been looking for- plant it now to offset those lighter tones. A.M. 1962. 3ft..............................................21/-
Bulletin of the American Iris Society, July 1964, Number 174.
Reports From Region 15-Southern California.BLACK. Mrs. George M. Roach, Sr.
BLACK SWAN (Fay '60). Parts have adequate width. It must be remembered with color saturation we do sacrifice the extreme width found in other color classifications. This is a black from the red side with a bronze-tipped beard that has a tendency to bloom out in southern California.
BLACK SWAN (Fay, R. 1960) Sdlg. 57-18 TB 35" M RN1D Reddish-black self; brown beard Sable Night X 53-68., Fay, Moldovan 1960. HC 1958, JC 1961, HM 1960, AM 1962
An iris was recently listed on Trade Me labelled 'Black Swan' and would you believe it the written description stated it came with a "Purple Beard". The seller in Martinbrough used a borrowed (stolen) photo from a Commercial growers web site in England of the correct 'Black Swan' and then mirror/flipped the image perhaps to confuse people into thinking it was her photo to use. Now I have no idea who purchased this iris but in a few years time they will be in for a surprise and so will the seller in Martinborough if she continues to steal photos that are not hers to use from the internet.
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version. Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.