Saturday, May 21, 2016

French Historic Tall Bearded Iris Mademoiselle Schwartz

En 2012 Lawrence Ransom m’a fait parvenir un lot d’iris anciens qu’il avait reçus du Parc Floral de Paris lors de son inventaire de la collection Simonet. Un plan de plantation figurait au dos du bordereau de livraison de ces iris, noté d’une belle calligraphie, avec la précision et la rigueur qui sont celles de Lawrence.

Un rhizome avait été envoyé à Phi Edinger quelques années auparavant (de Lawrence via Michèle Bersillon qui s’était gentiment chargée des modalités d’exportation).
L’identification de cet iris est donc depuis longtemps  à l’étude des deux cotés de l’Atlantique. Il a voyagé incognito sous la fausse identité de ‘Lady Foster’.
Phil Edinger et moi-même avons abouti à la même conclusion sans nous consulter. L’iris est en réalité ‘Mademoiselle Schwartz’ (Denis 1916)
"Mademoiselle Schwartz" a tous les atouts de la beauté juvénile qui a bu à la source de Jouvence. La taille élancée, le teint clair, une beauté immuable.
La pureté de la fleur, sa couleur délicate, les fossettes discrètes de sa gorge sont les garants de la beauté intemporelle des œuvres d’art majeures qui suscitent l’admiration et laissent sans voix.

In 2012, Lawrence Ransom sent me a selection of historic iris that he received from the Parc Floral de Paris during his inventory of the Simonet collection.  A plantation diagram was included on the back of the shipping list sent with these irises, with precise annotations written in beautiful calligraphy by Lawrence. 

Several rhizomes of one cultivar were purchased from Lawrence by Michèle Bersillon at the request of Phil Edinger, cultivated in Michèle's garden and then sent on to Phil the following year in order to comply with export regulations.  The identity of this particular iris had been in question on both sides of the Atlantic for some time and it was both purchased and sent under the false identity of "Lady Foster"

Phil Edinger and myself had come to the same conclusion without comparing our information.  The mystery iris is, in fact, "Mademoiselle Schwartz" (Denis, 1916).  "Mademoiselle Schwartz" has all the qualities of a young beauty who who has consumed water from the Fountain of Youth: slender and tall, delicately coloured and of unchanging beauty.  The flower's purity, its delicate colours and the discreet dimples of its throat are marks of the sort of timeless beauty that characterises those admirable major works of art which leave one in awe. 

Les Iris Cultivés  1922 (choix de 100 variétés pages 30-31-32)
Mademoiselle Schwartz (Denis, 1916), bleu lilas tendre uni.

Cayeux & Le Clerc, Quai de la Mégisserie, 8, Paris. Catalog 1923 
Mademoiselle Schwartz (Denis 1916). Splendid variety, very tall with branching spikes, large flowers pales mauve. Very scarce.

Frank W. Campbell, Detroit, Michigan. Rare Iris, 1923. 

The Rarest and Best Iris Gathered from all the Introducer'sMlle. Schwartz(Denis 1916) Pale mauve. Somewhat color of Caterina, but very different shape. Considered among the worlds very best iris, and stock is always scarce. Well branched, tall, stiff stems................$4.

Treasure Oak Nursery, Mays Landing, New Jersey, Catalog of Select Iris and Peonies, 1923.

The Best and Rarest of the Iris.
Mlle. Schwartz . (Denis 1916. CM., Paris.) ......................................$5 00
Pallida X Ricardi.
A light blue overlustered with pink.
This magnificent Iris, the work of the French amateur, Mons. Denis, is considered to be the best of his many successful seedlings. It is tall, possibly one of the tallest Irises in cultivation, with finely poised spikes much branched and bearing beautiful, durable blooms of Pallida form. Larger than Caterina and more freely inclined to bloom; wonderfully qualified for mass display. The growth of this plant is rapid and vigorous even in the North; the foliage is yellowish green.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January, 1923. Number 7.

European Visits in 1922. John C. Wister.
.................we were well repaid for the trip by seeing such magnificent flowers of Mlle.Schwartz and Cornuault............................Mlle. Schwartz was again very fine and I marked it 9.2

The Sam Carpenter Gardens, Oswego, Kansas. Irises-Peonies-Gladioli-Dahlias, 1925
Mlle. Schwartz , TB. (1916)-Splendid variety, very tall with branching spikes ; large flowers; palest mauve. Scarce and choice·------------ ·----- ---------- $3.50

Cayeux et Le Clerc, Quai de la Mégisserie, 8, Paris. (Annotations L. R.)

Mademoiselle Schwartz (Denis 1916). Plante très haute, aux longs épis ramifiés, portant de grandes fleurs mauve très pâle. Teinte exquise, fraiche et délicate.

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Deuxième Série, 1925-1926.
Iris des Jardins Nouveaux
Mademoiselle Schwartz (Denis). Demi-tardif. Grand et beau pallida, à longues hampes de 110 à 125 cm. Grande fleur de bonne tenue, de teinte unforme, bleu lavande très pâle ; les divisions inférieures sont longues et étalées et les onglets très finement striés, styles de même couleur que les divisions. A obtenu un Certificat de mérite à la Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France.

Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, 1925.
Bearded Iris A perennial suited to all Gardens. Austin W.W. Sand.
Mille. Schwartz  (Denis, 1916). Color effect a mauve veined self.Standards pale mauve. Falls pale mauve, faintly veined the same over the light yellowish outer haft. The plant is moderate to vigorous in growth, producing exceptionally tall, well-branched flowering stalks. The immense size of its bloom is its outstanding feature. Rating 87.
Carl Salbach Berkeley, California, Irises Catalog, 1926.
Mlle. Schwartz (Denis). 87-A lovely pinkish mauve of fine, size and height. $3.50

Iris Fields, West La Fayette, Indiana. Iris of Quality,1926
Mlle. Schwartz (Denis, 1916). A pale mauve self. Very large and of fine form. One of the most outstanding varieties and a great favorite................ 2.00

Lee R. Bonnewitz Catalog,Van Wert, Ohio, A Descriptive Iris List, 1926.

Mlle. Schwartz  (Denis, 1916).
Pale mauve. One of the most artistic Irises. Flowers of good size and form. One of the best irises in commerce, although we believe Mother of Pearl will prove more satisfactory due to its hardier, more vigorous growing habit. The color is somewhat similar.

Bearded Iris Tried at Wisley 1925-1927, Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. 
Class V a. Varieties with standards and falls of the same shade of pale blue-purple
Mlle. Schwartz.   Foliage nearly green, 20 inches. Flowering stems 38 inches, 6 or 7 fld. Flowers of medium size, well proportioned, rather wrinkled, pale lavender mauve ; standards domed ; falls hanging straight ; beard tipped yellow. Flowering for three weeks  from May 14 1927.

Image from Gardening Illustrated January 5th, 1929. Scan courtesy RHS, Lindley Library.

Indian Springs Farm, Baldwinsville, New York.Iris Catalog 1927
Mlle. Schwartz (Denis 1916) 8.7. A large, free-flowering self of finest form. Uniform, soft, light lavender-blue, or mauve, that is distinct, delicate and beautiful. A shade lighter than Mother of Pearl. 48 inches. If given a well-drained location this is a free, robust grower and produces a marvelous garden effect.................. $1.00 each.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1928,"Iris Riccardi as a parent and Nurseries for its children", Geoffrey L. Pilkington.
....The first enthusiast to appreciate this fact, and to put it into practice, was Mons. Denis, who, living on the Mediterranean, near Marseilles, was well located to grow the species Riccardi satisfactorily. He has produced many seedlings using Riccardi as a parent, some thought difficult to grow well, are admittedly beautiful varieties. Perhaps the best known are :-  Mdlle. Schwartz 1916 (Riccardi X pall.dal) which is to be found in many collection of Irises, and which in spite of it's Riccardi parentage is tolerably hardy. 3ft.6in to 4ft.

A.H.Burgess and Son, Iris Specialists, Waikanae, Wellington. 1930.
Mille. Schwartz - Magnificent variety, Very Tall. Colour is a pale Mauve. 4ft. ..............7/6

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Série Générale, 1930.
Mademoiselle Schwartz (Denis). Demi-tardif. Grand et beau pallida, à longues hampes de 110 à 125 cm. Grande fleur de bonne tenue, de teinte uniforme, bleu lavande très pâle; les divisions inférieures sont longues et étalées et les onglets très finement striés, styles de même couleur que les divisions. Certificat de Mérite de la S.N.H.F.

Les Iris Cultivés  1922

AIS Checklist 1939
MILLE. SCHWARTZ (Ferdinand Denis, 1916) TB. M. B7L. Millet & Fils 1916; The Garden 1919;Lee R. Bonnewitz 1920; Earl Woodward Sheets, 1928; Garden Illustrated 1929; Gilroy 1929; Fillmore Gardens 1937; Tip Top Gardens 1937; Rowancroft Gardens 1938;  'Ricardi' x 'Dalmatica'. AAA Journal Royal Horticultural Society  136; C.M., S.N.H.F. 1922; Journal Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France. 23; 214, June 1922; A.M. R.H.S. Award of Merit,Royal Horticultural Society 1931;

Merci beaucoup to Catherine Adam  for sharing with us all the above information and amazing photos. Its always a privilege to have Catherine Adam write for Heritage Irises. Catherine officially vets the Iris collection at the Parc Floral de Paris so she writes with some authority.

 Major Hat Tip to Phil Edinger for his succinct contributions and direction.

A Double Hat Tip to the RHS, Lindley Library, and their amazing staff for the above Gardening Illustrated image scan. 
As always clicking on the above images will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Reproduction in whole or in part of these photo's without the expressed written permission of Catherine Adam is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Catherine Adam © .

Reproduction in whole or in part of this post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of 
Catherine Adam is strictly prohibited. 


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