Sunday, December 21, 2008

Otara Birch Gardens visit



Yesterday called in to see Eddie Johns at Otara Birch Gardens without a doubt the best and largest collection of Japanese Irises in New Zealand and a very important Iris Gene Pool. Above photo is one of Eddie's 6 fall seedlings.Also in the gardens grows some amazing Hostas plus a virtual A-Z of unusual Horticulture splendor. Make sure you Visit his blog nzata@otarabirch

Iris Versicolor seedling that took my eye.

The Hosta House a sea of green

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New Zealand Iris Grower 'The Iris Garden '

Julie May is the owner of 'The Iris Garden' a mecca for Iris lovers with an amazing display garden. Sorry no more mail orders. Potted Iris for sale at the nursery include Arilbred, Modern Tall Bearded Iris, some Intermediate Iris and historic Iris. The display garden is a great place to visit and offers a delightful Devonshire Tea, seated under the cherry tree or in the old cottage itself. The Iris Garden has the largest display of Ron Busch Irises which is worth a visit just to see the collection.

Group bookings welcome open October to November. Julie has also informed me 'The Iris Garden' is now available as a wedding venue.
Please remember to check out the website.

As always clicking on the above images will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

The Iris Garden
451 Ridge Road
Phone (03) 329 7825
Web Site; The Iris Garden
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New Zealand Iris Grower 'Amazing Iris Garden '



Amazing Iris Garden
292 Busby Road,
122 Walford Road
Web Site

Wendy Begbie is the owner of Amazing Iris Gardens located in Katikati, Bay of Plenty. Large Size rhizomes. Extensive Catalogue lists Dwarf ,Border, Intermediate,and Tall Bearded Irises. Wendy is a great supporter of New Zealand Bred Irises and this is reflected in the Catalogue listings.I have always received very friendly service and prompt replies to email inquires. Good price range and great service. Give this nursery a try!!
Click on catalogue cover for new web site link

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New Zealand Iris Grower 'Kingswood Irises'



Kingswood Irises
15 Railway Road
R D 1

Phone/Fax (03) 2313230
Write to Marion Rutherford for Kingswood Irises Catalogue which is on CD with some of the best Iris photos around. Catalogue lists Miniature,Standard, Border, Intermediate, and Miniature Tall Bearded Irises. Good prices and catalogue is a mixture of Historic , Heritage, and Modern irises. Always received very friendly service.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris "PRETTYFIELD "

This Tall Bearded Iris is a treasure to grow and is unusual in that at a distance it looks just like just another White Iris only to reveal its sophisticated semi-flaring subtle blue falls and clear bright white standards to the viewer once they get a little closer.A truly first class Iris from the late Paul Cook and a must have for Iris growers with good taste.Pollen Fertile.
I have an strong interest in Irises that have 'Progenitor' in their parentage, which is a cross between a yellow form of I.reichenbachii and Shinning Waters which was used a lot in Paul Cooks blue amoena introductions .I find equality fascinating, Joe Ghio's use of I.balkana which appears in the parentage of 'Prophecy' (A previous post) .W.R Dykes considered balkana to be a brown purple form of I.reichenbachii .(Handbook of Garden Irises W.R.Dykes 1924)

Schreiners Iris Lovers Catalog 1964
PRETTYFIELD (P. Cook, 1959) ML 36"
A pale amoena with absolute immaculate white standards and falls of increasing shades of blue, from the lightest tints and hues at the center of the flower to deeper blue at the edges of the petals. Enchanting HM 59.

Picture courtesy Cooleys Gardens Catalog 1965

Cooleys Gardens Catalog 1965
PRETTYFIELD (P. Cook, 1959)
Clean white standards: White falls delicately blended or flushed clear blue around the outer margins. The beard is a bright yellow. This may sound like a familiar blue plicata pattern but it is a decidedly different type. Large flower; 36' stems. HM AIS 1959

AIS Checklist 1959
PRETTYFIELD (P. Cook, R. 1958). Sdlg. 11655. TB 38" M. W4. S. white; F. pale bluish violet to light violet at margin. Cahokia X sdlg. 3550., Cook 1959. HM 1959.
Note; Seedling 3550 is (blue sdlg. x (Progenitor x Shining Waters))

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris "PEACH SPOT "

Another Re-blooming dazzling, zestful colour combination from George Shoop still flowering off and on well after all the other Tall Bearded Irises have packed their blooms away until next year. Fragrant with just the right amount of ruffles and a lovely grower. This photo taken today after some heavy downpours of rain last night and this morning.

GEORGE A SHOOP, 2009 N.E. Liberty, Portland, Oregon 97211, 1973.
PEACH SPOT (Shoop '73). TB. 36" Midseason
White, lightly ruffled standards. White broad falls, with a medium colored peach spot covering two thirds of the fall. Good substance and form. Tangerine beard. Branched. Fine plant. New-different. 68-30-1 HC '72
Snow Peach X sib....................$25.00

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1975, Number 219.Vintage Year. Larry L. Harder, Nebraska.
PEACH SPOT from George Shoop gives us a color pattern not seen for a long time: white with a large peach spot on each fall.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, Summer 1978, Number 230. Flightlines, Medians, Joe Gatty, California:
If you wish to have fun IBs try a cross of PEACH SPOT or SNOW PEACH with DOVE WINGS. The row of these that I bloomed were a fun lot of seedlings-all amoenas with fall pattern of apricot, peach and violet on white.

AIS Checklist 1979
PEACH SPOT (G. Shoop, R. 1973). Sdlg. 68-30-1. TB 36" (91 cm) M. S. lightly ruffled white; F. white with large medium peach spot; tangerine beard. Snow Peach X sib., Shoop 1973. Highly Commended 1972, Honorable Mention 1974

Available in America from Riverview Iris Gardens, Bluebird Haven Iris Garden, Blue J Iris, The Iris Farm

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris "LATIN LOVER "

40 years old next year, another reliable Historic Iris I grow and its a re-bloomer. Good Straight stems, multi budded with branching, and a plant with high Health and shows good increase. The beard colouration is a wonder of nature and plant breeding, it's a great feature and I love it!

AIS Bulletin April 1969, page 88;
GEORGE SHOOP (Hybridiser) Portland Oregon.

LATIN LOVER (Shoop 69) Mid-season. 36" Lavender-pink standards, ruffled and closed. Grape-wine falls with a distinctive lavender-pink rim on the top and reverse side of the ruffled, flaring falls.Tangerine beards. Good substance and form. An exciting new bicolor. Good stalk and plant. 64-16 (long line of pink amoena seedlings x Whole Cloth) X Wine and Roses

H.C.1968, 34 votes..........................$25.00

Cooley's Gardens catalog 1974:
This wine and pink bicolor is most distinguished with its rich, velvety grape-wine falls and a lavender-pink pin stripe around the edge. Standards lavender-pink, well closed - tangerine beard. Strong stalks and good growing habits.

AIS Checklist 1969
LATIN LOVER (G. Shoop, R. 1969). Sdlg. 64-16. TB 36" M. RV3PF. S light lavender-pink; F grape wine with light lavender-pink rim; tangerine beard; ruffled. (Inv. pink amoena sdlgs. x Whole Cloth) X Wine and Roses., Shoop 1969. HC 1968,HM 1970, AM 1972.

The variety is available in New Zealand from commercial iris growers who I have had no dealings with to date, or commercial iris growers that I have purchased plants from but would not recommend others to do so.
Available in America from Riverview Iris Gardens, Bluebird Haven Iris Garden, Blue J Iris, The Irises of Shadowood.
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'FOGGY DEW'

I have several clumps of the Pollen fertile Tall Bearded Iris 'Foggy Dew' spread around the Gardens. Always looks outstanding growing among the deep blues and black Irises. This variety is a vigorous grower with great plant health. 40 years old and is still an Iris that is much admired.

 Bulletin of the American Iris Society, April 1969. Number 193.
MORE CALIFORNIA FLAGS, 1969 Introductions, Keith Keppel, Stockton, California.

FOGGY DEW. M. 38" SIVA SIVA X DIPLOMACY. A pastel blended bicolor plicata?? The closed standards are pale, softly blended amber-cream and lavender. The flared and ruffled falls are white with a wide soft violet border, plus deeper violet plicata markings toward the haft. Lavender and light yellow style arms. Different but subtle. H.C. 1968....................$25.00

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1969. Number 195.
"They'll Never Believe Me".  Lura B. Roach
FOGGY DEW (Keppel '69) was 'Seen in the garden as 64-37Q'. If there is such a thing as an amoena-plicata class, this iris certainly fits into it. This one lost its bloom stalk in the gale so I'll just have to describe it as it grows in my garden. A single rhizome planted last 'Summer' put up two bloom-stalks and made two nice increases. The foliage was a nice dark green and very vigorous. The thirty-six inch stalk had three modified candelabra type branches plus the terminal and all bud sockets were multiple and well timed. The large flower is well balanced with very ruffled erect pale lavender standards that touch. The broad flaring ruffled falls have a white base and are finely stippled with light violet in a plicata pattern. At the hafts this pattern becomes darker. The beard is an inconspicuous white. Texture is waxy and the substance is heavy and tough. Individual flowers lasted well for several days.

The Iris Year Book 1971

1st.- no 23 'Foggy Dew' (Keppel 1969) U.S.A. 80 points
Winner of the Premio Firenze for 1971, this is a representative of a new pattern in T.B. irises. Coming from Siva Siva X Diplomacy it is an "amoena plicata", and has taken lessons from its father which came second in the trial of 1969. The tightly coned standards are a soft blue, edged with pale yellow and with no plicata markings, the forms are white widely flared, with a blue stippling round most of the edge, but where the white beard starts the stippling changes to an all over pattern in deep violet making a fine contrast. When the judges arrived the clump of seven stems was in full flower and it says much for it that after a hot week including a thunderstorm ( which left it undamaged) a fine spike with five open flowers was still available for the prize giving ceremony. The stems had well spaced branching on there 32 inch height, with 7 to 10 buds, increase was good and the purple flushed fans a picture of health. The delicate colours were sun proof and the flowers lasted four days each in perfect shape despite the substance seeming to be in no way outstanding.

Mission Bell Gardens, Roy, Utah. Iris for 1973
FOGGY DEW (Keppel, '69)M 38in.
Beautiful pastel bicolor-plicata. Some thing new and completely lovely ! Warm white stands tightly closed; flare ruffled falls with wide soft violet border and deeper violet plic markings toward haft. Vigorous. (Siva Siva X Diplomacy). HM '70

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1975,"The Garden at Tanglewood", page 116,George H. Preston.
'Foggy Dew' is one of those new and unusual creations resulting from crossing of a bicolour with a plicata, the flowers were nicely shaped on well branched stems, but it is not easy to describe the colouring, the tightly held standards being of a creamy white and pale lavender blend, and flaring ruffled falls with a wide, soft violet-coloured border and deeper violet plicata markings toward the haft to show off a yellow beard. It is blessed with up to 10 buds, is a unique and interesting colour, but not one to show up well in the garden.

BayBloom Nurseries, Tauranga, The Connoisseurs Catalogue Spring-Summer 1988

FOGGY DEW. A misty and beautiful pastel bicolour plicata. A warm white ruffled flower with a soft band of violet to the edge of the falls............... $3.00

AIS Checklist 1969

FOGGY DEW (Keith Keppel, R. 1968). Sdlg. 64-37Q. TB 38" M. W2VY. S pastel blended greyed cream (M&P 19-B-1) and lavender (43-B-2); F white ground, wide soft violet border with darker plicata markings (42-H-8 to 46-L-8); white beard tipped yellow. Siva Siva X Diplomacy., Keppel 1969. HC 1968. H.M 1970. Premio Firenze 1971.

For the latest from Keith be sure to visit the 'Keith Keppel Iris' web site listed in the International Iris Links above

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Siberian Iris Seedling

Siberian Iris seedling blooming this morning. Its the start of a new line I am hoping to achieve in extending the bloom season and try and get some re-bloom thrown into the mix. To early to say if this seedling will re-bloom but it has good form and good size blooms each stem having One branch and 5 buds with blooms above the foliage, has good vigorous growth, all of which might make it avoid the compost heap. Still there is another 25 seedlings in this cross yet to bloom so here's hoping for some colour variation.
Ran it past my good Siberian Iris friend Ellen Gallagher who "loved it" especially the ruffling which is "just the right amount"

A diploid with great parents. Springs Brook X ( Salamander Crossing X Just Cruising )

Immediately after the photo was taken it was selfed so is now looking a little sad with no standards and the falls all tied up, so I will soon get to see if it is fertile. (plenty of pollen which is generally always a good sign)

Click on any photo to view a larger image
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Friday, December 5, 2008

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'AUTUMN PRINCE'

Iris Hunting life sometimes has lucky breaks. The above iris was photographed this year in the Wallis Memorial Iris Gardens, (named after Masterton iris growers and breeders Bert and Nance Wallis), Queen Elizabeth Park, Masterton, a town close to where I live. The Wairarapa Iris Group looks after the garden and when I inquired as to its name, to my surprise (not really) no one knew!!!!!
After some research, I considered that the Iris could be ' AUTUMN PRINCE'. Just last week I received a catalogue from the Amazing Iris Garden and saw the iris was listed but no photo, so I sent my photos to Ron Busch to see if by some remote chance I was on a winning ticket with my ID. Just this minute I got off the phone to Ron and find my hunch was right - it is the same 'AUTUMN PRINCE' that he has in his photo album.
The added plus is that Ron, when explaining to me his breeding programme at the time this Iris was introduced, is that their was a strong likelihood the 'SUNSET SNOWS' would be somewhere in 'AUTUMN PRINCE' parentage.
This is a great looking iris that, whilst might not be the tallest of Tall Bearded Irises, is stunning when seen in a clump. There are several clumps
in the Wairarapa of this iris growing in different gardens that I have seen since my first encounter with this iris and each clump does not disappoint, even though they probably needed dividing some years ago.

AIS Checklist 1999
AUTUMN PRINCE (R. Busch, R. 1991). Sdlg. 8391/2. TB, 36" (91 cm), M. S. white blushed lavender, copper gold centre veining; F. tan, deeper toward hafts, violet blush below yellow beard. Unknown parentage. Irwell Iris Garden 1992.

If you want a quality New Zealand Amoena Garden or Show Iris then this outstanding iris is deserving of a place in your garden, I have ordered it this year and are looking forward to its long stay in my garden.
Exclusively sold in New Zealand by Amazing Iris Garden 138 Walford Road, RD2 KATIKATI Phone 07 549-2429 or visit the web site

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 ©.

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Note; I have taken a bet with fellow iris grower that by time "IRWELL ACE" blooms in my garden next bloom season and a picture of the iris which has to be taken by me is posted on my blog, that no published picture or article in any major NZ garden publication featuring
"IRWELL ACE" will have occurred. The Bet does not included a blurred photo featured in a limited print members only garden club booklet. Its a bet I would love to loose but I am not holding my breath!!!
To Mr Harris, "sufficient at present" with reference to publicity in this matter is no longer relevant. Your 'GOYA'
moment has arrived.

Myself personally, have tired of tiptoeing around the issue of the better promotion of New Zealand Bred Irises. So from now if the job is not been done and someone or some organisation is responsible for doing something to improve the current status, but not pulling their weight they will receive a sideswipe on this blog. 2009 is going to be an interesting year for some, which could include if the rumors
are correct the setting up of a new Iris Organisation within New Zealand!!!(probably the best option to have this issue and others addressed expeditiously)

Promotion of New Zealand Bred Irises does not include Irises registered in New Zealand that have a parentage as a packet of seed from overseas. Growing seed on is not a NZ breeding program is just an extension of someone's overseas breeding program without critical selection. Seed from overseas is helpful in extending the available gene pool to hybridisers, but should not be used for extending egos


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Miniature Tall Bearded Iris 'MEADOW LARK'

MEADOW LARK (mtb) 1940, Mrs Mary Frakes Tharp, pioneer iris hybridizer of Payette, IDAHO.

The variety blooming over by the Woolshed yesterday. An iris who's colouration is not generally well thought of by many, but at home growing amongst darker background foliage of the roses and the purple penstemon it is without question a stand out iris. It's like a little neon sign saying 'come and look at me'.
This iris was registered as a Tall Bearded as you can see in the checklist description below but there is no doubt that the Iris is a Table or Miniature Tall Bearded and a plicata of sorts. It was not until the publication of the 1959 Checklist that Miniature tall bearded (mtb) or table irises as they were also known received their own classification. (They were also known in breeding circles in the 1920 as "runts'). They are closely related to Historic diploid irises commonly referred to once as "flag irises'. The Official classification is, Miniature Tall Bearded, (mtb) 16 – 27.5" tall, the flower is no more than 6" combined width + height, blooms with the TB’s.
Table Irises flower for me just after the Tall Bearded Iris. Flowers are smaller than Tall Bearded which make them suitable for table decorations hence the name.
Iris growers that I have contact with in Auckland have explained that modern Tall bearded Irises do not do so well, but Irises like the historic I.pallida which is a diploid, grows,blooms, and survives, so it stands to reason that Miniature Tall Bearded Iris (also mostly Diploid) will be strong candidate for success in this area also.
My advice to Auckland gardeners is buy a couple varieties to plant in your garden and give them a shot. For the rest of New Zealand, Miniature Tall Bearded Iris will grow anywhere Tall Bearded Iris grow.

Richmond Iris Gardens, Hill Street, Richmond, New Zealand. IRISES 1971-1972
Border Irises
Standards greenish mustard, falls cream flecked all over like the back of a meadow lark

AIS Checklist 1949
MEADOW LARK TB M Y5D rev. (Tharp 1940) R.1940 ( Y seedling X EUPHONY )
Reader's will note in the color classification from the 1949 Checklist Y5D rev. it has the notation of rev. which is added to the symbol letters and means reversed i.e. the darker tone above.

This Iris is available from Kingswood Irises 15 Railway Road Woodlands R D 1 Invercargill Write to Marion Rutherford for their Catalogue which is on CD with some of the best Iris photos around.

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 ©.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Iris Family "NEW BOOK"



The Iris Family
Natural History and Classification
By Peter Goldblatt and John C. Manning

New Iris books are always good. Apparently this book will not arrive in New Zealand until January 2009 and the expected landed price will be NZ$200.00 plus.
Fortunately it is Available Internationally NOW from Amazon for US$50.37 a saving of 37% off the American List price so click HERE and go directly to the Site and treat yourself for Christmas or click on the book cover above its a great deal!!!!

Publisher's Notes.
Hardcover, 336 pages,233 color photos, 62 line drawings, 1 map, 21.0 x 28.0 centimeters, Timber Press
Irises and their relatives are lily-like plants related to the orchid and narcissus families, with whom they share a propensity for large, brightly colored, attractive flowers. Many have long lasting flowers — Iris, Gladiolus, and Freesia are among the most important cut-flower crops in the world. The intricate flowers of the iris family are finely adapted for pollination by a variety of animals, including hummingbirds, sunbirds, beetles, butterflies, moths, wasps, and bees. This intimate connection between flower form and pollination biology reveals how the marvellous range of flower colors, shapes, and scents are vital to the lives of the species. The diversity of Iridaceae is illustrated in more than 200 superb photographs supplemented by expert line drawings. A lifetime of work by the world's expert on Iridaceae is distilled in this definitive account. Botanists, ecologists, naturalists, and gardeners will find this an essential reference.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008


One of Barry Blyth's introductions that in my opinion is completely underrated. A fantastic late flowering Amoena, that has remained under the radar probably due to the date of its release which preceded the internet age and the ease of digital photography so missed the publicity that it justly deserves. An excellent garden Iris that grabs visitors attention . High health, good increase, great bud count and branching, it is without doubt a must have in anyone's garden. Quality all round.

Tempo Two, Barry and Lesley Blyth, East Road, Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia, Season 1986-87
Tall Bearded Iris, New Introductions for 1986/87.
ORIENTAL ALABASTER (Blyth 86 Aust) M-ML 38". A lovely near amoena with a smooth application of colour just like alabaster. Standards are creamy white with deeper flush at midribs; falls are a lovely smooth creamy apricot. Beards are red tangerine. Flowers are wide and ruffled and are larger than usual for this class of amoena. A super grower and prolific flowerer. (Cameo Wine x (Love Chant x Festive
Skirt)) ........................................$25.00

AIS Checklist 1989
ORIENTAL ALABASTER (B. Blyth, R. 1986). Sdlg. Q108-A. TB 38" (97 cm) M-VL. S. creamy white, flushed apricot at midrib; F. smooth creamy apricot; red tangerine beard; ruffled. Cameo Wine X (Love Chant x Festive Skirt)., Tempo Two 1986/7.

Sold in New Zealand by Richmond Irises, in Australia it can be purchase from Yarrabee Garden and Iris, and I am yet find who sells it in America if someone knows please leave the information as a comment.

Clicking 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 ©.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'MAJORETTE'

If I were only allowed to grow 10 irises this would be near the top the list. "Majorette" a strong grower that shows good increase. Bloom is bright and exciting for an almost Plicata that is both different and pleasing. When this Iris was first listed by Lyons Iris Gardens in America, it sold for the princely sum of $14.00. Can't say for sure who still sells this Iris in New Zealand but if I find out I will adjust this post later.

Lyons Irisland, 1955 Catalog, Lyons Iris Gardens, Van Nuys, California.
MAJORETTE (Miess 1953)
Vivid in coloring, unusual. Light medium red-violet shading to deep red-violet on the fall petals, white beard, white plicata markings on the shoulders- these points have special charm. Flaring falls, graceful ruffling. Mid-season 36" (Golden Gleam X Wayfarer) Honorable Mention 1954.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada, Regional Bulletin, Spring 1958.
Varietal Comment, Mildred B. Maris, Live Oak, California.

MAJORETTE (Miess '53) So many reds burn from our hot sun, but this one does well for me. The color is red violet, flaring and ruffled. There is a white plicata stippling at the haft and a white beard.The form is excellent . It has everything good iris should have

Schreiner's Iris Lover's Catalogue,1958.
MAJORETTE (Miess,1953) E.M. 36"
An Iris with deep maroon falls interestingly etched and feathered white, plicata-like, around the white beard in a vivid manner. Upright standards are a fitting climax to this royal purple coloured Iris.HM 1954; AM 1956

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada, Regional Bulletin, Fall 1958.
Varietal Comment, Mary Ollmann, Menlo Park, California.

MAJORETTE (Miess '53) After three seasons I have decorated it with my own medal for performance beyond the call of duty. Even the fine foliage seems to resist spot and rust.

Iris Colorama Catalog,1961, Marble Iris Gardens, Grandview, Washington. 
MAJORETTE (Miess 1953) HM, 38"
An unusual Iris of red violet with a lighter area around the beard. This bicolor is soft and loverly with a richness and quality that is sure to please every iris grower. H.M., 1954: A.M., 1956.

Courtesy of  Lyons Irisland  Catalog 1955

AIS Checklist 1959
MAJORETTE (Miess, R. 1952). TB 36" M. RV3. S. rosemary (M & P 44-H4); F. deep maroon (M&P 47-L7), or light medium red-violet and deep red-violet. (Name released by Mrs. Mary Tharp.) Golden Gleam x Wayfarer., Syllmar 1953. HM 1954; AM 1956.

As always clicking on the above images will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'ANNOUNCEMENT'

Photo taken at home this morning.

AIS Checklist
ANNOUNCEMENT (Paul Black, R. 2002) Sdlg. F158AA. TB, 34" (86 cm), M
S. pastel cameo pink, slight crystalline rim; style arms pastel pink, violet midline; F. pastel blue violet, pale violet white halo edge, white haft with few tan veins; beards tangerine, violet flounce; ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. To the Point X Lookout Point. Mid-America 2002 HM 2004 AM 2006

Its good to get the view of hybridisers concerning their introductions and Paul sent me these comments on 'Announcement' in an email this morning.
"I've been very pleased with 'Announcement' both in the garden and in the AIS awards system. It received an AM in 2006. It has been very consistent in formation of the appendages. It also opens the flowers without distorting the falls which happens often with space-age irises. It also forms a relatively tight clump which I also like."
$SOLD OUT last season at Mid-America Iris Nursery so look forward to it next season if you live in America.Not listed this current season with any New Zealand Iris grower that I have received a catalogue from.

Clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Historic Tall Bearded Iris "AZURITE"



Purchased this iris some years ago and has become a garden favourite. I will have to shift it this season as the dogwood trees are starting to shade it, hence the only slight blue edging on the falls. If you can find it buy it!!! It's one classy lady

Schreiners Iris Lover's 1964 Catalog
AZURITE Highly individual.... a plicata that could almost be called a 'white plicata'. A few minute, lightest, speckling and dots of light violet and then nestled in the center of the flower is its main attraction--- strikingly rich blue style arms and crests. Most unusual. HM '61

AIS Checklist 1959
AZURITE (Sass-Plough, R. 1959). Sass, Sdlg. 53-6. TB 34" M, W2V. White ground with methyl-violet stitching, Moorish blue styles and crest. Sass 49-59 x Dancing Waters., Eden Road 1960.

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Iris variegata 'var.Reginae'

Iris variegata 'var.Reginae', collected in Hungary in 1947 but I am most sure that this natural clone has been around many century's before the date it was collected. There must be huge amounts of these types of Irises in parts of Europe and Russia that western gardeners are still oblivious to.
Plant is about 40cm tall and the flowers size is approx. 6cm in height. Flowers just above the foliage and usually bears two or three lateral heads. Glaucous green ribbed foliage. It's one tough little plant.
Super species type for Heritage gardens.
I have no idea where this plant can be purchased from in New Zealand.

Photo copyright Iris Hunter

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris "PRIZE LADY"

First bloomed for me at home 4 days ago,and what a top surprise. 'PRIZE LADY' was given this name by Noel Lapham because as you can see in the checklist description it had won a CM in 2005. Please don't ask me what a CM is but it seems a obscure Award for such an outstanding Iris. One would think this amazing Iris is been considered for New Zealand's Highest Iris Award. It is my opinion (and that's what this blog is) that this iris is of a international standard, more than a match for imported varieties, showing high health, good increase, height, great bud count,and edgy colour tones. Fertility unknown.

'Broken Dreams' the pod parent has traits of broken colour but it seems to be seasonal and is some what erratic and inconsistent and this can be on the same plant in the same season. Reminiscent of that stable broken colour Tall bearded Iris of the 80's "Maria Torena" (Allan Ensminger '87) which is an Iris I admire a lot.

2011 New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist

PRIZE LADY (Mr. Noel Lapham, R. 2007). TB, 37" (95cm), M. S. peach pink, ruffled; style arms pink, F. purple splashes at tips blending to lemon influence around vivid orange beards. Broken Dreams X Unknown. CM 2005 Mossburn Iris Gardens 2007

As always, clicking the image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Monday, November 10, 2008

New Zealand Iris 'MUNRO SPECIAL'

Munro Special growing in Mrs Mary Greaves garden in Masterton, NZ.

Standards on this lovely iris are a lavender blue, and the falls are a great show of velvety purple edged lavender blue with conspicuous white lines radiating from the haft's giving the blooms a distinguishing Heritage look. Plant is vigorous and has good plant health. It is yet to show good branching, but hopefully this will come to pass next year when the clump is more established. Good for floral display as well as being a choice garden variety.

AIS Checklist 2007
MUNRO SPECIAL (Gwen Henderson, R. 2007). Sdlg 96-163-1. TB, 33" (85 cm), ML. S. pale blue to lavender; F. dark velvety purple, lighter blue lavender rim; hafts white veined dark purple, beards white tipped yellow. N Lapam 0-51-1 X Unknown Mossburn Iris Gardens 2007


Named after the bike of famous Southlander the late Burt Munro of the "Worlds Fastest Indian' fame who is related to Gwen Henderson.

As always, clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'BLUSHING BEAUTY'

Purchased this Iris from an grower in Wanaka who no longer sells commercially and it is a looker. A complete delight to us each year it flowers and growing amongst a bed of blue irises, its subtle soft warm white with peachy pink flushed hafts, its large blooms (165mm/6½ inches) stand out like a beacon making it a very pleasant Historic Iris.

AIS Checklist 1969
BLUSHING BEAUTY (Noyd, R. 1964) Sdlg. N61-3-33 TB 34" EM WS S warm white flushed pink at base; F white, clear pink at haft; coral beard, serrated edges (Pink Mauve Mohr x (Midwest Gem x New Horizon)) X Apple Valley., Noyd 1964 HM 1965

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'CRYSTAL GLITTERS'

Purchased this iris last year from 'The Iris Garden' only because it was reasonably priced. After flowering I have come to realise that with a $8.00 price tag this iris is more than just great value. I would recommend this impressive iris to everyone so get your order in before Julie runs out!!
Tempo Two, Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia. Iris, Daylilies, Hosta Catalogue  1994-1995
CRYSTAL GLITTERS. (Schreiner's 1985 USA) EM 36"
A warm glow of pink and peach highlights the creaminess of this iris.Lovely form and superb branching. We are most impressed with this variety.
(Moon Glimmer X Gold Trimmings) X (Inferno X Brimstone) HM 87. AM 89.

AIS Checklist 1989
CRYSTAL GLITTERS (Schreiner's, R. 1985). Sdlg. S 871-2. TB 36" (91 cm) EM. Lightly ruffled pale peach cream; darker peach pink hafts and styles; peach gold beard. K 814-A: (Moon Glimmer x Gold Trimmings) X K 711-2: (Inferno x Brimstone)., Schreiner's 1985.


As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'BROOKSIDE'

'Brookside' another standout Iris from New Zealand's Ron Busch. I took this photo in my garden some weeks ago but had problems with Ron's checklist colour description of robins egg shell blue but the photo has been checked by others and Ron and I am assured that the Iris pictured is true to label. It is darker than the same variety growing in Christchurch but I have put this down to a regional difference. A good grower with good branching and reasonable increase. Interesting parentage.

AIS Checklist 1999
BROOKSIDE (Mr. R.W. Busch 1997) Sdlg. 8673/4. TB. 40" (102 cm) M. S. robins egg shell blue, F. light violet, widely edged robins egg shell blue; beards orange; ruffled, flared; slight fragrance. 77204/2: ((Tea Apron x Wine and Roses) x (Siva Siva x Tuxedo)) X 7789: ((Rippling Waters X Velvet Robe) X Black Swan)). Irwell Iris Garden 1997.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Historic 'Dursley Gardens"



I made a visit today to the Historic Dursley Garden in Bideford and was shown around the by the gardens owner, the very effervescent Judith Callaghan.
Sadly the the iris in the Del are a few days away from pea
k bloom.

The Gardens were originally designed by Alfred Buxton
in 1916 when the property was known as Te Rangi Pai. The name changed to Dursley in the 1930's.
The 300 roses and original plantings of trees growing throughout the gardens, the views to the hills allow a visitor to see Buxtons vision still t

Car Park Greetings

Driveway view

Judith informed me that when the Callaghans took over the garden in 1972 they removed seven truckloads of debris before beginning to recover the garden area around the flowing driveway

Iris vistas

Solomon's Seal

The other visitor at the Iris Del

If you are in the Wairarapa Region give this garden for all seasons a visit, you will not be disappointed. Hopefully the large Iris Del will be in bloom when I return.
Thanks Judith for an amazing morning

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Monday, October 27, 2008


Siberian Irises are my first interest in Irises and always give me much joy.My season this year looks to be about 10 days earlier than normal and no I do not think this has to do with climate change!! In 2007 'BANISH MISFORTUN which bloom's continuously for the full siberian season won 'The Award of Merit' which is an award for Irises proven of value over at least five years since introduction and this sum's up this iris nicely.

Joe Pye Weed's Gardens 2008 Catalog
BANISH MISFORTUNE - '99, E-L, 45". Standards and falls are mid-lavender-blue with large smooth yellow to cream signals, veined deep purple. An outstanding clump with tall strong stalks each with 6 to 7 buds. AM’07

2006 Cumulative Checklist of Siberian Irises
BANISH MISFORTUNE Schafer, Marty and Sacks, Jan. Reg. 1999 Sdlg S92-85-12. SIB (dip.) (45" 114 cm) EML S. medium light bluebird-blue (RHS 94C), veined darker (94B); style arms lighter, with dark midrib; F. lobelia-blue (91B) on lower portion, veined darker, remainder covered by large signal, haft darker mimosa-yellow (8A), paling (9D) on blade, with deep purple (93A/B) veins; slight fragrance. S89-6-6: (Star Cluster x Ruffled Velvet) x Isabelle) X Snow Prince. Joe Pye Weed's Garden 1999. HM 2003 AM 2007

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tall Bearded New Zealand Iris 'FOAMING SEAS'

Waterson Irises
, Wanganui.  1959-60 Catalogue.

Rarely has a new iris in this country received such high acclaim before its introduction as has this lovely and sensational silver-blue, which we are introducing for its raiser, Mrs. Stevens, this year. During the flowering season last November, there was always a small crowd around Foaming Seas, photographing, examining, or just standing drinking in the beauty of its crystalline blossoms. It is being introduced in America later this season by Schreiner’s Iris Gardens of Oregon, and it is due to the courtesy of Mr. Robert Schreiner that we are able to offer it this summer, a few months prior to its American d├ębut. The very large flowers, beautifully frilled and ruffled, are lightest silvery blue, deepening softly to an intense silver blue towards the hafts of both standards and falls. A white beard, tipped silver blue where it extends on to the fall, and a clear tracery of blue on the hafts, add to its distinctive individuality. The standards, like the falls, are heavily ruffled and remain firmly upright throughout the life of the flower. 3 ft.

Above Picture courtesy of Schreiner's Iris Lover's catalog 1964

 Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1960.
FOAMING SEAS (Stevens 1960)
Mrs Stevens New Zealand's well known iris hybridizer Combines with her iris hybridising talents a flare for aptness of nomenclature as well exemplified here. This novel frothy light blue suggests the dynamic quality of churning foam-capped seas. An unusual garden iris with an irresistible appeal in the clump. Foaming seas does not carry oncocyclus blood despite its appearance. It is an easy grower and copious bloomer-as well as a natural conversation piece in any garden.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1962, Number 164.
Honors Review and Preview, by Melba Hamlen.
Jean Stevens latest creation, is in my opinion her most beautiful iris. The blossoms are large with wide ruffled petals. Light blue with a matching beard, it has subtle purple haft markings that set it apart from others of similar coloring.

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.
FOAMING SEAS (Stevens 1960). This is a big, stylish light blue, notable for purity of color, excellence of form, and a profusion of ruffles.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1964.
FOAMING SEAS (Stevens, '60)  A frothy, ruffly light blue with deeper veins, suggestive of the churning surf against a rocky shore. The beard is blue-white. Massive flowers, widely spreading in form and freely produced on 3-foot stalks. 

HM AIS,1960.................................Each $3.50

Schliefert Iris Gardens, Murdock, Nebraska, 29th Annual Catalog, 1970

FOAMING SEAS ( Stevens 60)
A well named frothy light blue with pale blue-white beard. Petals wide and well rounded. HM 1960

AIS 1959 checklist

FOAMING SEAS (Stevens, R. 1957). Sdlg #El 94 /4 . TB 46", B1L. Very pale blue self, slightly deeper at hafts; pale blue-white beard. Jane Phillips x ((((Calpurnia x Morocco Rose) x Summit) x (sister of Summit x Tropic Moon) x Chicory Blue)., Waterson 1959; Schreiner 1960. HM 1960.

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'EVERYTHING PLUS'

EVERYTHING PLUS Dave Niswonger  Mid Season bloomer 29" and can on the odd occasion  re-bloom. Soft blue white standards mixed with soft violet broken colour. Falls are white stitched with deep violet and mustard gold beards tipped purple bronze.Very distinct and consistently performs in every garden but it's problem is that it is not overly tall, and the branching begins right at ground level and works its way up through 4 branches, the lower branch is quite long, coming up almost even with the top branch, I call it the menorah candelabra effect. Schreiner's ‘Eagles’ Flight’ does exactly the same thing. If your looking for Show stalks my advice is try something else, I would have to state it is a very good garden iris, but did it deserve a Dykes Medal? well I for one would have to say its doubtful.

AIS Checklist 1989
EVERYTHING PLUS (O. D. Niswonger, R. 1983). Sdlg. 24-80. TB 34" (86 cm) M. S. pale blue white; F. white ground with deep violet plicata markings; purple beard tipped bronze. Focus X Spinning Wheel., Cape Iris 1984. Honourable Mention 1986, Runner up Walther Cup 1986, Dykes Medal 1991.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter


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Monday, October 20, 2008

Tall Bearded Iris 'PARAGON'

Schreiners Catalogue 1952
Paragon (Stevens) 1947. E.M. 36"
Serene lovely rounded flowers of a delicate pearly shell colour or opalescent cool pinks. So cool and morning fresh it is bound to capture your attention and admiration. A hint of copper in a half inch margin around the edge of the petals and the rich mellow throat makes the whole flower glow . Exquisite planted with bright blues or deep violet.

Stevens Bros Catalogue 1949-50
Lovely rounded flowers of delicate pearly shell colour draw the attention and admiration of all. Huge flowers of gracefully flared and rounded form with an opalescent light over the heavy substanced petals. A decided margining of soft copper pink edges the falls which are so finely textured that the creamy pink colour seems to glow and flush in the sunlight. Lovely as a specimen plant it is even more exquisite when planted with light blues or deep violets. We think this iris will long be popular. Early. 3 ft.

AIS Checklist 1949
PARAGON TB-E.M. R7L (Stevens W.R.) 1947 #2/S119. Inspiration x Caribbean Treasure

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter 

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Tall Bearded Iris 'PROPHECY'

Another Iris name that was originally used by Jean Stevens, and then used by Joe Ghio. This also applied to the Iris VANITY originally used by Jean Stevens in 1949.
Still the iris PROPHECY pictured above is a good looking Iris which shows good increase, long bloom season, and gives pleasure in our garden,but in saying that it sure would have been nice to have both.

AIS Checklist 1979
PROPHECY (Joseph Ghio, R. 1970). Sdlg. 67-95A. TB 36" (91 cm) E-L. Light blue with deeper blue-violet spot on F.; blue beard. 65-125: (Commentary x Greenlee sdlg.: (Native Dancer x (pink sdlg. x (Sharkskin x I. balkana)))) X Mystic Mood., Bay View Gardens 1972.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter 

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