Monday, April 14, 2008

Historic Tall Bearded Iris 'DUKE OF BEDFORD'



The DUKE OF BEDFORD raised by Arthur Bliss 1922 is an amazing Iris to view.Good increase, handles the weather well, and has many hues of purple depending on the time of day and the position of the sun.
The Picture is taken at a vineyard just down the road from home and is growing in a position where it gets the full forc
e of the southerly winds,its roots are in poor soil with not much moisture just a little shade from the shelter belt that it is growing under yet every year puts on an amazing display of bloom.
DOB is seen blooming a lot in older stately gardens of the Wairarapa

Checklist 1939
DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss 1922) TB E B1D (Dominion X E. H. Jenkins?)

Description from Rainbow Fragments, J Marion Shull published 1931 page 200

DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss 1922) A velvety deep purple bicolor.

Excellence..In color, form, and size
Color...........Notable for strenght and depth rather than brilliance.
Form...........Rounded, of good proportions
Standards...Erect to arching;Dull bluish violet
Falls.............Drooping; Velvety prune purple
Haft............Broad; darkly veined but not conspicuous
Beard..........Dense; White with yellow tips to orange in throat
Fragrance..Moderate, suggestive of vanilla
Spathes......Purpled green; scarious at tip
Foliage........Broad and stiff; medium green
Growth.......Vigorous with good increase
Stalk...........Erect, well branched to 3 feet
Bloom.........Moderately free
Time...........Mid Season
Remarks....A fine flower said to be of Dominion parentage but showing no indication of such a relationship in its form

Irises Catalogue 1931

DUKE OF BEDFORD (Illustrated on the front page of Cover)
A magnificent Iris of the Dominion Race, with typically large well formed flowers of great substance.The Standards are a rich violet and the Falls a much deeper tone, almost black purple in certain lights with reddish sheen under violet veins. In common with others in this race it possesses a wonderful velvety texture in the falls. Mid Season ; 3ft
We are offering this Iris at a special low price (nett): 10/6

And this description just sent to me by Gesine Lohr an Iris friend of mine who I am told has an amazing collection of old Iris

IRISES 1926 Descriptive List Lee R. Bonnewitz, Van Wert, OHIO
DUKE OF BEDFORD (Bliss)--- Dominion Seedling…….$15.00
S. deep violet; F. of a far deeper tone, almost black purple in certain lights, with a reddish sheen under violet veins. General effect deep violet with a shade of red throughout. It inherits the velvety texture common to the Dominion seedlings. Some Iris experts consider this the very best of the Dominion race. Only a few rhizomes for sale this year



  1. Can you tell me if you grow this iris, or if I can buy one? I am trying to grow, in England, as many of Arthur Bliss' introductions as I can as he was a relative.
    Anne M

  2. Leave your email address and I will contact you


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