Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Zealand Tall Bearded Iris 'ALPINE MEADOW'

Alpine Meadow was a complete mystery to me as I have never seen the iris growing and all I have had to date is a couple of catalogue descriptions and an artist's enhancement of the bloom shown above which is the cover of the Stevens Bros Catalogue 1955-56.
Two days ago a fine Irisarian and generous friend Sarah Cook in England returned from her European trip and sent me this amazing photo of Alpine Meadow. It is a big thanks to Sarah that New Zealanders get to see one of the great irises of Jean Stevens breeding lines which got major raps when first released 53 years ago. Photo was taken last week in Merian Park, Botanical Garden, Brüglingen, Switzerland. This iris major's in the classic form.

To understand the respect and high regard that Jean Stevens commanded in the Iris growing world the description below written by Robert Schreiner an internationally respected hybridiser himself  in the Schreiner's Iris lovers Catalog 1955 says it all.
ALPINE MEADOW (Stevens 1955) M 34" Unlike Alexander the Great, Iris Hybridisers need not sigh for more worlds to conquer.
Many color realms still remain unconquered, yet the famous New Zealand Hybridist Mrs Stevens has once more crossed a new frontier. Here is an iris of a color combination without counterpart in commerce. Standards are clear white and falls a tint of soft blue, not the deep violet of older amoenas like Wabash. Alpine Meadow might be described as a blue 'Pinnacle'. This medium size flower is the first of what we feel certain will be an entire series of pastel amoenas differing from any now existing. Breeders will be glad to note that Alpine Meadow bears fertile pollen and seeds well.

Stevens Bros. 1955-56 Catalogue
2011 New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist
ALPINE MEADOW  Mrs J. Stevens, Reg., 1955.   Sdlg. 2/723. TB, 36″, (91 cm), M, W4. The standards are white, washed with duck egg blue, and the falls are a soft light blue.  This is a combination which is bright yet harmonious in the garden, avoiding the sharp contrast of the conventional white and purple blues such as Wabash; Description Stevens Bros, catalogue 1956-57; Bicolor (amoena).   S. white; F. light blue, brown haft; brown-gold beard.; Three Cheers X (Magnolia x ((New Dawn x Radiant Morn selfed)) x Winston Churchill)) x (Magnolia x variegata sdlg.).. 'Novelties' Stevens Bros 1956-57, Schreiner 1957

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