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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