Saturday, February 14, 2009

Siberian Iris 'GATINEAU'

GATINEAU by Miss Isabella Preston of the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Canada, was a significant advance Siberian Iris hybridising in the 192o's by Crossing Iris sibirica maxima with Snow Queen and is a good example of the Hybrid Vigour that can be achieved when crossing two inbred varieties. The more recent use of 'Snow Prince' is a similar example. Available in USA and Canada from Chuck Chapman Iris.

Excerpt From The Iris Society (BIS) Year Book 1935 page 31
A Few Notes on Breeding Iris Sibirica by Isabella Preston
The orientalis variety Snow Queen grows very well at the experimental Farm, Ottawa, Canada and it seemed a pity that these beautiful flowers could not be grown on longer stems. So crosses were made between Iris sibirica maxima and I. orientalis var. Snow Queen. The cross was made both ways and a number of seedlings obtained. They were all blue but varied a great deal in the shade, markings and size of flower. Several of these were named after Canadian rivers. GATINEAU is one of the best of the pale blues. Others that have been named are Abitibi, Chaudière, Kootenay, Madawaska, Ottawa, and Rideau. Two of the seedlings were crossed with the pollen of Snow Queen and one of the seedlings was named Mattawin. It is a medium shade of blue. There were some white amongst the seedlings but none was considered an improvement on Snow Queen.

Snow Queen (Collected By Peter Barr Listed 1900 Collected in Japan SIB (dip.) (18" 46 cm) M & re White form of I.sanguinea. Peter Barr 1900 AM: RHS: 1902) and Iris sibirica maxima is listed in 1908 Bulletin 2nd Series 5 as growing at the Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, Canada

I am speculating but feel seed from Isabella Preston was taken to England by Lady Byng of Vimy. ( Lord Byng was the Governor General of Canada 1921-1926) I know for certain that Lady Byng exhibited Canadian introductions 'Caesar' and 'Ottawa' , at the Iris Society Show, Vincent Square, June 8th 1928. Ottawa is illustrated in "Gardeners Chronicle" of June 16th 1928.

2006 Cumulative Checklist of Siberian Irises
GATINEAU Preston, Isabella Reg. 1930 SIB (dip.) (32" 81 cm) M Plants vigorous and erect, foliage 36" long. Flower stems 36-42" high. Flowers open, well proportioned, standards cupped, erect, 2.1 x .75", Gentian blue (HCC 42/2) veined Gentian blue (HCC 42/1). F. flaring, 2.75 x 1.5", Wisteria Blue (HCC 640) veined darker blue, haft creamy yellow with brown striations extending over upper half of petal. Style and crest pale blue. Description from Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, Vol. 78, Page 426 (1953). "Sibirica maxima" X Snow Queen. Kellogg 1932. AM 1933 AM (RHS) 1953

Big hat tip once again to The British Iris Society and their amazing Yearbooks for Photo and information

Top hat tip to Chuck Chapman for sharing another classy Historic Iris photo.

1 comment:

  1. Good, very informative post and beautiful pictures, as always. Thanks!


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