Monday, March 23, 2009

Tall Bearded Iris "WHOLE CLOTH"

'Whole Cloth' blooming perfectly in the morning sunshine is a sight to behold. It is considered one of the truly great breeding Iris of its time. Above photo taken of the iris growing in the Garden No.1 at home and blooming along side to good effect another great breeding parent 'Freedom Road' (Parent of Edith Wolford, Right hand side of the shot).In England a concept of National Collections exist. There is no known National collection of a similar concept in America. As a Notable, Paul Cook would be an obvious choice for a national collection of his introductions.

The Iris Year Book 1960 Published by the Iris Society (BIS)
'USA-1960' by Mrs J. R. Hamblem page 45

Discounting the colouring of Whole Cloth, with sharp contrast accentuated by the clean whiteness of the standards and the smooth blueness of the falls, the perfect balance between standards and falls was my immediate impression when this sensational amoena bloomed. Realization of its amazing substance registered when the dawning of the fourth day found the first blossom still intact and lovely. Whole Cloth has the typical vigour and good plant habit that characterize the other members of this Iris family and could easily become the most famous of Paul Cooks origination's.Still it is not likely that any iris will supersede Melodrama in the public's affection.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada,Regional Bulletin,Spring and Summer 1960.
Varietal Comment, F E Hutchings San Leandro, California.
WHOLE CLOTH (Cook 1958) This is one of the new wonders of the iris world. It is a blue amoena that will be a top award winner as soon as it is eligible. A beautiful flower that will stand up against the best there is on the market today. The flower is well formed and is on a tall stem with good branching. It is going to be a good breeding iris also. It is an inhibitor of white in the standards and is fertile both ways. Out of Progenitor it will probably do for the breeder anything that Progenitor will do without having to spend several generations in growing it back up to a tall bearded height again. The seeds germinate well as compared to the Progenitor crosses which are hard for many people to germinate.

Cooley's Gardens catalog for 1961
Whole Cloth (Cook, 1958)
This is the first in a series of new style amoenas from the garden of Paul Cook. Standards are pure white, the falls soft medium blue and the beard is practically white. Petals are broad and flaring.Few Plants. HM AIS 1958 AM 1960 Each $15.00

Picture courtesy Schreiners

From the Wanganui Irises Catalogue 1963-64
While many of the better varieties have been the results of improvements of older varieties now and again we are treated to an iris that is new and completely different coming on us as it were 'full grown'. Such is Whole Cloth introduced in America in 1958 and one of the most talked-of irises of the decade.The clear opaque white standards are held rigidly upright and the firm smooth medium light blue falls are gently flared.. Tall and well branched, flowers are lightly ruffled, form and substance excellent, beauty of colour. If this sounds like a perfectionist dream then well it may be. This is a really outstanding development in iris breeding, from the Progenitor line which has already given us such a fine variety as Melodrama, will be sure to win any popular vote wherever it is seen. As we go to press we learn that this splendid variety has won the 1962 Dykes Medal in America. AM 1960 3ft. .............17/6

Schreiners Iris Lovers Catalog 1964
WHOLE CLOTH (Cook 1958) EM 36"
Clear opaque white standards very pure and very rigidly upright and firm: smooth medium light blue falls. An original outstanding development. Well branched stalks. See our color picture page 42 for this unusual floral treat. HM58, AM60, Dykes Medal winner 1962.

AIS Checklist 1959
WHOLE CLOTH (P. Cook, R. 1956). Sdlg. 12555. TB 36" M. W4. Amoena. S. clean white, F. light violet (Ridgway); no haft marks. Cahokia X 11253: (Blue Rhythm x ((blue sdlg. x Progenitor) x (Distance x blue sdlg.)))., Longfield 1958. HM 1958; AM 1960, Dykes Medal 1962.

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter


  1. Uh Oh! I have got to stop reading your blog (just kidding) every time I see another gorgeous Iris I want one. I suppose the saying " you can't have everything you want" applies. Sighhh!

  2. Whole Cloth is amazing, and it was ground-breaking in its class in its day. There were no other amoenas like it. I lost it a few years ago but it is one I intend to replace.


©2008 - 2016 HERITAGE IRISES. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying or storage of this website's content is prohibited without prior written permission. Terry Johnson in association with The Iris Hunter,What Have You Productions and 15 out of 7 Design.