Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Zealand Intermediate Bearded Iris 'PAUL & MARY '

'Paul and Mary' is a Intermediate Bearded plicata Iris in which the pollen parent has dominated the form and colouration of the bloom. Having good increase as a plus it quickly makes a stunningly floriferous display. Blooms are subject to slight sun fade which is overcome by its bold colouration and waxy petals also making the blooms long lasting. The overall effect is a bright clump that has a airbrushed fade effect. Branching is good and well spaced. A child of the sixties with Wilma Greenlee's, 1968 SNOW CHERRIES , a white ground, rose-red intermediate plicata as the pod parent and WILD GINGER 1960, Jim Gibson's Tall Bearded classic ginger brown and creamy white plicata of good form fertile both ways, providing the pollen.

Bred in New Zealand by the late Paul Richardson, of Upper Hutt and was registered by his wife Mary in his memory. Paul was a past office holder and stalwart of the New Zealand Iris Society.

The Iris was sent to an iris 'garden' in the Wairarapa some years ago to be 'Introduced'. This has not happened to date. My understanding of 'Introduction' is the offering of a registered Iris for sale to the public, and the listing of the iris in catalogues, printed lists, or advertisements, including advertising in Iris Society publication's, are all the acceptable means of introduction. Irises must be recorded as introduced before they become eligible for awards. More importantly, previously registered names may be re-used if either the originally registered iris has not been introduced or distributed by name, or does not appear by name in parentage registrations. (There are 55 plus New Zealand registered Irises that potentially have an exposure to this ruling)

Placing this Iris unlabelled on a clubs sales table with a $2.00 price tag, could never remotely be considered as 'Introduced'.

Another part of this puzzle is how a classy iris that was only registered eight years ago has received no published references in New Zealand including Iris Society publications, either critiqued or visual apart from a checklist entry, and the plant itself just disappears. An unusual way you might say to show respect to the hybridiser.

New Zealand Iris Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2011
PAUL AND MARY (Paul Richardson, deceased, by Mary Richardson, R. 2002). IB, 26" (66cm), ML. S. soft greyed yellow (RHS 162B); F. white, deeper yellow (162A) border lightly dotted golden buff (164B); beards bright yellow to orange. Snow Cherries X Wild Ginger.

This Iris is very welcome to bloom in my garden any time and I would be more than proud to say I owned it. The more pleasing aspect is that after eight years from its registration, New Zealand gardeners finally get to see an Iris of pure class. I guess as the old saying goes "the cream will always rise to the top".

A big hat tip to Mary Richardson for her detailed colouration description included in the registration which made the initial identifying of "Paul and Mary" just a whole lot easier.

As an aside, two days after this post I receive a fantastic letter from Mary Richardson confirming the authenticity of "Paul and Mary" and in the same mail a very good Iris friend who has been completely oblivious to this posts investigation sends me a start of "Wild Ginger." I am twice blessed.

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Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


  1. I have never encountered an iris like this.
    I found you as a fellow blogger on Blotanical and will certainly visit again.

  2. I have just discovered your blog through Blotantical - I just love Irises - we have quite a few in our garden in Brittany, France but there is room for so many more... will be back to check out future postings! Bonne Annee 2010 - Miranda

  3. Hi Miranda Bell
    Thanks for your kind words. You could also visit, Irisenligne and La ferme des Iris two French Iris blogs listed on the left hand side under the title WELL THUMBED BLOGS.

  4. Oooh, I cannot resist a brown toned iris. I'll have to watch for this in the States. What a charmer!



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