Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tall Bearded Historic Iris "MARY RANDALL"

Growing at home this heirloom iris is a real visual treat and is a true pioneer in the colour tone Rose Pink. Clean and strong foliage and clumps up well. Mid season bloom.Considered to be one of the aristocrats of tall bearded hybridisation. Fertile both ways. 

Fays Gardens, Wilmette, Illinois. Iris and Hemerocallis 1952.
No. T48-3 SOLD OUT New Horizon X F2 Pink Seedling
This deep rose pink self, with a bright tangerine red beard, is a new color in Iris- "Bengal Rose" in the R. H. S. Color Charts. The flowers are large and have a thickness of petal seen in few Iris. The haft is very wide; free from markings. Falls are round and flaring with a rippled edge. Standards are well formed and hold together firmly. The form of this flower is near perfection.Flowers are well spaced on a strong nicely branched 36- inch stalk. Plants are large and vigorous, with good foliage. The pollen is fertile, and seeds are produced in abundance. Mid-season . H.C.1950. H.M.1951. 

Irises, Harry Randall, Chapter 9, Famous Tall bearded Parents.
This Bengal-Rose Iris, raised by Orville Fay of Illinois, first flowered in 1948; and the fact that it was named after my daughter has done little to rescue me from complete obscurity. My wife and I live in a kind of reflected glory! Apart from its attractive colour, which was at first new to the bearded family, it had good substance and breath of petal, and completely free of the virus which had previously affected so many pink or pinkish irises. Expert Iris growers are always quick to experiment with new cultivars of exceptional colouring to test their value as parents, and it soon became obvious that Mary Randall was something out of the ordinary. Hybridizers made extensive use of it, and nurseries at first had difficulty in meeting the demand for it. In my family circle the two brothers of the real May Randall were thus able to quote catalogues which proved, so they said, that their sister had tough substance, was broad in the haft, had a red beard and was good for breeding!
The international body for the registration of Iris names is the American Iris Society, which issues annual lists of all new Iris registrations. Those lists show the extent to which Mary Randall has been used and has widened the range of iris colours and shades. Brother Charles Reckamp crossed it with the yellow Techny Chimes and produced one of the earliest 'orange' irises, Celestial Glory which, in its turn, produced Mission Sunset in the same colour range. Orville Fay himself raised hundreds of excellent seedlings from it, including Fleeta, which has also been a great parent; and in subsequent generations he has raised the deep pinks Flaming Heart and Flaming Dragon. By using it with other parents he has raised Rippling Waters, winner of the Dykes Medal 1966, Morning Breeze, Spring and other attractive irises with Orchid blue colouring, and these, in my opinion, have great garden value. In the hands of hybridisers elsewhere Mary Randall, either as the seed or pollen parent, has helped to produce Pretty Carol (rose-orchid) Firenze (Violet with red beard), Golden Masterpeice, Imperial Amethyst, Melbreak (rose-opal), Idaho Cream, and many others of equal merit. Before leaving this iris I would mention that Orville Fay kindly sent a root to me in the early days and generously allowed my friends and me to use the plant and the pollen for hybridising. Seedlings resulted, different from any previously raised in Britain, and the growers had a satisfaction which was not entirely unjustified.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1951, Number 123.Varietal Comment, Region 6, Don Waters, Ohio.
The pinks are becoming more bewildering and yet more beautiful as they progress, however the intensity of color. differs little in those which I have seen. Mary Randall is a very beautiful iris and very pink with a rosy shading throughout-a fine iris indeed.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1952, Number 124. Random Comments Harry J Randall, C.B.E.
Mary RandalL I ought not to comment on this, perhaps, but as I did not raise it I might be forgiven for describing it as a splendid break in colour and one of the best of all irises. Its pollen is amazingly fertile.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1952, Number 127.Varietal Comments from Region 13, Mrs Joseph Hunt, Tacoma, Washington.
Schmelzer's Gardens, Walla Walla
Mary Randall-nominated as the iris of the year by a lot of iris fans, has everything; clean, heavily textured, broad, wonderful form and stands up in all kinds of weather; very long lasting blooms. Really superb.

Photo enhancement courtesy
Longs Garden's Summer and Fall 1958 catalog

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1953,"Report from America in 1953", page 76, Catherine Hemingway Smith.MARY RANDALL (Fay) Award of Merit 1953, the iris to receive the largest number of votes for A.M. this year.Large, full, shapely blooms; classed as pink, the general colour is ashes of roses, highlighted by the luxuriant tangerine beard.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1956,"A Decade of Progress", page 146, H.F.R.Miller.
We are now seeing some superb irises of other pink tones. MARY RANDALL (Fay 1951), the Dykes medal winner in America in 1954, is a deep rose-pink and is a lovely flower.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1955
This deep rose-pink self with bright tangerine-red beard is a new color in iris. The flowers are large and have a thickness of petal seen in few other varieties. Haft is very wide, free from markings. The form of this iris is near perfection and the flowers are well spaced along a nicely branched 36-inch stem. Produces wonderful seedlings. Dykes Medal 1954.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada,Regional Bulletin, Fall 1957.
Iris New and Old, Hazel Stewart, San Jose, California.
MARY RANDALL Fay 1951 is a most satisfying iris. I consider it a must. It blooms over a long period. The deep rose, a much needed color, stands out and the blossoms last a long time.

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1957.
MARY RANDALL (Fay, 1951) M.36"
One of the most sort after irises.It is a deep rose-pink self with a brilliant tangerine red beard. This particular shade of rose, arising from the intercrossing of flamingo pink varieties, has been popularly called the "raspberry pink" of the iris patch. Very fine form. HM '51. AM'53. Dykes Medal 1955.

Stevens Bros. Bastia Hill, Wanganui, 1958-59 Catalogue.
This iris is one of the landmarks in modern iris breeding and created a veritable sensation on its introduction in the States. It is a deep rose pink self with a brilliant tangerine beard, and the lovely ruffled form is flawless. This particular shade of rose, arising out of the intercrossing of flamingo pink varieties, has been popularly called "raspberry pink" but it is much richer and warmer than the earlier raspberry pinks. Although a good grower when once established, Mary Randall took longer than normal to become acclimatised when imported which is the reason why we have not been able to list it previously. It won the Dykes Medal in the States in 1954. 2½ ft. 50/-

Longs Garden's Summer and Fall 1958 Catalog.
MARY RANDALL Fay 1951 M 36" A Smooth self of bengal rose with a full tangerine beard. Broad petals and excellent form. HM51 AM 53 DM 54

AIS Checklist 1959
MARY RANDALL (Fay, R. 1950). Sdlg. T48-3. TB 36" M. R1L. Self of Bengal rose (Wilson), with red beard. New Horizon x (Fay sdlg.: Pink Cameo x Cherie)., Fay 1951. HM 1951; AM 1953; Dykes Medal 1954.

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