Thursday, January 19, 2012

Intermediate Bearded Iris "SHAMPOO"

I have very limited information regarding the 1970-80 period of median irises,( As you can see below more information has come to hand since the original post date.) and I can find nothing about the Intermediate Iris 'Shampoo,' there is no mention of it in the AIS bulletins (I own a limited collection so lacks depth for this and other periods). I also just purchased 35 American Iris Catalogues from the sixties and seventies and eighties and surprisingly there is no listings of it in them. Now I find this unusual as the Iris received an Honorable Mention 1978, Award of Merit 1980, and the Hans and Jacob Sass Medal  1984, someone must of given it a great review somewhere. It is a vigorous Iris which handles neglect and I know this is true as it was originally growing in a 'heel in' bed over by the Woolshed and that I had thought I had lifted everything and transferred to some other gardens closer to the house. I went back the the temporary 'heel in' bed  during the bloom season and there she was, pushing up through the weeds, (over at the Woolshed weeds are referred to as pasture) flowering its socks off, almost like a desperate plea, 'WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET YOUR ATTENTION??? THIS IS MY BEST SHOT!!!'  So its a keeper no doubt about that, and yes its another of those 'Historic Iris' with ruffling.

Cottage Gardens, Hayward, California, 1977 Catalog.
SHAMPOO  (Virignia Messick, 1977).  IB, E, 18"   Yes, a ruffled intermediate bearded of a different color.  A very ruffled bronzed gold self, with a perfect branch.  It really is the color of a popular brand shampoo, and its new to this class  (Cambodia X Gingerbread Man)  HC '76.  $10.00

Eden Road Iris Garden,Wenatchee, Washington, 1979 Catalog.
SHAMPOO (Messick '77)  E. 18 in.  (Cambodia X Gingerbread Man).  Ruffled bronzed gold self.  Should be great to cross back to TB browns.  We want to use it with Melted Chocolate.  H.M. '78.....$6.50

4~ Square Iris Gardens, Eau Claire,Wisconsin, Cold Climate Iris, 1983.
 SHAMPOO (Messick 1977) Ruffled bronze-gold self
The reason I have included this short and to the point listing is that the catalogue states 'plants are grown in a very harsh climate. Temperatures from -40°F in winter and up to 100°F in the summer. Coupled with the harsh climate is a short growing season' this would most likely indicate 'Shampoo' is a hardy iris.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1990,  “Shorter Bearded Irises in 1990”,  page 61, C.E.C. Bartlett.
Another older variety which is always good is 'Shampoo' (Messick '77). It's strange greenish khaki colour is not to everyone's taste but bud placement and flower form are impeccable. In the right place in the garden where its colour can be complementary to soft yellows, limes and greens it is superb. Needless to say its immaculate form and placement make it perfect for Shows and floral art.

IRISES, A Gardener's Encyclopedia, Claire Austin.
Iris 'Shampoo' (V. Messick 1975)
The flowers are a colour that is difficult to describe, a rather strange greenish brown, or yellow-bronze overlaid with smears of green and grey. The petals are crystalline, and a purple-maroon flush surrounds the hafts. The flower is Scented. Height 40cm (18½ in.) Blooms early season.

AIS Checklist 1979
SHAMPOO Virginia Messick, Reg 1975, Sdlg. 68-70. IB, 18" (46 cm), E. Ruffled bronze-gold self. Cambodia X Gingerbread Man. Cottage Gardens 1977. HM 1978, AM 1980, Sass Medal 1984.

This Iris can only be purchased in New Zealand for the very reasonable price of $8.00 this season from Dublin Bay Irises ( A link is listed in the left hand column  Recommended New Zealand Iris Growers.)

A big Hat Tip to Keith Keppel for his candid observations and the above catalogue listings.

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