Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tall Bearded Heirloom Iris "NEW DAWN"

I thought this an appropriately named heirloom iris to celebrate the New Year.

NEW DAWN' is an Iris with star quality in both parentage and colouration. In 1928 Emily Jean Burgess (later Jean Stevens) somehow crossed the early flowering William Rickatson Dykes-bred, pearly white coloured 'Moonlight' with Sir Arthur Horts' late flowering purple bi-colour iris ‘Hermione’.  The resultant seedling with no description of colour or form was only ever labelled  'E97' and in 1931 Jean  crossed it with Arthur Bliss’s 'Mrs Valerie West' to produce the clean and finely textured primrose yellow cultivar. On its release in England, 'New Dawn' was often compared with 'Helios' which in the early 1930s, along with W .R. Dykes were the standard-bearers for yellow irises.  These had clean yellow standards with yellow falls that were reticulated, generally in a tone of light purple brown.'New Dawn' was a triumph in light yellow breeding because of its clean colouration on the standards and falls and was without doubt at least the equal to the introductions of the late 1930s in the same colour range, such as 'Happy Days', 'Golden Bear','Lady Paramount', and 'Primrose'. Jean had a firm opinion on striation or reticulation and often noted that it was a fault in Irises, as its presence almost invariably detracted from the purity of the colour tone.  She also used the term 'rough' in reference to veining.
'New Dawn' is an Iris with vigour, large numbers of bloom and has excellent increase, outperforming most of the more modern Irises. The large buds of intense primrose are a feature in themselves. Found growing in a garden in Carterton, my plants were given to me by the garden owner who had surplus plants established over the fence, growing alongside the railway line. Vigour is as good as 'Magnolia". Its the pollen parent to the New Zealand heirloom white iris 'Wychnor' featured on the blog last November.
Last years bloom season (2011) it was no match for the 140 km an hour winds that attacked our gardens in October, the blooms stalks just fell over, but all I had to do was stake the very numerous stalks and  'New Dawn' just continued flowering through the season for another four weeks  -  it was just like nothing had happened. The above photo was taken after the storms

The Iris Yearbook 1937 (BIS)
Seedlings Seen, R.E.S.Spender writes
New Dawn (Stevens)-- A seedling raised in New Zealand. It is a splendid grower, and is much improved Helios in colour,a pale lemon-yellow without streaks, and a fine shapely flower of real merit. It is I am told a Moonlight -Valerie West derivative.

The Iris Yearbook 1940 (BIS)
Some promising New Zealand Irises, Mr G P Baker writes
New Dawn, a straw coloured white, was particularly strong with three very massive flowering stems. The others were not quite of the same substance

The Iris Yearbook 1942 (BIS)
Discursions of an Iris Breeder, R. E. S.Spender writes; 
[Ref 1]
"The truth is Golden Hind (and its numerous descendants) has now given me all the yellows I could want or even find room for and I for one shall not attempt any further crosses with what is nevertheless the best parent for yellows I have yet come across, so just why it should be so, in view of its distinctly plebeian parentage, is one of those mysteries of  hereditary which is impossible to fathom.
About the same time that I started on these crosses I received the big yellowish-cream New Zealander, New Dawn from its raiser Mrs W. R. Stevens. New Dawn is (Moonlight x Hermione) X Mrs Valerie West, and is therefore, I should judge-assuming Moonlight to have had a good deal to do with the production of W.R. Dykes-not wholly unconnected with Golden Hind. No two yellows could be much more dissimilar, however, in build, and I should certainly not have used it except for lack of other material. It too proved an easy as well as valuable seed parent, though, unlike Golden Hind, it is not apt to produce the shapeliest of seedlings. But they have substance, they are always large and stout growers, and now and then one may get a perfect seedling from it. Crossed with Purple Dusk, it produced a really superb white, spangled with a gold dust, which is different from any other I know. I should think it may prove one of the best seed-parents now available although a good many of the seedlings from it may be inferior in form. But Mr Long, who has used Valerie West far more than I have may very likely have a good reason to challenge that."

Stevens Bros Catalogue, Bulls New Zealand 1937-38
NEW DAWN (Stevens)
Another outstanding seedling of our own raising which already has been highly commented upon in England. Of particularly heavy substance and finest texture, this Iris will stand up to a adverse weather conditions better than any variety we know. It has a vigorous constitution and a long flowering period. The large well formed flowers are a clear lemon entirely unveined. One leading English Iris critic has described New Dawn as "Superb in every respect" 3ft.

The New Zealand Iris Hybridiser's Checklist 2011
NEW DAWN  Miss E.J. Burgess, Reg., 1936. Sdlg.1/H2 TB, 38″, EML, Y4L. Standards and Falls clearest creamy yellow. S.2¾″ X 2½" . F. 2⅝" X 2½"  Beard sulphur yellow. Very good substance and shape. Lightly veined olive green at haft of the fall. Well branched, and stands up well to the weather. 38″  Description E.J.Burgess Studbook notes,‘1935 flowering’; (Moonlight x Hermione) X Mrs Valerie West. 'Introduced'  Stevens Bros Catalogue 1937-38.

[Ref 1] Dis`cur´sion;  a noun; The act of discoursing or reasoning; range, as from thought to thought

Photo Credit and Copyright Iris Hunter


1 comment:

  1. Hi! First mention I have seen of the old heritage TB Iris 'Moonlight' .. I actually found a large clump of this growing in a garden when I purchased the property in which I now live .. it has an old garden started in 1940 (when the house was built) in a (then) very isolated old town in Nth NSW, Australia. Many avid gardeners often, & still do, swap plants in town .. many making it to Australia during 'war years' when sections, seeds etc were bought back by soldiers returning home from o/s. Not possible now, due to strict quarantine of course!
    I wished to attach a photo, but don't seem to be able to find a link to do so .. Dianne.


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