Monday, February 6, 2012

Heirloom Iris STAR SHINE

"As pale as the morning star as it flickers in the quickening light of dawn. I have never seen such luminosity, and this sprinkled with the dust of mother-of-pearl."
 STARSHINE  (Jesse Wills)  Commentaries in Variety, Anthony W. Drewett, The Iris Year Book 1949. 

Fairmont Gardens, Lowell, Massachusetts,Irises, Hemerocallis, Hostas, Poppies, 1950.
STAR SHINE (J. Wills 1949) M.L. Deep cream, white, and pearly blue so skillfully combined that the flower has the iridescent of lustrous pearls. An iris of great individuality, it was a cetre of attention in the Wills garden at the time of the Nashville meeting. The deep cream or buff yellow standards are broad and domed, the white flaring falls have a suggestion of blue in the centre, and an edging of the same color as the standards. Very firm substanced flowers and exceptionally sturdy well branched stalks. An iris that never succumbs to the elements. It has great distinction both in quality of flower and arrangement of color.H.C. A.I.S. 1948. A.M. A.I.S. 1949. 36"....................................$12.50

The Iris Year Book (BIS), America Re-Visited H. J. Randall C.B.E. 1950 
STARSHINE Wherever I saw this iris it put on its ‘Sunday best’ for me – upright stems and well spaced flowers of exceptional flaring form. It’s soft colouring needs a artist to describe, but I noted it as pearly-cream. In my own garden I crossed it with ‘TRULY YOURS’ and it will be interesting to see the results.

Tell Iris Gardens, Iris Catalog and Hybridizers Handbook 1952.  

STAR SHINE (J. Wills ‘49) M-L (Hermitage x Hernani) X (Song of Gold). Deep cream standards, falls white with the blue and centre and edged color of standards. In great demand. H.M. 1949 A.M.1951

Lyon’s Irisland, Lyon Iris Gardens, 1953

STAR SHINE (J. Wills 1949) (Hermitage x Hernani) X (Song of Gold). Deep cream, white and pearly blue so skilfully blended as to create an iridescent gleam of lustrous pearl. The deep cream standards are broad and domed; the beautifully flared falls, with just a suggestion of blue in the centre of its white ground, is edged around the border with the deep cream of the standards. Here is superb originality. 36”. Mid-late. Award of Merit A.I.S. 1951

Stevens Bros. Catalogue, Wanganui, Novelties 1957-1958

STARSHINE (J. Wills U.S.A.) You probably have admired the beautiful indescribable tints of the last twilight rays of the evening sky many times. This Iris embodies these shades in an unusual coalition of pearly blue and deep cream and white with an over-all iridescent gleam. A very subtle pastel, yet retains a distinctive character. Illustrated on our cover (see below). 3½ ft. A.M., A.I.S. 1951.

THE TALL BEARDED IRIS, Nicholas Moore, Chapter six, Yellow Irises
More recent other three equally striking creams, each very different in tone, ARMNDINE (Douglas 1946), which is cream flushed with palest lemon, BELLERIVE (Benson 1949), of the smoothest cream and wonderful form, and DESERT SONG (Fay 1946), which is a sandy cream. They are all excellent plants and three of the finest irises there are. STARSHINE (Wills 1949), which won the recent instituted Romney Towndrow statuette for irises of exceptional beauty of form, is scarcely as good as they. Its colour is basically cream but it has a curious opalescence which gives it a sort of shimmering aura of other colours, and it is certainly a beautiful colour. Of its form, however, the best that can be said is that it is a good example of typical current fashion, was slightly waved and horizontally flaring falls and domed standards. It lacks the dignified formal beauty of CARVED IVORY, and equally it lacks the dragonfly-like poise of PHARAON, or the svelte distinction of MATA HARI. It is nevertheless a good garden plant.

Courtesy British Iris Society Yearbook 1949

The Iris Yearbook, 'The Tall Bearded Iris of 1953' by H.C.Fletcher. 1953
The Josephine Romney Towndrow Trophy was awarded for the first time and much interest was caused by the method adopted for selecting the winner. A small committee was formed including the donor Mr K. Romney Towndrow. Being himself a artist, he stressed the ideal to be aimed at but at times it was difficult not to let colour influence one's judgement. I should think that every bloom in the show was seen by the committee and then a selection of possibles removed from their exhibits and placed in one glorious row ; seven of the most stately irises one could possibly see ; STAR SHINE, PIERRE MENARD, 2006 (Morris), BLUE ENSIGN, CLIFFS OF DOVER, ARCTIC SNOW and 50/105 (Fothergill). Mr Jesse Wills is to be congratulated on raising STAR SHINE, which was finally acclaimed "the Iris of the year", and Mr H. J. Randall on the growing and staging of such a fine specimen.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1958.
 STAR SHINE (Wills 1949) Subtle pastel shades of cream, buff, and muted blue, blended into a pearly combination for those who like soft colors. Falls flare out horizontally and the branching is wide, giving it a reputation as 'the Iris of most perfect form'

A Useful Eight By W. Brindley ; The Iris Yearbook 1960
STAR SHINE (Wills 1949) With tall stems and tailored flowers with a lovely lilt to the falls, this is a beautiful and aristocratic Iris. The standards are open, but erect, cream on the inside, pale sulphur yellow on the outside. The beard is a bright canary yellow, pale at tip. The falls are an opalescent white, with the faintest pale lavender sheen when newly opened. The shoulders are yellow, with reticulation at the top of the Hafts, and the edges of the falls are banded with the same shade of pale yellow as the outside of the standards. It is appropriately named and it is a beauty

Stevens Bros. Catalogue, Wanganui, 1957-1958

Marble Iris Gardens catalog, 1962.

STAR SHINE (Wills, 1949) 38” M-L . Soft pastel shades of cream, buff, and muted blue, blended into a pearly combination. the falls flare out horizontally and the branching is wide. This is an Iris that never succumbs to the elements and has great distinction in both quality of bloom and arrangement of color.

THE WORLD OF IRISES, Chapter 4  ‘The Pot of Gold’
; The banner year for yellows was 1949 with the release of two remarkable varieties that received international recognition. Jesse Wills introduced Starshine, a dreamy Iris in subtle pastel cream, buff and muted blue. Starshine came from a Hermitage-Hernani seedling crossed to Song of Gold and soon gained a worldwide reputation as an Iris with perfect form. Fay’s ‘Truly Yours’, with large ruffled flowers, its heart bright yellow blending to almost white at the petal edges, received the Dykes Medal in 1953.

IRISES, Judith M. Berrisford, Newer Irises for the Exhibitor and Collector.

STAR SHINE (Wills, 1949) 38” M-L. This Iris was adjudged the Iris of the Year in 1953. It is really a bicolour. The standards are deep cream with white falls faintly tinged was blue. There is also a faint blue edging to the standards. ‘Star Shine’, is a first-rate Iris for exhibition but it needs all the sunshine you can give it to make it flower freely. An Iris for your sunniest spot.

Bulbs, A complete handbook of Bulbs, Corms and Tubers, Roy Genders

STAR SHINE Tall growing, its flowers have a delicate beauty unlike that of any other variety, being a subtle blending of soft blue, cream and buff, producing a pearl-like appearance.

AIS Checklist 1949
STAR SHINE J. Wills, 1947 TB 38" M-La-W6L rev. ((Hermitage x Hernani) X Song of Gold), HC 1948, HM 1949, AM 1951.

This Iris was known and Catalogued as STAR SHINE and STARSHINE both listings are the same plant. The iris shows various levels of Purple coloured foliage at the base of the plant. I say this as I have seen several plants from different sources which show strong PBF and some with seasonal PBF but all the same variety. In New Zealand it was listed a couple of years ago by a seller on Trade Me but is definitely not a grower I would recommend to anyone.

Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all the background information. It really is a stunning iris and I love the setting it which it is planted with companions.


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