Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tall Bearded Iris ROCOCO

Which plicata is it? we had to ask?? I have always grown this Iris as 'Rococo' but......first of all there is that registration colour 'Blue' (just which of the hundreds of blues did they mean?) and as you can see just plain old 'Blue' wasn't in the mix on our plant growing at home.The Schreiner's Catalogue 'Artist enhanced' colour portraits on the cover of their 1960 catalog the blue is almost a Blue Black. Turns out we had it nailed after-all and I guess you could say with help from that 7 year old camera we have captured 'Rococo's' amazing violet-blue colour tones and it's obvious charms for all to see. Its one of the great things about the blog, it changes the need to continuously process identification issues and it's like labelling an iris with a digital indelible pencil.
This is a classic in the blue and white plicata's class and is one of the earliest so called modern plicata's to bloom. Tall (103cm) stems at times slightly ziggy zaggy with 3-4 beautifully spaced branches, 7-9 buds, this all helps to produce a powerful display that carries across the garden. Beards are described in the checklist entry as 'inconspicuous' but I like to think they are much more than that, they are a harmonious soft blue-violet colour, tipped orange deep in the heart adding a certain brilliance to the blooms. Terrific plant habits,with outstanding growth and an ability to resist adverse weather conditions. No collection of classic irises is complete without 'Rococo'!!!
Just the one bump in the road and that is I just can't seem to find a New Zealand commercial grower that lists 'Rococo' well at least not a 'Rococo' with the correct label but do not fret too much as it is sold on Trade Me occasionally by the odd reputable trader.

I remember reading in some 1960's journal a comment that Joe Ghio had made about how the blue plicata's owed so much of their rapid advancement to 'Rococo' and the AIS checklist indicates it was used heavily as a parent.

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, 1961 Iris Lovers catalog
ROCOCO (Schreiner 1960) E. 39"
What a thrilling concept for a hybridizer that beauty should possess an infinite frontier! When beauteous Belle Meade first swam into our ken, it seemed as if a more beautiful blue plicata could not be achieved. But in Rococo we have what is obviously a new ultimate in plicata beauty, never did an iris display such an intricate, saucy, petunia-like frilling. Indeed, in both color and form this is probably the fanciest iris in existence. The snowy ground of both standards and falls, the clean-cut margining of freshest, brightest blue, the classic grace - all suggest the exquisite perfection ascribed to Grecian art. For a new Queen of the iris garden we nominate Rococo. Its beauty will lend prestige to the finest iris collection. Plant patent pending.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada, Regional Bulletin, Spring 1961.
Varietal Comment, Virginia Messick, Lafayette, California.
ROCOCO (Schreiner '60) was a standout wherever seen at the Portland Convention. It had opened at a perfect time and was strategically located throughout the Schreiner gardens,but I was very impressed with it and voted for it for the Presidents Cup (won by Violet Hills.) Rococo is a blue plicata, very ruffled, fluted and beautifully branched. It apparently can stand adverse weather conditions because it still looked fine in spite of "heavy dew" that was falling. As I remember it, Rococo was a bit more on the purple side than as pictured on the catalog.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada, Regional Bulletin, Spring 1961.
Varietal Comment, Neva Sexton, Wasco, California.
ROCOCO (Schreiner) This is a very white ground plicata. Dark blue markings form a half inch border on the frilled falls. The standards are almost entirely colored with the same blue. This iris will be a challenge to all hybridizers to TOP.

The Iris Year Book,(BIS), 1962.
Varietal Comments by the Kent Group
ROCOCO (Schriener 1959) This is one of the best irises seen at "Sandilands". It has been described as "the plicata to end all plicatas" and certainly that is likely to be true for many years to come. The colour pattern is deep blue violet on white, for both standards and falls, and the whole flower is heavily ruffled. The branching on the tall spikes (3 feet 6 inches) is excellent with two buds on each of the four branches. Some spikes carried three open flowers others four. The standards were closed in the young flower but tended to opened later. The falls, varying from semi flaring to pendant, were large and spectacular. Whatever may be thought of the departures from classicism on the show bench, ROCOCO will bloom twice as long and will be much more exciting and decorative in the garden than many honoured varieties. (CAROLINE JANE X FLYING SAUCER) X BELLE MEADE.

Schreiner's, 1965 Iris Lovers catalog

I have included this second entry from the Schreiner's catalogues to show how the colour description changed from brightest blue in 1960 to violet blue in 1965. Another tidbit is that Schreiner's applied for a plant patent for 'ROCOCO' in 1960 and had the Patent #2077 awarded in 1965.

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, 1965 Iris Lovers catalog
ROCOCO (Schreiner 1960) E. 39"
In Rococo we have what is obvious a new ultimate in plicata beauty. Never did an iris display such an intricate, saucy,petunia-like frilling. Indeed, in both color and form this is probably the fanciest iris in existence. The snowy ground of both standards and falls, the clean cut margining of freshest violet blue, the classic grace - all suggest the exquisite perfection ascribed to Grecian art. Patent 2077

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1963
ROCOCO (Schreiner '60)
Ruffled and fluted, giant plicata of bright blue on clean white, the blue pattern especially wide and heavy in the folds of the standards. The falls are pure white in the center, with a quite distinct band of blue encircling a full halve inch of the pleated and ruffled border. Beard is deep yellow. Much discussed and admired recent novelty. Early; 40 inches. Plant Patent 2077  HM, AIS 1960 AM, 1962.

Region 14 Northern California, Nevada, Regional Bulletin, Spring 1966.
1965 Parade of Favorites, Frank Scott.
I saw many more to brag about but will try to describe these few as I saw, evaluated and photographed them here and there. This year we did get to visit the Oregon gardens of Schreiner, Cooley and Shoop, and of course we enjoyed the new introductions and old favorites, but right in our own backyard in Region 14 we had a ball. We are so proud of the work of all of our California Hybidizers, and I urge you to see them, grow them and enjoy them as I intend to do........
ROCOCO (Schreiner '60) Still a top star in the blue and white plicata class. The flowers are so large and heavily ruffled, they just get you. Rococo has a long bloom period and growth habits seem excellent. 

AIS checklist 1959
ROCOCO (R. Schreiner, R. 1959). Sdlg. O-508-1. TB 39" E. W2B. S. white stitched blue; F. white bordered blue; inconspicuous beard. (Caroline Jane x Flying Saucer) x Belle Meade., Schreiner 1960. HM 1960.

A major hat tip to Phil Edinger for his succinct observations.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
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