Thursday, November 29, 2012


One of the good thing that happens when the Tall Bearded iris season nearly comes to the end, is the start of  the Spuria Irises season . This is one of my favourites spurias out of my very limited collection, it has amazing large blooms that have an incredibly long vase life that make the similar looking Dutch Irises look like poor little tryhards. Length of bloom stems are a florists delight. Spuria Iris bloom stalks range in height from 100cm to 150cm (3 to 5 feet) tall. They are usually planted at the back of the border or along the fence, however due to the tight-clumping, nature, they are ideal as vertical accents anywhere in your garden. First year plants will be much shorter than established ones. Since hot temperatures are required for good bloom, plant in full sun, being sure there is good drainage. Planting depth depends on type of soil- 2.5 cm (1 inch) and heavy soil and 5 cm (2 inches) in light sandy soils. Space far enough apart to grow in the same location for several years. You must keep them watered until they start to grow. Once established, Spuria's are drought resistant, however heavy irrigation in the spring will increase growth in bloom. 
Barry Blyth told me the other day in a communication regarding spuria irises "Spurias I could not sell, hence we no longer catalogue them, as lovely as they are. People just do not know what they are". (Now ain't that a real shame). 
I will post a couple more varieties that I grow in the next week or so.

Cordon Bleu Farms, San Marcos, California. 1984 Catalog.
BARBARA'S KISS (McCown, 1982) A unique colour combination with standards of light burgundy mauve and moderate orange yellow falls bordered light burgundy mauve.

AIS Checklist 1989
BARBARA'S KISS (E. McCown, R. 1981) Sdlg. 75-15. SPU, 54" (137 cm), M Standards violet (RHC 1 Opb 4/10) lightly streaked pale yellow; Fall strong violet bordering orange yellow signal, veined brownish purple; ruffled. Arbitrator X Imperial Beauty. Cordon Bleu 1982. HM 1984.

Note how different the colour tones are described in the Cordon Bleu Catalog when compared with the AIS checklist.

There are no commercial sellers of Spuria Irises in New Zealand but there should be!!
Clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter


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