Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris 'BAL MASQUÉ'

Just how has this exquisite French bred Amoena been overlooked for High Awards or any deserved official recognition for all these years???
It's one of my special 'Look forward to blooms' and comes with outstanding form coupled with great growing habits and qualities, and my opinion of it expands each bloom season.  Outstanding show stalks with multiple branching and healthy blue-green foliage. It is a very dramatic color combination.
Seems to be a bit of a Darkhorse Iris in New Zealand as well, and my big hat tip goes to Julie May the owner of the legendary 'The Iris Garden' who originally imported the iris. 

Iris, les meilleures espèces et variétés pour le jardin, Susanne Weber.
Les variétés de l'avenir, Variétés bicolores
'Bal Masqué' pétales blancs, sépales violet foncé, coeur blanc très veiné, barb rouge orange. F. Cayeux 1991.

Cayeux, La Carcaudière, Route de Coullons, France. Iris Lover's Catalogue, 2012.
Bright clean white standards and wide pansy violet falls. White heart streaked violet and lit up with a luminous orange-red beard. Excellent stems. Sixth prize at the American Convention in 1998. One of our best creations.
Tall bearded - Mid-season to late - size:85cm - colour: Amoena - perfume:sweet floral   Cayeux (1991)

AIS Checklist 1999
BAL MASQUÉ (Jean Cayeux, R. 1993) Sdlg. 84109 L. TB, 34" (86 cm), ML; S. pure white; F. bright pansy violet, small white flash below tangerine red beard. (Condottiere x Delphi) X (Alizes x (Condottiere x Lunar Rainbow)). Cayeux 1991.

Still sold by 'The Iris Garden' if you pay them a visit and now also sold by mailorder in New Zealand by Coleen Peri at 'The Iris Boutique' see link above 'New Zealand Iris Growers.

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Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris MISSOURI

Some irisarians, as recently as just the other day have described this iris as 'A poor grower', which is a bit puzzling really when you think that this iris is still strutting its obvious good looks some 80 years after its introduction. 'Missouri' is one of those irises that decides for itself if it likes growing in your garden, fortunately for me it likes growing at our home. It needs to be grown where conditions suit the plant not the grower.  My plant came from an importation about a decade ago to New Zealand just before importing irises became impossible and is still growing in the same position with no fuss. When 'Missouri' was introduced in North America it almost exclusively became a Champion only in the Northern America region and  in hindsight it does not appear to have been widely distributed in the Southern Hemisphere at all and made only very few appearances in the Catalogues of European commercial iris growers. Perhaps it had something to do with World War II. Its an iris with blooms of heritage form, and tall stems.  Fertile both ways and became a great parent in the 40's and 50's.  Fragrance noted in the AIS checklist 1939, as Strawberry and Lilly of the Valley ( I can't recall this fragrance fantasy). Still immensely admired today and an iris with History +.

Quality Gardens, Iris, Freeport, Illinois. Iris 1933
MISSOURI (Grinter 1933) M. 44". This handsome new iris has a beauty of coloring which makes it quite outstanding among the finest blue bicolors. The large, well formed flowers are a medium tone of lavender blue; The falls are broad and flaring and of a slightly darker shade than the standards. While velvety in appearance, it has a thick substance and durable texture which almost unequalled.The flowers have the delicate fragrance of the valley lilly. A fine addition to the blue shades.............................................$10.00

AIS Bulletin #66, September, 1937, '1937 Iris Notes', page 10, Charles and Agnes Whiting.
'Far West', warm and mellow in its sunset tints, proved true to its natural color picture, as did that grand blue, Missouri. Recent developments in color photography and printing have given wonderful results and opened up undreamed of possibilities, and the day of imagination in color plates is over. A fine clump of Missouri almost dominated the latter part of the season in our garden; a fine iris, well deserving of its wide popularity. The picture on page 7 (see below) shows its magnificent form and poise, but unfortunately not its color. May the time soon come when we can have natural color plates in our BULLETIN.

Courtesy AIS Bulletin #66

AIS Bulletin #66, September, 1937,'Impressions of a California Iris Season', page 54, Harold I Johnson.
Missouri appealed to me as being one of the best looking irises I have ever seen. The stem is tall, the branching perfect, and the flower-substance and form place it right along with Shining Waters as one of the finest of the blues.

AIS Bulletin #67,October, 1937,'Variety notes submitted by Accredited Judges', Page 28,W. M. Kellogg,Compiler.
MISSOURI (Grinter) .-1. The finest medium tone blue I have seen; heavy substance. (Mass.) 2. Much over-rated. It is an interesting steely blue in color, and smooth in texture, but it has stiff, coarse form of Sensation and the same disorderly plant growth. Decidedly a weedy iris. The Sensation strain in iris breeding has bad traits and ought not to be encouraged. (Pa.)

Carl Salbach, Berkeley, California, Iris and Selected Seed Catalog, 1937.
MISSOURI (Grinter) A very fine blue having a smooth enamel like finish. Highly praised in the North-West, and without question, one of the best new blue iris. Raised by a breeder who has made a speciality of blue iris.Mid-season to Late. 36 inch........................................$3.50

The Iris Society Year Book (BIS), 1938, "Presidents Survey", page 53, G.L. Pilkington.
MISSOURI (Grinter) - This I am disappointed in. The flowers are of good form and size and the colour is a clean mid-blue, the falls being a slightly deeper shade than the standards. Here it has never exceeded 2 ft. and it is clear that it is not "at home".

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 1938.
MISSOURI. Clear, clean blue, of sensational size. There has never been sufficient stock to supply the demand for this iris, declared by some observers to be the last word in its color. Very few plants.Dykes Medal 1937.

Schreiners Iris Garden, Riverview Station, St Paul, 7, Minnesota. An iris Lovers Catalog, 1940.
MISSOURI. (Grinter '33)  M. 37".
We have always regarded this variety as one of the classics of irisdom. The giant blooms of faultless form and heavy enamelled texture are a clear rich shade of medium blue. In every way a splendid iris.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1949. Bearded Irises in Blue Shades, C. P. Raffill.
Light Blues;
MISSOURI (Grinter 1933). This is an old iris compared with the preceding varieties, but is well worth its place in the garden, for its lovely silvery shade of light blue with perfect form and texture ; and the whole plant is vigorous and free flowering.

National Iris Gardens, Beaverton, Oregon, 26th Catalog, 1942.
MISSOURI. (Grinter 1933) ML. 37" Dykes Medal 1937. A giant of clear blue in color. The broad flaring flower are of enamel-like texture.

Tells Iris Gardens, 691 8th North, Provo, Utah, 1951 Iris Catalog and Hybridizers Handbook.
MISSOURI (Grinter '33) M-L (Sensation X Blue Ribbon) Medium deep blue with brown on hafts.Dykes Medal '37.

AIS Checklist 1939
MISSOURI TB 40" M B3M (Grinter 1933); Pat. 1933 (Quality Gardens). Stoner 1933 (Tip Top Gardens). Kellogg 1934. Schreiner 1939.(BLUE RIBBON X SENSATION); H.M., A.I.S. 60; 66; Feb 1936 str. ly. val.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Some Lesser Known Irises 

By Miss J. Burgess, Waikanae.

 Although one or two of the crested irises are known to the New Zealand gardener, there are several species of this interesting section which are rarely if ever seen in this country. It is generally believed that the Iris genus is divided into two divisions, the bearded and the beardless irises. However, there is a group intermediate between these two divisions, a group that is distinguished by possessing a crest in place of a beard on the fall. All the members of this group are rhizomatous rooted, though the different species vary greatly in the shape and size of the flowers and the height to which the plant grows.

The name Evansia was given to the section in 1812, in honour of a Mr Thomas Evans, of the India House, who had introduced Japonica into England a year or two previously. Japonica, which has two synonyms, fimbriata and chinensis, is the best known member of the crested section. It is a native of China and Japan. In England, Japonica can only be grown and flowered successfully in a greenhouse, but in many parts of New Zealand it has proved almost hardy. It will stand quite a heavy frost as far as the foliage is concerned, but I frost of six or more degrees may catch the flower spike before it emerges from the foliage, so that in most districts some slight protection is advisable towards the end of winter when the buds are forming. A lover of lime and a sunny aspect, this species is by no means difficult of culture. The flowers are a delicate and delightful shade of lavender blue, lightened by a light freckling of gold at the throat. They are borne on gracefully branched stems about two feet in height. Each stem carries a large number of buds, which give a succession of bloom over several weeks. There is an entirely hardy form called Ledger's variety which has slightly larger flowers of nearly the same shade of lavender blue. Both Japonica and this hardy form flower in the early spring.

From the Himalayas comes Millesii, named after Mr Frank Miles, who introduced it into cultivation about 1880. It is a distinctly handsome Iris, and the tallest of this section. Perfectly hardy and easily grown, it requires like Japonica, lime and a sunny position. The flowers, which appear at the end of October, are borne on 3ft. well branched stems, which continue to develop flower after flower over a period of eight or ten weeks, a surprising long period for a single species. The flowers themselves are about 3 inches across, and are a delicate lilac, spotted on the fall with a deeper shade of the same colour. The foliage which is extremely ornamental, is a clear light green which shows up as a distinct contrast among most other plants.

Better known, perhaps, is tectorum, from China and Japan. The Chinese grow this Iris on the roofs of their houses, whence the name tectorum and the popular name of "roof garden Iris". It was introduced in 1874 by Mr William Bull. The flowers which are flattened, as in Iris Kaempferi, are from 3 to 5 inches across, and are borne on 12 inch stems, each of which carries from two to three flowers. The colour is a deep lavender blue, with a conspicuous white crest on the fall.
There is also a really charming white form of tectorum whose purity is enhanced by a soft yellow signal patch. This white form sets seed readily and comes to colour. Both the blue and white tectorum are perfectly hardy, and the culture is the same as for japonica and milesii.
A dainty little Iris of less easy culture is gracilipes, from Northern Japan, where it grows on wooded slopes with a cool aspect, and in loose vegetable soil, in much the same conditions in which primroses thrive. This and speculatrix, about which later little is yet known, are the only grassy leaved species of the section. They are delicately fringed flowers of gracilipes, which are borne on 6 inch stems, are a pale lilac pink, lightly touched with orange on the fall.

There are two American representatives of the Evansia section, cristata and its Canadian form, lacustris. These are dainty little miniatures, cristata being 4 inches, and lacustris two inches in height. The flowers are lilac, and in cristata about one and a half inches across, in lacustris one inch. Culture for both is the same as for gracilipes. Cristata, comes from the Southern States of North America.

(Update Notes;  The only evasia that has no crest I.tenuis was transferred into the genus Evansia, Lenz, 1959, originally classed as a Pacific coast iris, its closely related to cristata and lacustris and also needs to be included in this American group. Also I.
speculatrix has been removed from the evansia section. TJ.)
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Autumn Blooming Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert' is a exquisite Japanese anemone variety with large silky white single flowers with those amazingly  contrasting yellow centre rings of stamens. Graceful blooms that change with age are on long branching stems over an attractive foliage of dark green leaves. Its fine qualities have won it the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society. Anemones or as they are sometime known as windflowers  give borders a welcome boost in late summer and early autumn. This woodland plant has quickly established itself at the newly replanted perennial border at Queen Elisabeth Park, Masterton, several well growing clumps are creating a fantastic display signalling that Autumn is well a truly here!!  Grows to a height of 120cm-150cm.(48"-60"). Japanese anemones once established they are super easy to grow, the plant enjoys well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Spread compost and mulch around the plants each year,we use sheep pellets to help create a humus rich soil that we know they appreciate. In a few weeks time the plants dark green leaves will turn an orangey red colour which had to the Autumn tones.

Anemone × hybrida is a hybrid of Anemone hupehensis var. japonica and Anemone vitifolia both plants from South West China and are species of flowering herbaceous perennials in the Ranunculaceae family. Honorine Jobert' is an old garden hybrid discovered in Verdun, France in 1858. All Japanese anemones are great for cutting.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris CROWN HIM KING

Writing about this iris is a lot like selecting an iris from a glossy iris catalogue, you know what I mean........... if its new you get to purchase an image that you would like to display in your garden and we could certainly find a space to grow 'Crown Him King' in the garden at home. Its 'my pick' from an very impressive selection of 2013 introductions by Robert Van Liere of Iris4u Iris Gardens.
A great colour combination of rich yellow standards banded in a subtle rosy tan, falls white overlaid in the same rich yellow tone of the standards which is gradually intensified in degree and depth the closer it gets to to the washed rosy tan edge. Soft yellow beards. Form horizontally flared and ruffled with rounded falls. Another photo viewed show three flowers out at once on strong stems. Reported to be fragrant.
This iris is very refreshing to the eye, has carrying power plus with huge amounts of award winning possibilities.

AIS Checklist 2013
CROWN HIM KING, (Robert Van Liere, R 2013), Sdlg. 24GD10. TB, 30” (76.5 cm), Mid, Style Arms – Yellow with red wash, Standards yellow with 1/8”red wire rim; Falls, White with yellow wash from hafts outward with ½”band at the bottom.  Beard yellow.  24GD10: (21-36: (Sisters of Loretto x Unknown) X Scottish Reel. Iris4u Iris Gardens 2013

Iris4u Iris Gardens web site is well worth a visit and their Denver Gardens are open to visitors from 17th May
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit  Robert Van Liere, and a big hat tip to Michael Kühle who made this 'happen'.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris IRWELL DANCE

 Another great photo sent to share by Julie May the owner of the legendary 'The Iris Garden'The late great Ron Busch was a master of the surprise and 'Irwell Dance' is no exception to this rule. This iris and 'Irwell Fancy' may be soon winging their way to overseas Test garden destinations. I have been informed by an official of the NZIS that after Ron's passing his Irises are no longer eligible to be entered in New Zealand Iris Society sanctioned test gardens for the Begg Sheild or Dykes Medal. Who would of thought!!! How flawed could the logic be?? I thought awards are won by the iris, not the hybridiser, and in many peoples opinion not just mine his passing away should not affect any of his Irises eligibility. But more on that in a month or so.

New Zealand Iris Hybridisers Checklist 2012
IRWELL DANCE Ron Busch, Reg., 2010. Sdlg.010. TB, 30" (76 cm), EM. S. white; style arms white tipped yellow; F. lemon yellow, white spot and shoulders veined lemon yellow; beards tangerine.  Parentage unknown. The Iris Garden 2013.
H.C. 2012 (NZ)

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit Julie May. Copyright Iris Hunter.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013


'The harbinger of winter' is how I relate to 'Champagne Elegance'. It starts to send up bloom stalks with the change in temperature and first of the Autumn rains. A stunning flower with great carrying power in the garden, and even more so in late Autumn when there are very few blooming irises. Its one of those 'Near- Amoenas' in which the nearly white standards are tinted with some other colour and in this case the standards are tinted light champagne creamy pink, which sets off nicely the light lemon apricot flaring falls. Good plant health, the plant is almost indestructible. Probably the best and most consistent re-bloomers of all time. 

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1989,  “Eighties Irises from America”, page 55, Alan Sedgwick.
There is another of Dave's irises which I cannot fail to rhapsodise over. This is the sensational 'Champagne Elegance' ('87). Every Iris lover in the UK should have this in the garden. The branching is a bit high in summer, but who cares when a two-year-old plant gives you five spikes in May, a further eight in August, and two in September? And its consistent, having flowered in both June and August, 1988, too. Let us hope that this Iris represents a watershed and we are on the verge of achieving what the rosarians have achieved, remontancy in most climates and not just California. I would add that I would make no special effort to persuade my irises to remont. Oh by the way, it has lavender pink standards and peachy pink falls. I intend to use it for hybridising and I hope other Britons will too. This is the Iris of the decade.

Contemporary Views, – Runner Up, Sunbelt Award for the best proven variety,
Perry Dyer, 1991.
CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE (Niswonger 1987) is one I originally overlooked (or ignored). The color scheme is a sophisticated bi-toning and blending of champagne and pink tones, finished with an elegant diamond-dusting over the entire flower. A good companion for ‘Holy Night’, having all the same qualities but on shorter stalks. The coloration will vary with the season, moisture, and mineral content of the soil, but rather than a defect, it adds to the enchantment. (Judges, be careful with this one on the bench. Those artificial lights can be especially tricky with this one!). Also a dependable rebloomer, reported to be a near ever-bloomer in the temperate, Mediterranean climates.

Tempo Two, Pearcedale, Victoria. Iris, Hostas,Daylilies Catalogue 1996-97
CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE (Niswonger 1987 USA) M 33"
Standards are near white to pale lavender pink; Falls are buff apricot. Amber beards. Heavy bloomer and once established regularly rebloom's in Autumn. ( Blyth seedling X (Coral Strand X Peach Spot)
HM 1989 AM 1991

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, 74th Collectors Edition, 2000 Iris Lovers Catalog.
CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE (Niswonger 1987) EM. & RE. 34"
Connoisseurs of fine Iris recognise this delicately shaded apricot amoena as one of the best. It's near white standards are classically arched while its ruffled falls present a gentle blending of buff, apricots and peach. A prolific Bloomer, Champagne Elegance producers 7-10 buds per stem and consistently re-blooms in late summer. HM. '89 AM.'91

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 2002
CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE (Niswonger '87) M. 33" RE.
This amoena rebloomer of exquisite form will also give you an impressive budcount. Standards are a pale lavender pink atop buff apricot falls. Amber beard. HM. '89 AM.'91

AIS Checklist 1989
CHAMPAGNE ELEGANCE  O. David Niswonger, Reg. 1986. Sdlg. 23-81. TB, 33" (84 cm), Medium season Bloomer. S. pale lavender pink; F. light buffy apricot; amber beard. B. Blyth H 116-1: (('Magnetic Isle' x 'Rhythm And Blues') x 'Snowlight') X 7-78: ('Coral Strand' x 'Peach Spot'). Cape Iris 1987. Honorable Mention 1989; Award of Merit 1991.

Available from most commercial growers in New Zealand today.
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Iris Evansia, Crested Iris, CHENGDU.

The Evansia or Crested Irises are a interesting group of different irises all with different chromosome counts. 'We at home' are just starting a collection of these plants now that the trees we planted some 18 years ago are starting to give the mottled shade habitat that evansias like so much to grow in. Evansias do like growing in many places in New Zealand and these delightful and distinctive irises add great value to the garden, although they are not used as much in gardens as they deserve to be. 
 Much has been said and written about the 'DNA' of 'Chengdu', some have suggest it is a natural form of I.confusa and other more enlightened folk have suggested it is a species of its own. What we do know for sure that it was collected in Sichuan, South West China by Jean Gardiner and sent to Jean Witt in America. It forms a dense clump of glossy rich green leaves that are held in fans, bottom of this foliage strongly tinted purple-black, Historic Iris aficionados refer to this as PBF. The branching bloom stalks rise to a height of 102cm (42"). Blooms for several months in Spring with exquisite almost orchid-like 4-4.5cm blooms in contrasting shades of deep lavender that have a bright yellow crest surrounded with white which in turn is surrounded with a prominent purple zone which extends as veins towards the blade of the fall. Slight vanilla fragrance.
The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1991,  “Evansia Irises : Two New Species”,  page 96, Dr. Jack R. Ellis.
The second potential new species I. "wittii", is named (without permission) after Mrs Jean Witt of Seattle who kindly sent a plant approximately ten years ago, with details of its origin/location in south west China. It was received as a probable form of I. confusa. With smaller growth form, more delicate inflorescence and with mid violet-purple flowers, it is morphologically quite distinct from all previously introduced forms of I.confusa. It has recently been cytologically studied by Young Lim, who has noted chromosomal differences from I."confusa', I. "wattii" and I. "nova". The cytogenetic evidence combined with the morphological differences would justify its recognition as a different species in the cane bearing Evansias assigned to group 1.

Gardening with Iris Species, Proceedings of an International Symposium, Edited by James W. Waddick, 1995.
'Following the Evansia Trail, From a Question Mark', Revie Harvey, New Zealand.
The latest edition to our Evansia collections has not to our knowledge been given an official title. It is very popular with all growers and viewers and is commonly called "Chengdu" in honour of the district in China from whence it was discovered in recent days. In this Southern Hemisphere, it has adapted well to seasonal climatic conditions. The bright green foliage is attractive in the off-season. The florets are small but neatly proportioned in mid-violet-blue and by far the most colourful of the range. For a period there was a theory that it was another form of I. confusa, a view that I refuse to accept and I felt was proven when I grew the two plants in close proximity. Like all Evansia forms brought into cultivation from the wild, it is a reluctant pod parent. However seedlings raised from a bee pod have been true to the blue parent. At this time the first blooms are being from a cross of "Kilkivan" with 'Chengdu" showing some variance from both of the parents.

Irises, A New Zealand Gardener's Guide, Pamela McGeorge and Alison Nicoll, 2001.
Evansia or Crested Irises
Two evansias more recently available are I.'Nova' and I. 'Chengdu'. The first of these two is a tall plant that sets seed reliably and has large white blooms marked with gold. It was found in a garden in the U.K., but has not yet been found in the wild. I. 'Chengdu', however, came from China, and it appears from a recent study that it might be a species in its own right. It has glossy dark green leaves and deep lavender flowers with a prominent purple zone surrounding the white area adjacent to the the deep yellow crest. Its growth habit is similar to I. confusa and is very similar to a variety named 'Martyn Rix'.

AIS Checklist 199
CHENGDU (Jean Witt, R. 1997). SPEC (evansia), 20-24" (51-61 cm), M. S. and style arms light lavender; F. slightly darker, signal white with medium lavender halo, yellow crest. Collected 1980 by Jeanne Gardiner between Kanding, Tibet, and Yaan, Sichuan, China, ca. 3000' elevation; probably I. confusa.


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sisyrinchium striatum, Companion planting for Bearded Irises

Sisyrinchium striatum, common name is 'Satin Flower' and is a member of the Iridaceae family. A great inexpensive companion plant for Bearded and Siberian irises. Upright narrow grey green leaves are sword like and evergreen.  Creamy blooms with dark yellow centers rise above foliage on multiple spikes . These adaptable South American wildflowers tolerate a wide range of conditions and naturalize easily. The late spring early summer blossoms each open for just one day with the morning sun and close at dusk but this short individual blooming is compensated by a long succession of blooms. Rarely do the blooms open on cloudy days. Flower stems grow to 60 cm (24")
Grows in moderately fertile to poor, neutral to slightly alkaline soil that is well-drained and in a full sun position. Drought tolerant once established. Its biggest problem is its untidy spent foliage which is overcome by dividing this plant every second year which seems to keep it looking good and dividing ensures good flowering. A high yield plant in many ways and generally pest free.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Iris Hunter.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris JANE PHILLIPS

I have always held this Iris in high regard, and was one of my first irises. It was purchased at a School Fair with no ID which undoubtedly started me on this mad journey of Iris history. What makes 'Jane Phillips' special is hard to put your finger on, perhaps it is it's carrying power and consistency or the trick it plays on the grower with its dark blue buds that slowly unfurl to become an entirely pale blue bloom. Not tall, but not as short as some critics would lead you to believe in their reviews below. Clean grey green foliage, great plant health with especially good increase. This year we have split a plant and have replanted, now we have a clump of 10 plants so in the coming years Jane will be back on a larger scale winning hearts again. Fertile both ways and is involved in the parentage of one hundred plus Irises.  Also has a New Zealand connection did you know? It was the pod parent of Jean Stevens ruffled light blue 'Foaming Seas' and also the pod parent for Lucy Delany's ruffled really creamy cream Tall Bearded 'Happy Jane' both of these grow at home.
If you need an Iris with great classic form and real class this iris could be the one. If you find it, buy it, I guarantee you won't regret it.

Fairmont Gardens, Lowell, Massachusetts,Irises, Hemerocallis, Hostas, Poppies, Introductions for 1950.
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves 1950) M. This beautiful blue is the child of the famous iris Helen McGregor that won the Dykes Medal in 1949. Deeper in color, but with similar form and substance, it possesses great color appeal. A very clear blue self with well domed standards, arched and smoothly finished, the semi-flaring falls are lightly fluted at the edges. Firm texture and exquisite color, it possesses that mark of distinction that is characteristic of so many irises bred by Dr. Graves and his able assistant, Edward Watkins. This iris has been tested in many parts of this country as well as in England and is high favor wherever grown. Excellent branching and sturdy growth. Stock limited. 

H.M. A.I.S. 1947. 38in..................................................................................$25.00

The Iris Year Book, 1951
A Selection of Higher-Priced Irises, by G.L.Pilkington and N. Leslie Cave.
List 3. Irises Costing over £1
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves) Similar to Helen McGregor but several shades bluer. And other beauty with similar failing, a stubby stem (TWO VOTES)

The Iris Year Book, 1952
Commentaries in Variety, by H. Senior Fothergill
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves) This shapely, pale blue Iris has now proved itself to be a very sturdy grower and a rapid increaser. It is not so expensive now, and really shows its owner that it is grateful for its board and lodging in a way which, unfortunately, not one in twenty of modern novelties is gracious enough to do.

Cooleys Gardens Silverton, Oregon. Iris for 1951
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves 1950)
A new light blue that is deeper in color than Helen McGregor, of which it is a seedling. It resembles its famous parent in form and size but because it carries more color it is distinct and worthy in its own right. We have seen no Iris which appears nearer true blue. HM AIS 1950. Each $20.00.

Courtesy Cooleys 1957 Catalog

Schreiner's, Route 2, Salem, Oregon. Iris Lovers Catalogue, 1952.
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves 1950) EM, 34".
If you revel in clear blue Iris here is one that will delight you. A seedling of the famous Helen McGregor it is somewhat deeper though equally as true blue tie. It probably ranks with Cahokia as one of the bluest Iris we grow.HM'50..........................................................$15.00

Lyon Iris Gardens, Van Nuys, California. Iris and Hemerocallis, 1955 Catalog.
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves 1950)
A clear attractive medium blue self, smooth in finish and beautifully formed. The large flowers with domed standards and semi-flaring falls are lightly frilled at the edges. Winter tested. 38".........................$3.00

Stevens Bros.  Bastia Hill, Wanganui. Irises 1955-1956.
  At last we are able to offer you this famous light blue descendant of Helen McGregor, which many New Zealanders, having seen in our trial gardens, or at the London Iris Show, have been waiting for- the bluest blue Iris! In offering novelties to our customers it is our obligation not to list a variety until we have a stock available to satisfy normal first year demand. It therefore follows that when, as in the case of Jane Phillips, we know the demand is going to be very heavy, we must wait an extra year so that there will be enough plants to go around. Of beautiful form and a heavenly light blue colour, Jane is an exceptionally large flower of great substance, and fully lives up to her overseas reputation. An Iris which will be the pride of your garden. 2 ft 9 in.............................................................42/-

The Tall Bearded Iris, Blue Irises, Nicholas Moore, 1st. Ed. 1956.
Dr Graves's later introductions, though they have surpassed AND THOU (1942) in blueness and in evenness of colour, have scarcely done so in other respects. Of these HELEN McGREGOR (1946) is the star. It is said, 'never has an Iris been so popular in its first year of introduction', and it is ruffled, voluptuous blooms have been described as having a film star beauty. A light clear blue, and several degrees bluer than most other light blues, it has captivated its admirers at shows, and in the garden it flowers with tremendous freedom. However, its beauty is marred by short, thick,podgy steam and poor proportion to its flowers, and the flowers themselves are apt to be too crowded. JANE PHILLIPS a later descendant, is somewhat similar, but is slightly deeper in colour and less blowsy in form, and has the ineffable advantage of the better branching and poise, a better plant in every way, but even this is too short for its big flowers.

Irises, Judith M. Berrisford, Garden Book Club Edition, 1961.
Choosing your Irises. Pale Blue.
JANE PHILLIPS (Graves 1950)  34", E-M.
If you want a stronger, yet still pale blue than, 'Helen McGregor', this is the iris to choose. Really a flax blue. Very similar to 'Helen McGregor' in everything but colour, and a stronger grower. Scented.

AIS Checklist, 1949.
JANE PHILLIPS (Robert J. Graves, R. 1946). TB, M B1M. 'Helen McGregor' x ('Pale Moonlight' x 'Great Lakes') Award of Garden Merit R.H.S. Highly Commended 1947, Honorable Mention 1950,  Award of Merit 1952. AIS.

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