Friday, May 31, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris Irwell 2012 Seedling

I just had to show you the above photo which is the end of a continuance really, but shows the real depth of Ron Busch's work.
'A richly coloured variegata which glows with life, making a beautiful clump in the garden', was the 1978 description of 'Rich Melody' and his first variegata introduced back in 1976 and the description could equally apply today to Ron's seedling displayed above. He had a long love affair with breeding variegata's and had great success in the class, with 'Rich Melody' also giving him his first win of the Begg Sheild (NZ) in 1978. This is one of many 2012 standout seedlings and is a very tall bearded iris with big orange beards. It has stolen Julie May's heart and she has suggested it be named  'Irwell Flirt', but as with all seedlings further evaluation will take place. 

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, May 25, 2013

'omne trium perfectum'

The Latin phrase, "omne trium perfectum" everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete.
With this in mind a can't think of a better way to complete this weekends posts of three chartreuse lemon lime Irises with a photo of a new seedling that had its maiden bloom 2012, from the late great Ron Busch.
We are a long way off a green chartreuse and maybe one day it will happen. Another great photo sent to share by Julie May the owner of the legendary 'The Iris Garden'
Have a great Weekend.

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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Tall Bearded Iris SPHAGNUM

This is another New Zealand breed iris by the team at Richmond Iris Garden . Purchased this iris 2011-2012 season and its maiden bloom at home was mid-October 2012. A larger 'Bayberry Candle' look alike which has performed well. Clean growth, average increase. A good garden variety.

Richmond Iris Garden, Hill Street
, Richmond, Nelson, Catalogue 2006-2007.
New Introductions
SPHAGNUM TB (D Nicoll 2005) $25.00. Hints of lemon in white standards. Strong mossy olive falls. Orange beards. Sweet fragrance.

New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2012
SPHAGNUM  D.B. Nicoll, Reg., 2005. Sdlg. D99 T9-8. TB, 33″, (85cm), E. S. white shaded lemon; style arms same, veined, light olive edges; F. medium strong olive; beards orange; slight sweet fragrance. Soprano x Chinese Empress. Richmond Iris Garden 2006/07.

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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Friday, May 24, 2013

Intermediate Bearded Iris HONEY GLAZED

Strong grower with clean foliage, and great increase. Magnificent branching and bud count, standards are a bright lemon cream and falls are what I like to think as a amber caramel blend that sometimes can show a darker splish splash colouration (which seems to be seasonal.) Yellow beards. Fragrant. Gives a great display and this is why it is still a hit with gardeners today.

Bay Blooms Nurseries, Cambridge Road, Tauranga Spring / Summer 1996 Catalogue

Cream standards and deep caramel coloured falls with a cream edge. We just love this one, and know of no other Iris of similar colourings.

The Medianite, Journal of The Median Society Fall, 2012.
More Intermediates??? Dave Niswonger
My experience with IB's began in 1979 when I crossed a seedling out of (Beau x Celestial Doll) with Turtledove (Moldovan 1972) which incidentally is a IB. From this cross I got two IB's that I like very much. However I couldn't decide which one I like the best. In approximately 1981, Region 18 decided to make the Spring Convention in Wichiya, KS, a median one instead of a Tall Bearded convention. (this is the only time I can recall that this happened) at this convention my two IB seedlings were blooming side-by-side. So, I asked those nearby which one they like the best. I got no immediate reply. Finally somebody said, "why don't you introduce both of them?"I had never thought of that. So introduced Honey Glazed in 1983 (which won the Sass Medal in 1989) and Golden Muffin in 1986.

AIS Checklist 1989
HONEY GLAZED O. David Niswonger, R. 1982. Seedling IB 9-80. IB, 24" (61 cm), Mid bloom season. Standards cream; falls amber; gold beard. SDB 2-77: (Beau x Celestial Doll) X Turtledove. Cape Iris 1983. Honorable Mention 1985; Award of Merit 1987; Sass Medal 1989.

 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, May 16, 2013


 Some Lesser Known Irises

By Miss J. Burgess, Waikanae.

The laevigata section of irises embraces the well known Japanese or Kaempferi hybrids. These hybrids have all been obtained from the single species Kaempferi, one of the four true species which comprise the group. Although essentially water lovers, the laevigatas, in common with all other irises, and with the sole exception of pseudacorus, dislike a badly drained soil.
Much confusion has existed between laevigata and Kaempferi, since they were first known to the European botanists a century ago. This is due to the fact that both species come from the same districts. They are found in swampy places near Lake Baikal, and along the banks of the River Amur. Thence, they occur eastwards through Manchuria, Northern China, to Korea and Japan. I wish to make it clear that where I write of Kaempferi, the reference is to the species Kaempferi, the source from which the Japanese have obtained their marvellous, but, I fear, rather monstrous, hybrids. By what means they have succeeded in modifying the wild type, and obtaining those huge double freak flowers, is a mystery. From the fact that they have obtained a double form of laevigata as well, we are forced to conclude that it was not merely a natural chance freak which gave them their first break, but a carefully guarded horticultural secret. And no part of the world, and in no section of the genus, has nature evolved for herself this form of freak flower. The double laevigata and the double Kaempferi of the Japanese are the only double irises in existence. In passing, it is interesting to note that the Japanese have done the same by the chrysanthemum and the cherry. But nature receipts the interference of these Oriental hybridists, and if their double hybrids are allowed to naturalise and seed, in a few generations the seedlings will throw back to the type of the wild species. Though first discovered to the Occident in 1837, the true laevigata is still uncommon in English gardens, and it is almost unknown here. This is no doubt due to the fact that until fairly recently it was taken to be synonymous with Kaempferi. Laevigata is chiefly distinguished from Kaempferi by the characteristic, which earned for it the name laevigata, which means "smoothed". The tall, sword shaped leaves are quite smooth, differing therein from Kaempferi, which carries down each leaf a distinct ribbing, or ridged veining. The colour of laevigata is a deep, rich blue, of a shade not seen in any other Iris. The standards are upright, and the falls tongue like, long and drooping. 

There is a garden form of the type under the name L. albopurpurea, having, as the name suggests, white and blue flowers. The standards and style arms are white, and the falls are white heavily mottled with blue. Strangely enough, this quasi-albino characteristic acts as a Mendellian recessive, and albopurpurea breeds quite true to colour. In recent years there has been on the market and Iris, which is called laevigata 'Rose Queen'. This is apparently a hybrid between laevigata and Kaempferi , as although the shape of the flower is like laevigata, the leaves posses the ridged veining of Kaempferi. The colour of Rose Queen is an even tone of Peach Blossom or rose pink. It is easily grown, and very effective when massed.
The cultivation of laevigata is quite simple. Like all the group, it dislikes lime, but can be grown successfully in any good garden soil, provided that it is not allowed to dry out during the summer months.

Kaempferi, as mentioned, comes from the same districts of Northern and Eastern Asia as does laevigata. It was first noted by a Western botanists as a species in 1858, but has been in cultivation in Japanese gardens for centuries. The shape of the flowers is somewhat similar to laevigata, but the standards are not so tall, and the falls are perhaps a little broader. The colour is a rich, deep purple, relieved on the half of the fall by a narrow stripe of Golden yellow. There is also a white form. Cultivation is the same as for laevigata, but the Japanese hybrids require more attention. These latter should be given plenty of manure, preferably well rotted garden compost or animal manure, which is best applied during winter when growth is inactive.

Pseudacorus, the English 'Water Flag' is botanically classed in the laevigata section. This act is surprising to the casual observer, but careful examination of the plants will discover many liberties with the species laevigata and Kaempferi. Pseudacorus, is too well known to come within the scope of  this series of articles, but, I might mention in passing, that it is well worth the attention of any Gardener with plenty of "background"  space, and it will grow anywhere, though it does best in a rich, moist soil. Its natural habitat is over the whole of Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor. The flowers are bright yellow, varying considerably in colour, size, and height, as would be expected where distribution is over so wide an area.

There is an American representative of the section in versicolor (syn. Virginica). This is the American "Water Flag," and although quite different from Pseudacorus, it has much in common with that species. Versicolor grows wild from Hudson Bay in the North to the Gulf of Mexico in the South. The usual colour is a pale blue purple, though there is a natural red-purple form called kermesina. Both are very desirable waterside subjects, and at easy to grow. Culture is the same as for other members of the section - a damp, lime free soil, rich in humus.
Botanical affinities between the four species of the laevigata section suggests that inter-crossing should not be a difficult matter, but with the possible exception of Rose Queen, no hybrid is known. In inter-crossing it is necessary to de-antherise the seed bearer as soon as the flower opens, as the flowers of all the members of the section are so constructed that self fertilisation is naturally effected.

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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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

RHS Plant Finder 2013 has over 5,600 Iris listings

RHS Plant Finder 2013, the 27th edition of the ultimate gardener’s guide to UK cultivated plants. Compiled and published by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s foremost gardening charity, RHS Plant Finder 2013 lists more than 75,000 plants together with details for more than 550 suppliers, making it the most comprehensive directory of plants that are available to buy from UK and Irish nurseries. The new book includes more than 4,300 new plants added since the last edition and reflects the results of the recent Award of Garden Merit (AGM) review, together with the revision of the associated RHS Hardiness Ratings System. Over 5,600 Iris are listed and best of all is the amazing photo of Nora Scopes Iris 'Early Light' on the front cover.

Janet Cubey, Editor-in-Chief of RHS Plant Finder 2013, says: "Compiling RHS Plant Finder each year is a mammoth task. However, the book is such a favourite with gardeners up and down the country and the reaction it gets is always so positive that it’s well worth the effort. The book also holds the key to discovering gardening trends early and always gives readers a bit of insight into what might be appearing in gardens all around them later in the year. Looking for new plants that have a large number of listed suppliers is usually good way of predicting which plants nurseries are really excited about, and is generally a good advance indicator of success." You can buy online from the RHS Books & Gifts Shop

The Award winning British bred Iris 'Early Light' is an absolute classic and a really good opportunity to enlighten readers with some additional information regarding its history.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1989, “The Dykes Medal 1989”, page 8, H.R. Jeffs.
'Early Light' raised by Miss Nora Scopes was, last year awarded the Fothergill Trophy. This year it pursued its victorious career by gaining second prize at Florence and now being given the Dykes Medal for 1989. This Iris was raised from a cross 'Cup Race' x 'Lemon Brocade' and has performed superbly at Wesley where it produces many spikes worthy the of the Josephine Romney Towndrow Trophy. A member of the public talked to me when I was judging this year and said "if I could only take away one Iris from the trial it would be 'Early Light'"and I was able to tell her she had excellent taste!
The stems carry upwards of eight buds and almost always four branches and terminal. Form is impeccable, and the standards are cream flushed with lemon, the falls slightly deeper and the beard yellow. It was selected for trial and registered in 1983 and gained the RHS award of merit in 1986. The height is 38" (97cm). Nora has been giving us fine varieties for many years and this award of a Dykes Medal crowns her efforts which cover so many sections of the genus.

AIS Checklist 1989
EARLY LIGHT Nora Scopes, Reg. 1983. Sdlg. 9/80A. TB, 38" (97 cm), Medium Late season Bloomer. S. cream, flushed lemon; F. slightly darker; yellow beard. 'Cup Race' X 'Lemon Brocade'. Dykes Medal,British Iris Society 1989.

'Early Light' is available in the UK from Claire Austin Plants, Potash Nursery and Seagate Irises.

A big hat tip to Judith Merrick, Compiler, RHS Plant Finder for the help with some additional information.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Tall Bearded Iris LILAC WINE

'Lilac Wine' is an unusual colour spectacle that carries well in the garden. Standards are a silvery lilac tone and are highlighted with bronzy beige toned midribs, falls are a dark ruby plum red, yellow tipped beard completes the harmony. Blooms are well formed and lightly ruffled and are carried on 90 cm spikes with 6 to 8 buds from early to mid season. Growth, health and vigour are good, increase is average. This 36 year old  sometimes flowers too early for the show-bench which is not really a big bump in the road is it?

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1982,  “Varietal comments on Australian T.B. Irises”,  page 63, C.E.C. Bartlett.

Cy Bartlett writes about a range of Australian raised Tall Bearded irises and how they performed in Somerset.
Lilac Wine (Blyth, 77) This Iris has silvery lilac standards and velvety plum red falls with yellow beards. Its growth habits, branching and bud count are reasonable. There are several varieties of this colour combination available but what makes this Iris noteworthy is its earliness.

IRISES A Gardener's Encyclopedia, Claire Austin
Iris '
Lilac Wine(Blyth, 77) the velvety, deep red brown falls have deeper brown veins. Above the falls sit pale lilac standards that our heavily flashed with beige. The beards are yellow, and the flower is scented. Height 91 cm (36½ inches). Bloom early to midseason. Parentage (Barcelona x Outer Limits) X (Snowlight x Visionary sibling)

AIS 1979 Checklist
LILAC WINE    (B. Blyth, R. 1977). Sdlg. J78-4. TB 36" (91 cm) E-M.     S. lilac, deepening to beige at midribs; F. velvety plum red; lemon yellow beard. (Barcelona x Outer Limits) X (Snowlight x Visionary sib)., Tempo Two 1977/78.

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, May 7, 2013

Just how good is it to live in a world that has the month of May

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, May 2, 2013

Garden Soliloquy

 Arrived home yesterday from Wellington to witness one of the 'Anomalies of Autumn'  Walking around the garden to 'see what's happening' as you do, a familiar fragrance lead me to an area of the garden where the New Zealand bred deciduous azalea 'Pavlova' was showing it's bright autumn colours and right next door to it was a clump of fragrant jonquils blooming. Just a wee bit early don't you think????? Took a photo to share.
Nice welcome home I thought!

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

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