Sunday, June 2, 2013

Border Bearded Iris ORINOCO FLOW

I purchased this Iris this season as it fascinated me with its dark purple style arms and I am sure looking forward to it blooming at home. Return to this post in a years time I will have expanded my thoughts. Interesting that this iris is reported to slip between growing in some gardens at tall bearded height and in other gardens its the height of the Border Bearded class. English bred and registered in England in 1989 but it was not until 4 years later it was introduced in America by the late George Sutton at his  'Sutton's Green Thumber Nursery' in 1993.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1991,"BIS Garden Trails 1991", page 54, Bryan Dodsworth.

'Orinoco Flow' (Bartlett) TB. This striking blue/purple on white plicata with only the thinnest of stitching round the fall margins. Form and substance, bud count and branching are excellent, the last being unusual in a plicata in that it is just as good an lateral as in the vertical plane. In consequence the crisp compact flowers are in perfect balance with the stem. It has confounded its breeder by attaining TB stature in every garden in spite of its BB tag.(Blue Staccato' X 'Raziza)

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1992,"Florence 1992", page 49, H.R.Jeffs.
The Border Bearded competition produced a worthy winner for Cy Bartlett in 'Orinoco Flow'. It smothered itself in stems and Flowers, and also gained the Best Commercial award by its share exuberance. This vigorous variety is a violet on white plicata with many buds and a long season. It's success at Florence confirms that at Wisley - a splendid garden Iris.

Contemporary Views, 1993, Perry Dyer– Border Beardeds
ORINOCO FLOW (Bartlett 1993), from England, has the basic colors of its mother, 'Blue Staccato' (Gibson 1977), but in a scaled-down version, more floriferous, and with heavier markings in the standards. The base color is pure white, and the stitching is a glowing indelible ink in indigo. It might be right on that imaginary dotted line between classes, between BB and TB, but an occasional “overflow” won’t keep me from growing this wonderful new plic. 

'Orinoco Flow' Front cover ''The Iris Year Book 1994'
Courtesy British Iris Society. Photo Maureen Foster 
The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1994,"The Dykes Medal 1994", page 10, H.R.Jeffs.
The Dykes Medal for 1994 has been awarded to Mr. C.E.C Bartlett for his Border Bearded Iris 'Orinoco Flow'. This is is an extremely vigourous and free flowering variety which has attracted a lot of attention during its brief career. It started off with a seedling commendation  from the BIS in 1986 and was selected for Trial at Wisley in 1989. It was planted in the Tall Bearded Trial of the year grew consistently shorter than 28" and was transferred to the Intermediate Bearded Trial in 1992, where it will be in its third year in 1995.
Cy sent it to Florence where was judged in 1992 and won the Adriana Gardi Cup (for Border Bearded Irises) . It made two splendid clumps with masses of spikes and flowers, and was very highly thought of by the judges.
Starting life as a seedling BS-R-1 (Blue Staccato' X 'Raziza) 'Orinoco Flow' was registered in 1989. The standards are white, heavily stitched with deep purple-blue on the edges. The falls have a white ground with heavy plicata markings at the haft and the top edges. These are set off by a navy blue beard and deep purple style arms. The whole is well ruffled and it has a slight sweet scent. The rapid growth and free flowering qualities will, I am sure, make many friends. H.R.J.

IRIS Flowers of the Rainbow, Graeme Grosvenor
'Orinoco Flow' (Bartlett 1993) 63cm White ground plicata with dark blue edging and navy blue beards. This Iris won the English Dykes Medal in 1994 for Cy Bartlett and, as seen in Florence 1992 when it won the border bearded class, it is the best border beaded Iris available.I think it was the best Iris of any type that I saw in Europe and cannot recommend it highly enough.

IRISES A Gardener's Encyclopedia, Claire Austin
Iris 'Orinoco Flow' (C Bartlett 1989)
This white-and-violet plicata is the only Border Bearded Iris to have been awarded the Dykes Medal by the British Iris Society. The flowers are very ruffled, although the ruffling is lighter on the falls. The beards are blue, and the flower is heavily scented. Height; 64 cm(25½ in.) Bloom; early to late-season. Parentage; 'Blue Staccato' X 'Raziza'. Dykes Medal Winner UK 1994.

AIS Checklist 1989
ORINOCO FLOW Cy Bartlett, reg. 1989. Seedling BS-R-1. BB, height 25" (64 cm), early mid to late season bloom. Standards white ground, heavily stitched deep purple blue on edge; deep blue purple styles; falls white ground, heavy plicata markings at hafts and top edge; navy blue beard; heavily ruffled; slight sweet fragrance. 'Blue Staccato' X 'Raziza'. Sutton's Green Thumber 1993.
RHS AGM 1995, British Dykes Medal 1994.

Available in New Zealand from Helen Laing at The Iris Farm Amberley

Don't forget if you get a moment take a visit to The British Iris Society web site listed in the International Iris Link page above.
A big hat tip once again to Julie May for her very fine photo.
As usual, clicking the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Photo credit and copyright Julie May.


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