Thursday, April 24, 2014

French Historic Tall Bearded Iris JACQUESIANA

In 1839 Jean-Nicolas Lémon had published in the Annales de Flore et de Pomone a list of one hundred varieties which were mostly irises he had raised and named, 'Jacquesiana' was included in this list. Then once again in the Annales de Flore et de Pomone ou Journal des Jardin in 1841 Lémon had another article published in which he featured five of his new introductions in more detail and these varieties accompanied by a beautiful colour plate. These irises were Iris de Boismilon, Iris Madame Rousselon, Iris Madame Lémon, Iris Jacquesiana and Iris Conqueror. Lémon named 'Jacquesiana' in honour of Henri Antoine Jacques the head gardener of the Royal Neuilly Domain.

The photos of the iris 'Jacquesiana' in this post graphically display the stigma of a canary yellow colour cut longitudinally by a dark brown band, which is just how Lémon described it, and this along with the veining on the falls and the length of the beard are displayed well. The style arms protrude well past the standards that finish with strong upturning crests is also a recurring feature of early French Dipliod breeding. All these distictive features are also displayed well in the colour plate illustration.  

Annales de Flore 1839-1840, nouvelles variétés d'iris. Descriptions Jean-Nicolas Lémon
3e SÈRIE. Plantes s'élevant de 70 centimètres à 1 mètre.
Iris Jacquesiana. fond bleu azuré très tendre, pétales extérieurs pourprés brun velouté.
Annales de Flore et de Pomone.
July 1842
Annales de Flore et de Pomone ou Journal des Jardins
Et des champs 1841-1842 IRIS NOUVELLES.
Pour donner autant que possible une idée de la collection objet de l’article ci-dessus, j’ai fait figurer cinq iris pris dans son sein (voir planche)

4. Iris Jacquesiana. Fleur bien faite, pétales intérieurs érigés, ondulés d'un jaune serin en dedans depuis l'onglet jusqu'à près de la moitié du limbe, dont l'autre partie est teinte d'une nuance tirant sur le fauve plus ou moins foncé ; l'onglet est verdâtre, pointillé et strié en dedans de marron brun; les pétales extérieurs sont allongés, ou peu ondulés sur les bords, teints d'une couleur pensée au sommet, ensuite blancs au centre et jaunes au bord, et striés sur ces deux dernières nuances de pourpre violet; l'onglet est vert jaunâtre en dehors, les barbes sont d'un jaune orange, et les stigmates d'un jaune serin coupé longitudinalement par une bande marron foncé. Jean-Nicolas Lémon.

The Gardeners Chronicle, 'Foreign Correspondence Paris, 31st May, 1841'.
Jacquesiana, bronze lilac and brown crimson.

'The Garden', May 27, 1876, Handsome Irises, D Thomson.
There is now an almost endless variety of Irises, and for the information of these persons who may desire to form a select collection of them, the following list may be found useful......
Jacquesiana, reddish-bronze, lower petals crimson, reticulated with yellow and white.

The Gardeners Chronicle, 'The German Iris' 15 June, 1878
Mr. Robert Parker's Nursery large collection, Tooting, South London
Jacquesiana, reddish bronze, dark orange, and velvety crimson, very fine and distinct.

Cayeux & Le Clerc, Quai de la Mègisserie, 8, Paris. Catalog (thought to be 1906-1907)
Jacquesiana (Lémon 1840). Sépales cuivrés, largement pointés violet évêque, pétales cuivré clair.

The Times, July 6th, 1907
Irises, W.R.Dykes
While to sambucina we owe the scent of elder-flowers , from which it takes its name, and the gold dust which seems to cover the standards of such flowers as Jacquiniana, when seen in bright sunshine.

The Dean lris Gardens, Moneta, California.The Iris 1914.
SQUALENS GROUP The Standards Are Clouded Shades of Copper, Bronze and Fawn.
Jacquesiana. S. bright coppery crimson; F. rich maroon. Handsome. 30 inches.

Elm-Leigh Nursuries, Putney, Vermont. Season 1921.
Jacquesiana. Standards light coppery red, falls rich distinct and beautiful.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1922, Number 6.
Descriptions of Varieties, Part 1.
Bicolor, V-R. ,blend. (d). Lémon
, 1840
Brief. S. vinaceous lilac;F. flaring, velvety blackish red purple; styles and haft buff; stalk,high and well-branched'; growth vigorous; to 4 ft.
Details. Foliage tinged at base; S. revolute, ruffled, and notched; beard yellow, orange tipped; Pollen cream-white.
Remarks. Listed in England as Jacquiniana. It may be differentiated  from Arnols or Prosper Laugier by the flaring carriage of the falls.

Les Iris Cultivés  1922 (choix de 100 variétés pages 30-31-32)
Jacquesiana (Lémon 1840) Divisions supérieures rouge violacé fumé, divisions inférieures rougeâtre velouté

Cayeux & Le Clerc, Quai de la Mègisserie, 8, Paris. Catalog 1923.
Jacquesiana (Lémon 1840) S. copper-crimson shaded buff. F. wineish violet. Reticulated maroon at the throat.

Treasure Oak Nursery, Mays Landing, New Jersey, Catalog of Select Iris and Peonies, 1923.
The Best and Rarest of the Iris.
8.0 JACQUESIANA. (Lemon 1840. C., RHS.).$0.25 Squalens.
S.-Coppery crimson (Vinaceous Lilac), ruffled and notcbed. F.-Flaring black-red-purple. Leaf.-Base colored.
Resembling Prosper Laugier, though taller and of smaller bloom, and easily distinguished from either Prosper Laugier or Arnols by the flare of its fall. This is the most outstanding Iris in the older plantings and is best shown when in combination with the yellows, as Flavescens, Dawn, Aurea, or Shekinah, or the whites, as Innocenza, Albicans, or others of the type. Adapted to border planting as it appears to a greater advantage when seen close at hand.

A Handbook of Garden Irises, W.R.Dykes, 1924.
Chapter 16 Garden Bearded Irises
Of the older varieties those most likely to survive are...................
Jacquiniana (30ins., Lémon
, 1840), with coppery-crimson standards and velvety maroon falls.

Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, 1925.
Bearded Iris A perennial suited to all Gardens. Austin W.W. Sand.
Jacquesiana (Lémon 1840).  Color effect a bright russet-crimson, velvety bordeaux bicolor. S. russet vinaceous, bronzed olive buff on claw. F. velvety bordeaux, netted-viened on broad light outer haft. The bronzed orange beard is fine, dense, and projecting. This plant is a vigorous grower, and has lax, slender, deep green foliage, tinged at the base. Its excellent, velvety blooms are freely produced and well carried on long stems.This exceptional variety should be included in every collection. Rating 80.

Longfield Iris Farm, Bluffton, Indiana. Price List 1926
Jacquesiana ( Lémon 
1840). Standards bronzy lilac red; the flaring falls rich purple red. An old variety but still a favorite. Three feet. $0.35

A H Burgess and Son, Iris Specialist, Waikanae, Wellington. Irises 1924-1926.
Jacquesiana; Standards copper crimson; Falls maroon. 2½ft. 

Leamon G. Tingle, Pittsville, Maryland. Tingle's 1927 Catalog of Nursery Stock.
JACQUESIANA (Lemon 1840). An amazing rich coloring and exceedingly beautiful flower. S, coppery rose, deepening to a bronze throat, F, rich velvety crimson-maroon. Golden beard. 25c.

The Orpington Nurseries Co. Ltd., Orpington, Kent. Irises 1930.
Jacquiniana. (Lémon
) Copper crimson standards and maroon falls. 2½ feet. A good old Iris. Late.

Rainbow Fragments, A Garden Book of the Iris, J.Marion Shull, 1931.
General list of varieties.
Lémon 1840) Clouded crimson to blackish red purple
Freedom of Bloom......Moderate to free.
Season of Bloom ........Late
Garden Value.............Medium
Color Class.................Bicolor
Color effect Ridgway symbols...VR-VL
Buds per stem.............Few
Branching...... ............Medium
Leaf Color...................glaucous blue green, based tinged with purple
Growth.......................Vigorous with good increase

AIS Checklist 1929
JACQUESIANA  TB-S9M (Lémon 1840)
A.F.P 1840; Garden Chronicle 1841; Hovey 1860; Elwang 1873; Garden Chronicle 1894; The Garden June 1913; Francis 1920; Wing 1920; Sheets 1928; Class Vlc (1) AAA 145; H.C., R.H.S. 1st June 1893, shown by Wilks, Barr, Veitch; A 87; H.C., R.H.S.,14th June 1916.

Trials of Bearded Iris Royal Horticultural Society, notes  Class Vl c (1) as 'Varieties with standards in which yellow is obvious, purple predominating'.

Over the next few years historic Iris identification will certainly be challenged and some of the varieties in established collections thought 'to be so' may perhaps become 'not to be so'. 

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Major Hat Tip and "Merci beaucoup" to Catherine Adam for her direction and help with the French language, catalogue listings, and of course for sharing with you all the amazing photos of 'Jacquesiana'.

Reproduction in whole or in part of these photo's without the expressed written permission of Catherine Adam is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Catherine Adam © .

Reproduction in whole or in part of this article without the expressed written permission of Heritage Irises  is strictly prohibited.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014


PLATE 1143
'The Garden' November 6th 1897

Here are figures of two blossoms from an Iris border made about one year from the time of blooming, and although so short a time after the formation of the border, the general result is very pretty, but naturally one would expect a much better result in another year or two. The border was planted- as it ought to be perhaps soon after Midsummer and throughout early autumn, when irises take pretty well. The iris is typical of various plants that are most beautiful when grown in any good way arranged, above all things with some kind of harmony and emphasis of grouping. One can find anywhere about London see the poor German iris struggling with tree roots and all sorts of conditions, and often buried in the nursery rubbish of work all the gardens are full, and which has only one charm, namely vigour, many of the things used being those that never produce a or a fruit worth looking at like the Privet. Notwithstanding this very better treatment I may often see many art and beautiful bloom about London in many little private gardens. It is hardly necessary to say how much it in a country place and in good soils can be done not only with the common irises of the garden, but many varieties, or so-called hybrid raised between this and the allied species which are among the most beautiful hardy flowers known to us.
One object of making an iris border or garden is to get these together and able to treat them and enjoy them as a whole. The iris appeared to us to have unusual for a border or garden of its own because of the graceful and almost evergreen leaves and of good colour.In making such a garden border, one , of course, escapes the common error of letting things be choked by the common bushes we spoke of, as you are able to pay them more attention and they have a fair chance of developing themselves. Then comes the question of effect. To many people this may seem a matter of taste merit, but really there is much more in it, because in grouping or massing Irises the effect is instant.
 Drawn for The Garden by H. G. Moon. - Gravetye Manor. Lithographed and printed by J.L. Goffart.


Now here is another problem of the checklists

I. VARIEGATA AUREA. is listed in the 1929 AIS Checklist list as AUREA the Tall Bearded Iris attributed to Henri Antoine Jacques the head gardener of the Royal Neuilly Domain,also the editor of the Annales de Flore et de Pomone ou Journal des Jardins.

Annales de Flore 1839-1840, nouvelles variétés d'iris. Descriptions Jean-Nicolas Lémon
3e SÈRIE. Plantes s'élevant de 70 centimètres à 1 mètre.
Iris Aurea, fluer unicolire beau jaune.

AIS Checklist 1929
AUREA TB-Y4M (Jacques 1830) Lémon 1839. Revue Horticole 214. 1839; Gardeners Chronicle 1; 382 1841 ; Macoun ; Farr 1812 ; Francis 1920 ; Wing 1920 ; Class Vllla, Royal Horticultural Society Trials 1928; H.C., R.H.S. 2nd June 1916

THORBECKE. TB-W3. (Veitch before 1897) ; Wallace before 1897 ; Dessert 1906 ; Farr 1912 ; Wing 1920; Gillot 1928 ; Class lll b Royal Horticultural Society Trials 1928; C., R.H.S., June 1916

There is No GEORGE THORBECKE listed in the 1929 checklist the 1939 Checklist we get a entry George Thorbeck 'The Garden',52., p.364 November 6th 1897 ; THORBECKE

 Now this just unbelievable a British bred iris published with an illustration, named George Thorbeck, painted from an Iris grown at a garden reknown for its Iris collection yet the name gets changed?? Why???

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

Reproduction in whole or in part of this article without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. 
Copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Gossip About Iris

A Little Gossip About Iris



  IN PRESENTING its 1933 list of iris, Quality Gardens offers the pick of the finest iris in the world, old and new the most comprehensive collection of the finest quality iris that can be assembled. We offer this year the pick of the new introductions, both foreign and American, selected after careful study and inspection.
  In making this selection we rely on our personal judgment of the iris based on the experiences of living with them for more than twenty years, growing them both for pleasure and profit. This covers the period of the development of the tall bearded iris from mediocrity and comparative scarcity and a minor position in the gardens of the country, to the pre-eminently and superlatively beautiful garden material of early June and late May-the flower par excellence of its season and indispensable as the liaison between the brilliant late tulips and the wealth of June bloom with its peonies, roses, delphiniums and other garden standbys.

We make our own selections of new irises for introduction after personal inspection and study for the most part and when this is impossible rely on the judgement of those we know to be thoroughly competent to pass judgement and express a sound opinion of the value of the flower. We have been singularly fortunate in having the judgement of foreign correspondents of conservative viewpoint on the flood of European introductions so that we present only the finest of these.

We do not rely on the ratings of the American Iris Society which we found some time ago to be an unreliable guide, in the nature of a compromise of good, bad, and indifferent judging by judges whose identity is always concealed in anonymity. The experienced dealer soon learns to estimate these ratings for what they are worth, sometimes valuable, at other times not only valueless but a direct and undeserved injury to business, both of the retailer and breeder. We also often find iris of no great difference from those already in commerce and no distinct improvement upon them, more highly rated than they deserve.

The 1932 rating list was no exception in this respect and we do not print these ratings. It is, as usual, a most inconsistent affair, some judges rating high, others low, and still others apparently jack and the game. We have consistently maintained that if a fair score card were followed accurately, reasonably competent judges must necessarily arrive at very close to the same estimate. The 1932 ratings find some of the judges so remote from each other in their estimates that the figures would not indicate they were judging the same plant.
The curious and interesting part of it is the fact that the buying public, the rank and file of people who grow irises in their gardens for their own pleasure so often disagree decidedly with official estimates. As an example, the first American award of the Dykes medal was made to San Francisco, first of the giant plicatas. Its sister seedling, Los Angeles, outsells it year in and year out by a wide margin. The selection of the 50 and 100 best irises by the accredited judges of the American Iris Society also places Los Angeles ahead of San Francisco. This should not be taken as at all discounting San Francisco, a great and wonderful iris, finest of the giant plicata type, but it shows the, fallibility of official ratings.

The second Dykes medal award in America was made to Dauntless, a beautiful rose toned iris misrepresented as the "reddest" iris at the time of its introduction. But another red and rose toned iris, Indian Chief, consistently outsells Dauntless. Dauntless also did not head the list of 50 best in the pink lavender to red purple section made by the accredited judges who placed Frieda Mohr at the top. We believe the inclusion of the pinks and dark red purples in one class was an incongruous grouping as they are not comparable. This placing of Frieda Mohr ahead of Dauntless should not be taken as any discount for Dauntless, one of the most beautiful iris ever introduced. It merely illustrates the vagaries of ratings as we now have them.
As we are constantly finding definite disagreements between the selling values which is the registration of popular approval and the ratings, we have decided to ignore ratings in selecting our list.
The fact that an iris is a new introduction does not necessarily indicate that it is of better quality than older irises. Theoretically it should, as the only excuse for introducing a new iris in the great flood of irises is that it is a new color, or color combination, of an improvement of an iris of its type in commerce. In looking over our list of last year we find that we included twenty odd irises that had been in commerce for ten years or more in our first quality list.  They deserved it. The rating list would indicate a discount was made for years in commerce although the score card gives no allowance of that nature.
While very few of the irises in our last year's list fell into the discard list as prescribed by the American Iris Society in its 1932 ratings, a rating of below 70 indicating that the iris should be discarded, or, if a new one' should not have been- introduced, the few that fell below the charmed 70 in our list are consistently good sellers and much admired by the iris growing public' One of these was Perry's May Sadler, the lowest figure in our list, which three accredited judges placed at 68. May Sadler is a fine, large, showy, deep red purple that sells itself in its beauty as it grows in the garden, having fine garden value, a characteristic possessed in unusual degree by all of Perry's introductions.

One very fine iris, Avalon, was not rated at all. By what manipulation of the score card a judge arrived at a rating of 75 for Asia is beyond our comprehension. We are also up a tree as to how such a exquisite iris as Mme. Durrand which has no counterpart could be reduced to 76, and so on.
Super sensitiveness to details and technicalities rather than good sense as to the general effect of the growing iris seems to have overwhelmed many judges. We are heartily in accord with the efforts of the American Iris Society to correct these abuses and make the ratings a sensible and valuable registry of iris values, particularly as to relative values. The effort has not come a minute too soon. We have always argued that ratings should be made by judges with the courage to sign their names to their figures.

We know that many of the more experienced judges are willing to do so. The fair and competent judges are well known to the iris trade and their opinions and ratings are valued accordingly.We protest most energetically against the ruin of the sale of a first-class iris by the axe of the dilettante, inexperienced, incompetent or prejudiced judge whose identity we do not know.
The dealer is as anxious to be spared the loss of buying gold brick introductions as anyone. Many new introductions held at high prices by the breeders prove to be practical duplicates or no improvement on irises already well established in commerce. It would be ridiculous in a dealer to push the sale of such irises, if they were aware of the facts, as visitors to their gardens would at once note the similarity to older irises at half or even more than that margin of the price of the novelty. One or the other is bound to become dead stock on the dealer's hands, usually the high priced novelty that has proved to be no novelty.
So far as we can discover, there seems no practical way so far devised to label a new iris as nothing really new and no improvement on existing varieties. We must rely, when we cannot personally inspect a new introduction, on the opinions of competent judges, their notes and comment being of great value. These should be signed so that proper weight can be attached as it is no reflection on the judges to say that some are far more experienced and have a far wider acquaintance with existing varieties than others.

Well meant notes of "not wanted" and "not needed." made by some of the judges have roused storms of complaint. The iris in question might not be wanted or needed by the judge but might be very much wanted by some other judge and by gardeners of the country who are the real judges of what they need and what they want to buy. We believe the breeders and dealers in iris will not consider that they are getting an altogether square deal from the American Iris Society until ratings and comments are signed by their authors when published.
We realize the practical difficulties of such publication thoroughly and the solution of it seems to us to be a limited number of judges' of known ability and fairness, whose ratings could be published with their signatures instead of averaging the ratings of from 50 to 100 judges many of whom have neither the knowledge of iris varieties nor the experience to qualify them for the work.
The decision to publish ratings only when at least five judges have turned in figures is an excellent move. While theoretically the rating of one judge should be as valuable as that of another, presupposing them all to be of equal competence, it unfortunately does not work out that way and some of the single ratings published in the 1932 ratings were rankly unfair. It is puzzling to understand how some of the figures could have been reached by any judge with the score card and the iris in front of him. Perhaps they were not. The character of many of the ratings is such as to suggest "arm chair" figures merely set down by the judge, according to his own ideas, without reference to the point scale, while comfortably seated before the grate fire.

We are this year making a new departure in our first offer and introduction of a list of autumn blooming iris. The autumn bloomers and intermediate classes seem the immediate trend of iris development. Progress in the tall bearded class seems to be limited to new colors and combinations of colors in the blends. There seems little to be expected in the prevailing blue lavender selfs and bicolors, red purples and blue purples except perfection of detail and greater purity of color, perhaps. The field of blends is open.

The autumn bloomers are practically a new class as so far they have been merely incidental and have not been developed and assembled as a distinct class. The Sass Brother's, Jacob and Hans, have done much work in developing this class of irises, in fact have been persistent pioneers since the introduction of Autumn King.
Other breeders from time to time announce fall blooming tendencies in some of their irises. We have assembled a list of the surest fire fall bloomers which have stood the test of several years of consistent performers as fall bloomers.From a pioneering start of a few irises of rather small blooms, the fall blooming iris has now been developed into varieties of Dominion ancestry and size and quality with possibilities apparently open for still further development not only of fall bloomers but a possibility of ever bloomers as instanced by the white Autumn Queen which has made a record of blooming every month from May to December.
It must be borne in mind that fall blooming is a trait derived from pumila iris ancestry, a number of these dwarfs blooming each fall under favorable weather conditions. The fall blooming qualities depend to a great extent on culture. To make fall bloomers do their full duty, the fall bloomer must be given plenty of room, fertile soil, and should be given moisture in periods of summer drought to promote early resumption of growth.

The early start of fall growth is essential to promoting the fall blooming qualities.
The fall blooming does not interfere with the usual freedom of bloom at the regular season.
Fall bloomers cover the entire field of bearded irises, the dwarfs, intermediates, and tall bearded sections. Unlike the earlier season bloom, these three classes which are spread over a period of from early April to mid June in the normal iris season, all bloom at the same time in the fall so the possibilities of a fall iris display in which dwarfs, intermediates and tall bearded may be utilized at the same time, are great.

"Irises That Bloom In The Fall" is the title of the last chapter of a small book by Clint McDade of Chattanooga,[Ref 1] who has been testing fall blooming irises in his Tennessee garden for a number of years. In it he describes the best varieties and tells you how to grow them. The rest of the book is devoted to a description of his trip east last year and his visits to eastern iris gardens. His notes and ratings of the newer introductions are particularly good, and clearly show him to be a competent and reliable judge of the newest and best in iris.

The 1933 Annual Meeting of the American Iris Society will be held in Freeport on Saturday, June 3rd. The Freeport Garden Club will again sponsor the Iris Show which will be held in the Masonic Temple, June 3rd and 4th. Persons attending the Century of Progress in Chicago, may visit Freeport, attend the show and return the same evening, if they desire. Quality Gardens extends a most cordial invitation to those attending to visit our display garden, which is located at 871 West Stephenson Street.


I value the thrust of Mrs Pattison's argument, and her opinion is just as relevant today as when it was published in 1933. Just how many decisions have been recently made by the iris societies chattering classes without taking into account the opinions of the majority of Iris growers in the world the so called 'Home Gardeners', who are the real back bone of the Iris world yet most, are not likely to be members of Iris Societies. I remember been told some time ago by one of the owner's of a Commercial Iris Nursery with a International reputation, that if the business relied on just the sales to members of Iris Societies it would never have lasted the first few years. So in saying this  perhaps some of the 'I'm in Charge' members of societies should reflect on these facts before making their so called momentous and ground breaking decisions and at least try and be plausible with their decision making processes by getting their heads around 'market forces.' Unless of course these ning nong's think that making their iris society irrelevant to the real gardening world is their best idea. T.J.

[Ref 1] Clint McDade of Tennessee is recorded in the 1939 Checklist as "An Iris breeder particularly fond of Autumn-blooming Irises. He raised some seedlings and imported many European varieties." 
The chapter "Irises That Bloom In The Fall" can be found in his book 'Rainbow's end, or, Journeys of an iris lover, 1932 season'. 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

French Historic Tall bearded Iris PRESIDENT PILKINGTON

 These photos are of another of Ferdinand Cayeux exquisite introductions showing an iris selected and bred for style and form'Président Pilkington' is such an amazing looking Iris and you can see why when it was first introduced it took the Iris world by storm. This plants provenance has been well researched, photo's are of the plant growing in France last season and is true to label. Plant foliage is moderately purple-based.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1930, Irises in France, 1930 May 25th, 26th, 27th 1930. G.L.Pilkington.
Various seedlings falling under Diverse Colour Classes.
*** 4350 President Pilkington. Colour can be described roughly as an enormous "ochracea-coerulea," of quite perfect form. Four foot high and well branched, standards smoky lavender overlaid gold. Falls flaring, lavender blue with light olive brown suffusion at haft. Beard golden. A magnificent Iris.

Cayeux & Le Clerc, Quai de la Mègisserie, 8, Paris. Catalog 1931.
President Pilkington (Cayeux 1931) A very large flower of excellent form and glorious blend. S. pale buff wth a faint bluish suffusion. F. wide and flaring lavender blue with a buffy yellow suffusion paling at margins and yellow veining at throat. Beard golden yellow. Certificate of Merit and Special Prize offered by the 'IRISES COMMISSION OF THE SOCIETE NATIONALE D HORTICULTURE DE FRANCE' for the three best new Irises (May 1931).

Quality Gardens, Iris, Freeport, Illinois. Iris 1933.
President Pilkington M. 46”. Very large flower and a glorious blend. Standards pale buff with faint blue suffusion. Falls wide and flaring lavender-blue with yellow buff at margin and yellow throat. A magnificent iris, vigorous and sturdy and outstanding as to color.

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog, 1933.
PRESIDENT PILKINGTON Each 65c; 3 for $1.50
A very lovely pastel blend, which at one time bore the appropriate name of "Apparition". When Mr. Mead saw it blooming in France, he described the color as "a lavender-blue elephant tone", suffused with bronze. A huge flower, the stalks splendidly branched to 4 feet tall. Standards are pale buff, with faint bluish and slightly rosy cast. Falls, wide and flaring lavender blue with buffy yellow suffusion paling at the margins. Beard golden yellow.

The Longfield Iris Farm, Buffton, Indiana. Peonies, Iris, Daylilies, 1936
Pres. Pilkington (Cay 1933)   An imposing iris in size and height. S pale buff with faint blue suffusion; F wide and flaring, lavender blue with yellow buff at margin and yellow throat. A wonderful iris, vigorous and sturdy.

Carl Salbach Berkeley, California, German or Bearded Iris Catalog, 1937.
President Pilkington. This fine new blend, although generally compared to Dolly Madison, is totally distinct. Large, of bold form, well-branched, many buds to stalk, and medium tall. Standards vinaceous buff underlaid old gold, with falls of soft violet faintly edged silvery brown. The elegant dignity of this iris gives it a charm that is difficult to describe. Mid-season. 40 inch.

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Plantes 1938.
Président Pilkington (Cayeux 1931) Très grande fleur de forme superbe. Divisions supérieures buffle cliar teinté de jaune d’or. Divisions inférieures larges, bleu lavande, nuancé de jaune à la gorge. Certificat de mérite de la S.N.H.F.

National Iris Gardens, Beaverton, Oregon, 22nd Catalog, 1938.
Very huge flower, being a lovely pastel blend of lavender, blue, buff, yellow and rose, with striking gold beard. Outstanding French award winner.

Oakhurst Gardens, Arcadia, California. Iris 1939. 
PRESIDENT PILKINGTON. A magnificent, large, perfectly formed flower of outstanding color. S. pure buff; F. lavender-blue. 46 in.

Rene Cayeux, 124 rue Camille-Groult, Vitry-sur-Seine, près Paris, Seine. Iris Catalogue, 1939.
PRESIDENT PILKINGTON. Cayeux 1931. A very large flower of excellent form and glorious blend. S. pale buff with a faint bluish suffusions. F. wide an flaring lavender blue with a buffy yellow suffusion paling at margins and yellow veining at throat, beard golden yellow. Certificate of Merit and Special Prize of the S.N.H.F. IRISES COMMISSION for the three best new Irises (May 1931)

Schreiners Iris Garden, Riverview Station, St Paul, 7, Minnesota. An iris Lovers Catalog, 1940.
One of the largest and most exquisite of the blends. A pale crystalline buff heavily infused lavender, especially in the falls. A magnificently proportioned iris full of subtle overtones.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1947, Irises for the Beginner, N. Leslie Cave.
PRESIDENT PILKINGTON (2 Votes) (Cayeux  1931) A buff lavender blend of delightful colouring. A vigorous grower with slender stems. Planted in slight shade the delicate colours hold up well. A handsome Iris.

Rene Cayeux, 124 rue Camille-Groult, Vitry-sur-Seine, près Paris, Seine. Iris Catalogue 1951.
Président L. G. Pilkington. 
Buffle clair teinte jaune d'or et bleu lavande nuancé jaune d'or à la gorge. Coloris doux et fleur très élégante. T. Hr. 0,90m.

Revue-Horticole, 16th June, 1937.
AIS Checklist, 1939.
PRESIDENT PILKINGTON TB 40" M; S6L;  Cayeux,1931. Revue-Horticole-109 #18 page 529 16th June 1937; CM & Spec. Prize SNHF 1931: Bulletin Société Nationale d'Horticulture de France 5th Ser. 4: 307 25th June 1931.

It has to be said that over the next few years historic Iris identification will certainly be challenged and some of the varieties in established collections thought 'to be so' may perhaps become 'not to be so'. 

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Major Hat Tip and "Merci beaucoup" to Catherine Adam for her direction and help with the French language, catalogue listings, and of course for sharing with you all the amazing photos of '
Président Pilkington'.

Reproduction in whole or in part of these photo's without the expressed written permission of Catherine Adam is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Catherine Adam © .

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Historic Tall bearded Iris SHAH JEHAN

An exotic looking iris bred in Canada of all places, who would of thought? If ever there was an iris that reinforces the fact that historic irises have a natural yet bold elegance then this iris is it. Makes one think of Persian rugs, Oriental tapestry and palaces, this is an iris that begs the company of other white flowers, to set off it's rich tapestry of colours . Named after that lavish Mughal emperor 'Shah Jahan' famous for building the Taj Mahal, he was also believed to have had a very refined taste in the arts and is credited with having commissioned over 900 gardens in Kashmir. An iris that one could maybe expect to see at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, or perhaps 'The Manor' at Hemingford Grey.
These irises are once again becoming available for purchase from commercial growers, and I'm sure they will create a renewed interest in classic irises and be wildly popular with gardeners who appreciate real class. 

A H. Burgess and Son, Iris Specialists, Waikanae, Wellington. 1936 Irises.
SHAH JEHAN- This glorious novelty of rich Oriental colouring was raised in British Columbia, and shown in England last year when it received the Bronze Medal of the Iris Society. The standards are very erect and pointed, and are buff, suffused smoke grey, fading to yellow as the flower ages. The fall are plum red, with an intense reddish-brown flush at the haft; margined lavender-buff. 4ft.; Late.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1936, Number 63.
Iris Notes of 1936, J. Marion Shull.
A couple varieties that stood pretty much alone Over-the-Garden-Wall were Shah Jehan and Williamson's Amigo. The latter is of B. Y. Morrison type but much more intense in color and a better formed flower. It is seen to greatest advantage in shade. Shah Jehan is a very striking thing of the same variegata-derived color group, except that in Amigo all yellow has been left out whereas in Shah Jehan there is enough yellow above to present the strange anomaly of warm-toned standards with falls definitely cool in tone, such as would result from converting a yellow-white bicolor into a typical variegata blend of the falls type of Lodestar or Maori Princess. Beautiful form and exceptionally fine placement accompany the very unusual color scheme. I like it very much in a single stem. How it will wear when grown in mass and seen more frequently can only be left for later judgment.

The Longfield Iris Farm, Bluffton, Indiana. 1936 Catalog.
Shah Jenah (Neel, 1932.) English Bronze Medal (1933). A glorious Iris of rich Oriental coloring. S. buff suffused grey fading to yellow as the flower ages. F. rich plum red with intense reddish brown flush at haft. Margined lavender buff. Very late.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, September 1937, Number 66.
Along the Iris Coast, Julius Dornblut, Jr.
In my own garden Shah Jehan was eagerly awaited as I had read the glowing reports of it in the BULLETINS. It is royally splendid, looks ,veIl even in the rain, but somehow I was disappointed. Perhaps it was too well advertised. Its pinched falls will surely be criticised.

Stevens Bros. Bulls. Catalogue of Irises 1937-1938.
This glorious variety is truly Oriental in its blending of rich colours. It is too decided in its colour effect to be classed as a "blend," though many colours go to its make-up. It has been called a variegata, but it is so entirely different from all other variegatas, or indeed from all other irises, that it has been well termed sensational. The whole flower is an extravaganza of colour difficult to describe or visualise. The standards are buff, suffused with smoke grey, changing as the flower ages to yellow. The falls are a rich and lustrous velvety purple, with an intense reddish-brown flush at the haft, very distinctly margined lavender-buff. A rich orange beard completes this glorious ensemble. 4ft.....................................................12/6

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1937.
SHAH JEHAN Each $2.00
Said to contain more colors than any other iris in commerce, this serenely beautiful flower in oriental smoky shades almost eludes any attempt to describe it accurately. Standards are creamy buff faintly edged lavender, the falls very rich velvety chestnut merging into purple, thence gradually fading out to a margin that repeats the color in the standards. Beard is very rich orange. A very late variety, tall,of large size.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, September 1937, Number 66.
Impressions of a California Iris Season, Harold I Johnson.
Shah Jehan is a most vivid flower. There is the faintest element of the absurd about it, and I find its colors rather reminding me of Santa Claus and Christmas chimneys. Something so unusual should, however, be treasured. It is a true amoena, as will be markedly shown by comparing it with Mildred Presby.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1938.Visit to Wisley. 10th June, 1938, G. L Pilkington.
SHAH JEHAN (Neel) was hardly out- it is a late flowerer- but was thick with flower spikes and doing well. This is another iris for richness of colour.

Schreiner's Iris Garden, Riverview Station, St. Paul, Minnesota. 1940 Catalog.
SHAH JEHAN (Neel 1932) L. 38"
This unique new Iris which Schreiner's Iris Gardens have popularized in America has now become one of the dozen of so irises by whose presence the up-to-dateness of an iris collection is judged. In color it is certainly the most sensational of all novelties. Named for that lavish emperor of India who ruled three centuries ago from the famous Peacock Throne, Shah Jehan is itself an extravaganza of color containing no less than seven distinctly different hues. The standards are a delicate creamy-buff faintly edged lavender; the falls are rich and magnificent, quickly blending from a light fawn at the haft to a glowing copper, then to a rich deep chestnut. This in turn changes to a gorgeous tone of lustrous velvety purple- the dominant color of the falls. Imperceptibly this rich purple changes to a softer plum or magenta and this finally to a lavender edge which repeats the margining of the standards. The beard is of the richest orange. The entire effect, for all the extraordinary range of color is subtly harmonious and inveigling. If you have not yet added this outstanding iris to your collection, do not fail to include it this season. 

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1942, Bearded Flag Irises-An Initial Thirty, F.Wynn Hellings.
7. SHAH JEHAN. A glorious Iris. It is not easy to describe the colour scheme, but it may be said that the standards are a smoky-buff which becomes more yellow as the flower ages, while the richly coloured falls are a shade of dark, reddish plum-purple, edged lavender. It has become one of my favourites after a season of doubt while it was establishing itself. Not the least of its attractions is that it comes in late mid-season (third and fourth week of June), and is in fact usually tile last to flower of my 350 varieties (reduced from 500 to make room for vegetables). Extremely rapid increase. Form and proportion excellent. Good stem. Height 3 ft. 9 in.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1947, Irises for the Beginner, N. Leslie Cave.
SHAH JEHAN (2 Votes) (Neel 1932) Buff standards, red purple falls shaded with a rich brown. Rather late flowering. A satisfactory grower and very distinct. Tall.

Cayeux, La Carcaudière - Route de Coullons, France. Iris Lovers Catalogue, 2014.
SHAH JEHAN (Neel 1932) Tall bearded - Mid-season to late - size:85cm - colour: Amoena
Standards are milky white, whilst light lemon coloured at the base. Falls are crimson red with a fine 2mm wide white border. Bright yellow beards. A graceful amoena with a good finish for the time period.

AIS Checklist 1939
SHAH JEHAN TB-MVLa-S9D (Neel 1932)
(Ambassadeur X  . . . ), HC RHS 1934, AM AIS 1937.

As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.
Major Hat Tips and "Merci beaucoup" to Richard Cayeux for his photos, his daughter Hortense for collating and formatting the high resolution photos, and to Catherine Adam for her direction and help with the French Language, and catalogue listings.

Reproduction in whole or in part of this photo without the expressed written permission of Richard Cayeux is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Richard Cayeux © .

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Classic Tall Bearded Iris SUN MIRACLE

Considered by Carlos Ayento, of Brighton Park Iris to be rare variety in its American homeland. 'Sun Miracle' is a forty six year old classic and is still growning and seen alot in gardens here in New Zealand.
Amazingly bright, its an Iris with great carrying power, grows extraordinarily well. It's such a clean yellow self.  

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1967.
SUN MIRACLE ( Schreiner 1967) M. 36"
Sun Miracle is not a golden yellow but in the  scale a true canary yellow. In the garden picture we never get enough of these. Their effect is like magic in brightening up the entire iris colorama. Yellow is indeed the most vivid color: witness the popularity of marigolds. Don't pass up this potent color. It will do things for you!

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1982.
SUN MIRACLE ( Schreiner 1967) M. 36"
A true canary yellow of perfect form. In the garden we never get enough of these. Their effect is like magic in brightening up the entire colorama. Yellow is indeed the most vivid color; witness the popularity or marigolds. This new yellow is a glorious, sunshiny color. Big blooms and extra fine branching.

Richmond Iris Garden, 376 Hill Street, Nelson. 1971-1972 Catalogue.
SUN MIRACLE  M. 36". A true canary yellow of perfect form, yellow acts like magic in brighten up the entire garden.

The Iris Yearbook (BIS), 1976,Varietal Comment- Tall Bearded, Bryan Dodsworth.
SUN MIRACLE ( Schreiner 1967). Canary yellow self. Unsurpassed in its colour group. Every stem is of show quality, the flowers are of ideal form and rugged substance.Disease is unknown to it and it increases freely. As the advertisers say, no garden can be considered complete without it.

AIS Checklist 1969
 SUN MIRACLE    (Schreiners, R. 1967). Sdlg. W 474-AA. TB 36" M. Y1F.    Absolute self of even color pure gold, canary yellow (RHS canary yellow), very smooth; even yellow beard. Olympic Torch X R 272-2 ((Golden Blaze x M1158-A (Country Butter x Golden Sunshine))., Schreiners 1967.

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

Reproduction in whole or in part of this photo without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises © .

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris SERENITY PRAYER

It is floriferous, first rate grower and well deserves a place in the Garden.
I do not need to extrapolate the brilliance of this iris and why would I need to when Perry Dyer (The Hybridiser and Iris writer) has summed it up nicely himself.

Contemporary Views, 1988, Perry Dyer– Standard Dwarf Beardeds.
SERENITY PRAYER (Dyer 1989) will be the last Dyer introduction for several years probably, as my own hybridizing endeavors are currently taking a vacation for a few years! From some extensive work for blue-bearded whites, it is actually a glowing cream with undertones of soft butter yellow and a mother-of-pearl sheen. Then, an intense, quite clean azure blue to indigo beard produces a nice contrast. A very stately, elegant median.

Contemporary Views, 1991, Perry Dyer– Standard Dwarf Beardeds.
The early success of SERENITY PRAYER (me, 1989) has been most gratifying. I’m getting great reports from all over the country, and we’re now hearing that it’s a reliable repeat bloomer and rebloomer. One of Paul Black’s releases from the same year is similar in background but distinctive enough from ‘Serenity Prayer’ that they really shouldn’t be compared:SIGH (1989) is a magnificent work of art, with cool icy white flowers blessed with elegant soft blue beards. Needless to say, we’re trying to mate the two! ‘Sigh’ has excellent form and substance supreme, with no other coloration to distract from the glacial effect.

AIS Checklist 1989
SERENITY PRAYER,  Perry Dyer, Reg 1987. Sdlg. L-4. SDB, 13" (33 cm), EM-L. S. creamy white, flushed warm light yellow on midrib; F. mother-of-pearl cream, flushed yellow on hafts; deep blue beard tipped powder blue; light to moderately waved. Hamblen M73-12A: (((Sunny Heart x Blue Canary sib) x Canary Isle) x Tumwater) X Sapphire Jewel. Contemporary Gardens 1989. Honorable Mention 1991; Award of Merit 1993; Cook-Douglas Medal 1995.

Major Hat Tips and to Julie May of 'The Iris Garden' fame for her amazing photo.

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

Reproduction in whole or in part of this photo without the expressed written permission of Julie May is strictly prohibited.
Photo credit and copyright Julie May © .

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tall Bearded Iris SPRECKLES

An Iris that has lasted the test of time and yet when it blooms it is still an a annoyingly strong example of the carrying power of plicata's .
Its name however I have always thought was inappropriate for this variety. 'Spreckles' sounds like a name for a budgie, or a thrush or one of our farmyard hens. When first told this Iris had been named 'Spreckles' it reminded me of the time when I found out the loud and brash punk rocker that lived down the road in the '70's is now working at the Haberdashery Counter at Spotlight and proudly wearing the name tag 'Rupert'.

Spreckles the iris is consistently every season dressed like a very colourful loud and brash punk that could almost have been conceived with the artist Jackson Pollock's imagination.
Grows really well as a plant, with vigour and has a resistance to virus, and carries well in the garden. Tuck it away in a large clump of early-mid season flowering blacks and dark blue irises and you may be surprised. Amazingly popular in New Zealand and still sold by many commercial growers.
Age could never change this iris, whereas Rupert now looks like a lost alternative lifestyle geek who got into body piecing in a big way, perhaps to hang pieces of Haberdashery off.

Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, 57th Annual, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1982.
SPRECKLES (Schreiner's, 1972) ML. 35"
With its cadenced rhythmic motion this charming red plicata offers one a real surprise. Its animated crimson stippled marking on a gay yellow ground mark it as the reddest plicata, with the deepest yellow background shadings of any Iris we catalog. Early blooming, good stems with fine branching and 5 to 8 buds.

Jean Collins Iris Garden, Cambridge Road, R.D.1 Tauranga. Iris Catalogue, 1982.
SPRECKLES  EM- Very bright plicata. Red/brown markings on yellow

BayBloom Nurseries, Cambridge Road, R.D.1 Tauranga. Spring and Summer Catalogue, 1996.
SPRECKLES This charming red offers one a real surprise with its crimson stippled markings on a bright yellow background. Early blooming with fine branching, this variety has always been popular.

AIS Checklist 1979
SPRECKLES    Schreiner's, Reg. 1979. Sdlg. B2388-1. TB 35" (89 cm) EM  S. coppery red flush on yellow ground; F. bright yellow ground with red plicata markings; orange beard. Cayenne Capers X R 185-1: (M1141-A x self)., Schreiner's 1971.

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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