Thursday, April 23, 2015

French Historic Intermediate Bearded Iris ARCHEVÊQUE

Within the framework of the in-depth study concerning French horticultural heritage that I have been working on for many years, the Parc Floral de Paris asked for my help checking the identification  of the cultivars they possess and the reorganisation of their collection of both bearded and species irises.  They sent me certain plants in order to achieve that objective and ‘Archevêque’ is one of the plants I have had the pleasure of observing first hand.  
The rigid but fine bloom stalk is 50 cm high, has four buds and one can understand the particular name, ‘Archevêque ‘ as the flowers open, with their colours which are reminiscent of the luxury and colours of priestly clothing worn by the , 'Archevêque' (Archbishops) of the Catholic Church.  
Assessment under different types of light reveals the delicate qualities of all the parts of this flower.  
Archevêque is a sumptuous iris which increases slowly - it has the good taste to not act as if it were an invasive weed like some cultivars.  It does honour to the unique genetic heritage of bearded irises of which France is the birthplace. 

G. G. Whitelegg & Co, Chislehurst, Kent,Catalogue of Irises 1921
June Flowering Irises, General Collection.
ARCHEVEQUE (Vilmorin).-A brilliant coloured variety of French origin, Standards rich violet-purple, Falls bright Velvet crimson. An exceedingly fine flower ............. .. ..

Les Iris Cultivés  1922, choix de 100 variétés pages 30-31-32
Archevêque (Vilmorin 1911). Divisions supérieures violet rougeâtre clair, divisions inférieures violet velouté.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1922, Number 6.
Descriptions of Varieties, Part 1.
Bicolor. RR,-V. (d).     Vilmorin, 1911
Brief. Standards, light hortense violet; Falls, velvety raisin purple; stalk, short branched; growth, vigorous; 2 ft.
Details. Beard yellow, brown tip; styles pearl gray and violet.
Remarks. Unusually deep rich color, effective in mass.

Treasure Oak Nursery, Mays Landing, New Jersey, Catalog of Select Iris and Peonies, 1923.
The Best and Rarest of the Iris.
8.3 ARCHEVEQUE. (Vilmorin 1911. CM., RHS.) $0.75
S.-Deep purple-violet (hortense Violet).
F.-Black-purple of velvety surface.
True stock of this variety is in demand as it is slow in increasing and at times backward in blooming but these faults are overlooked for its wonderful bloom of finest texture and color.

The Dean lris Gardens, Moneta, California.Choice Iris 1924.
Archeveque (Vilmorin). Standards purple·violet; Falls very dark velvety purple. Beard, ocher tipped brown. A very rich, handsome Iris and free bloomer, blooming in mid-winter in Southern California. Each, 50c; dozen $5.00.

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Deuxième Série,
17. Archevêque (Vilmorin). Hâtif. Divisions inférieures grandes, violet foncé velouté avec médiane plus claire; les supérieures violet rougeâtre. Haut 0m60.

Carl Salbach, 657 Woodmont Avenue, Berkeley, California. Irises, 1926.
Archeveque (Vilmorin). 83-Standards red violet, Falls deeper and velvety. Fine color and inclined in California to bloom in late fall as well as spring. 2 ft.

Iris Fields, West La Fayette, Indiana. Iris of Quality,1926
83. ARCHEVEQUE (Vilm. 1911). An old variety that has not been surpassed in its color. Standards deep purple violet; Falls velvety raisin purple. 2 ft.
(DESCRIPTION OF VARIETIES The figure before the name is the rating of the American Iris Society on a score of 100 as perfection. Those not preceded by a figure
have not yet been rated. Any Iris receiving a score of 70 or over is considered good.

Longfield Iris Farm, Bluffton, Indiana. Price List 1926
83. Archeveque (Vilmorin 1911). A richly colored Iris fine in clump or mass. Standards violet; falls a deep violet purple. Neither large nor tall but a general favorite on account of its fine coloring. Two feet. - $0.50

Leamon G. Tingle, Pittsville, Maryland. Tingle's 1927 Catalog of Nursery Stock
8.3. ARCHEVEQUE (Vilmorin 1911). A striking flower of brilliant coloring. Standards, rich violet-purple, Falls, bright velvet-crimson. 40c

Indian Springs Farm,Baldwinsville, New York.Iris Catalog 1927
ARCHEVEQUE (Vilmorin 1911) 8.3. Standards deep purple-violet; Falls rich, deep, velvety violet. An exceedingly fine flower of rich coloring. 24 inches. - 35 cts. each; 85 cts. for 3; $3.00 per doz.

Lee R. Bonnewitz Catalog,Van Wert, Ohio, Peonies and Irises Catalog, 1928.
ARCHEVEQUE (Vilmorin 1911) The cheapest and the best quality of the rich red-purple Irises for landscape effect. If, with its high quality and its bright color, it possessed also size and height and were scarce,it would sell at an extremely high price.  $0.35    Five Rhizomes for $1.00; 1 Dozen rhizomes for $2.00; one hundred rhizomes for $15.00;

Shenandoah Nurseries, Shenandoah, Iowa. Peonies Iris-Lilies & Bulbs, 1929.
ARCHEVEQUE, (Vilmorin 1911) 8.3. Standards, deep velvety violet, Falls, deep purple, an unusual and rich color effect seldom found in Iris. 24 inches.

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Série Générale, 1930.
17.Archevêque (Vilm.). Hâtif. Divisions inférieures grandes, violet foncé velouté avec bande médiane plus claire, les supérieures violet rougeâtre. Haut 60 cm.

The Orpington Nurseries Co. Ltd., Orpington, Kent. Irises 1930.
Archevêque (Vilmorin 1911).A brilliant variety of French origin.  S. rich violet-purple, F. bright crimson-purple./ A small flower,but very rich. Rather dwarf. Early

Rainbow Fragments, A Garden Book of the Iris, J.Marion Shull, 1931.
General list of varieties.
ARCHEVEQUE (Vilmorin 1911) Rich deep red-tone purple. Fragrant.
Freedom of Bloom......Moderate to free.
Season of Bloom ........Early-Midseason
Garden Value.............Good
Color Class.................Bicolor
Color effect Ridgway symbols...RR-V dark
Falls...........................Drooping incurved
Buds per stem.............Average
Branching...... ............short high
Character...................Stiff and broad
Leaf Color...................glaucous blue green.
Growth.......................Vigorous with good increase

AIS Checklist 1939
ARCHEVÊQUE IB-M-B9D Vilmorin 1911
Vilmorin 1911; 1938; Quality Iris Gardens 1915; Charles Wing, 1920; G H Francis 1920;  Earl Woodward Sheets, 1928; Amos Perry 1938; Rowancroft Gardens, 1938; Charles F. Wassenberg, 1938; Brookdale Nurseries, 1929; A. B. Katkamier, 1939; Gilbert Wild & Sons,1939; AAA Journal Royal Horticultural Society  135; Commended,Royal Horticultural Society 1916.

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, the introduction at the top of the page and of course for sharing with you all the amazing photos of the historic Intermediate Bearded Iris 'Archevêque'.

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 post, its opinions or its images without the expressed written permission of Terry Johnson is strictly prohibited. Copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


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