Friday, March 25, 2016



Anne Milner
Watercolours by Fern Harden

Anne Milner presents her family history intertwined with the history of Bliss irises, which are now part of the Plant
Heritage family of National Collections of plants worth preserving.

The collection was featured in the second series of The Great British Garden Revival
on BBC2 in January 2015.

Bliss Irises combines family history and gardening in a unique and very personal journey. Initially triggered by interest in her great, great grandfather who built the Bliss Tweed Mill in Chipping Norton, Anne Milner discovered Arthur J. Bliss, a cousin of a grandfather, and his work with early 20th century irises. Having travelled to New Zealand and South Africa, Arthur had many adventures before becoming famous in the horticultural world for breeding and introducing Dominion , an iris that took the world by storm when it was first introduced in 1917. It has since gone on  to be found in the pedigree of hundreds of modern irises.
With stunning photographs, watercolours and line drawings throughout, the second part of Bliss Irises focuses on the flowers themselves and details the range of irises registered by Anne Milner s ancestor Arthur Bliss.

Bliss Irises will appeal to readers with an interest in irises, historic plants and family history, as well as those with a more general interest in gardening and horticulture.
ANNE MILNER learned her love of plants while helping her father in his garden as a child. She started researching her family history in the early 1980s and discovered her Uncle Arthur and his irises. She has no formal gardening training but has been enjoying gardening for over 40 years. 

TO BE PUBLISHED 28th August 2016
ISBN 9781785892981
Distributor: Troubador Publishing Ltd, 9 Priory Business Park, Wistow, Kibworth, Leics LE8 0RX
BIC subject category : WMP Gardening: plants
Paperback 234x156 mm 256pp Portrait.

Tel: 0116 279 2299 Email:

It is hoped that the book will be ready for sale at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in early July, where Bliss Irises will be sharing a stand (PH309) with Sarah Cook and her Sir Cedric Morris Irises. Please make sure you visit the Bliss Irises Web Site

Update: The Book can now be pre-ordered from the Book Depository click on the link here for further details.

Book Image credit and copyright Anne Milner © .

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 ©.

Read More

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tall Bearded Historic Iris DEMI-DEUIL

 Demi-Deuil bred by Fernand Denis was eventually in 1931 placed on the American Iris Society 'Black List' one of the most crazy surveys in the Iris world, and in my opinion it was the iris equivalent of 'Burning Books'. It was a decade of 'Iris Shaming'.
William Caparne was so concerned with the American Iris Society encouraging the discarding of older Iris varieties for the best new varieties that started in "The Flower Grower" in 1919-1920. In his article 'On Discarding Irises' I think he summed up his concerns well in the following paragraph.
 There are various ways of looking at flowers, as at most things; 1st, by themselves; 2nd, in company with others; 3rd, en mass; and each of these ways demands separate methods of mind. In the mass we can and do arrange colours to agree and to tell with effect. In a group, small or large, we had better do so, but the individual is at home to us and has all its points and characters available to be read, delighted in and conversed about. It is indeed very beautiful, but it by no means follows that these beauties either shine or are even exhibited in company. And, if you want them to, you must make special arrangements as you would for a concert performer; don't put him or her into a crowd with several other pianos going, and then discard him as over-rated, not up to the mark, etc. I think it is distinctly part of the business of the Iris Society to help people to see more beauty in things beautiful and in this connection it is well to remember the old saw that "the better is ever the enemy of the good and the best can kill both".

  Demi-Deuil is a iris of distinct character, is a strong grower and is still admired by growers with taste. Should it have been registered today there is a strong possibly it would be classified a Table Iris

Cayeux et Le Clerc, Quai de la Mégisserie, 8, Paris.
Demi-Deuil (Denis 1912).
Coloris distinct à fond blanc tigré et zébré violet pensée.

Lee R. Bonnewitz,Van Wert, Ohio, Peonies and Irises,1926.
We are told this French name means 'half-mourning' so you must not expect this Iris to contain bright colors. S. pansy-violet shaded copper; F. red-violet with white markings; yellow beard stippled brown.Two rhizomes at 45c each, five or more rhizomes at  40c each.

Carl Salbach Irises,Creston Road Berkeley, California,1926.
Demi-deuil (Denis). A very odd dark plicata. White ground almost covered with dull purple veins and dots. 50c.

U.S. Department of Agriculture The Farmers Bulletin
 Issued January 1926. Garden Irises.

Lee R. Bonnewitz,Van Wert, Ohio, Peonies and Irises,1928.
This Iris originated in France, has pansy-violet, red-violet and copper tones, and it's name when translated in English is "Half Mourning." It is valuable as a novelty only............$0.38

The Dean lris Gardens, Moneta, California. Choice Iris, Price List for 1921-1922.
The Largest Collection West of the Rocky Mountains and one of the Largest in the United States.
Introductions of English and French Origin.
Demi-deuil (Denis). S. amber yellow, heavily veined and dotted deep livid purple; F. white, veined and dotted dark dull purple. A dark Plicata of unusual color. Each, $1.00.

Bearded Iris Tried at Wisley 1925-1927, Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Class VI a (1)
Varieties with standards of shot shades, pale blue or lavender, the yellow being scarcely perceptible .
Planted in the General Collection
DEMI-DEUIL 26 inches. June.

AIS Checklist 1929.
DEMI-DEUIL TB-S8D (Denis 1912) Maron 1919; Denis 1920; Earl Woodward Sheets,1928; Class VI a (1) Journal Royal Horticultural Society, Trials January 1928; Commended, Royal Horticultural Society 14th June 1916; Journal Royal Horticultural Society,42; Parts 2 & 3,Trials.

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 listing, and sharing with you the amazing photos of the historic Tall Bearded Iris 'Demi-Deuil'.

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 ©.

Read More

©2008 - 2016 HERITAGE IRISES. All rights reserved. Unauthorized copying or storage of this website's content is prohibited without prior written permission. Terry Johnson in association with The Iris Hunter,What Have You Productions and 15 out of 7 Design.