Friday, May 13, 2016

Tall Bearded Iris TAJ RANI

'Taj Rani' is a very classy iris that has every chance of becoming another of Barry Blyths small but growing list of disappearing gems. Thirty eight years old and some will claim this contemporary iris as Historic because of the thirty year rule, and technically it is, but as I have already stated in one of my September 2012 post "When groups of  Irises emerge with characteristics sufficiently different from those that have gone before, the subject of a classification that is determined by a time line needs to be addressed."
The one really important classification that 'Taj Rani' definitely is, 'it's rare', only grown in three gardens that I know of in New Zealand and I received an email reply today from a ex-commercial grower in Australia who I knew catalogued this iris a few years ago and message stated "I no longer grow Taj Rani. I have found better irises of that colour and it probably was never a huge seller in its time. It probably continues in a number of backyards." So the only known Southern Hemisphere commercial source bites the dust you might say, and I have never seen it commercially listed in any other country. 
The late New Zealand irisarian Shirley Spicer used 'Taj Rani' in her breeding program and it is the pod parent of her 2001 tall bearded introduction 'Bright Fine Gold', and I  know Hooker Nichols used 'Taj Rani' in the breeding of his 1991 introduction 'Diddler' and 'Diddler' (Taj Rani x In Tempo) is the pod parent of 'Scene Stealer' so 'Taj Rani' was/is in the States somewhere perhaps!! 

It's not hard to like this iris a massive amount, with good branching, high plant health, nice clean foliage, reasonable vigour, strong stalks, amazing sooty black purple buds that open into a shimmering smooth voluptuous lavender self with a unique lavender beard tipped tangerine- get it and enjoy it- you can even get to call yourself a conservationist- if you can find it available for sale anywhere that is!!

Tempo Two, Barry and Lesley Blyth, East Road, Pearcedale, Victoria, Australia, Season 1983-84
 TAJ RANI  (Blyth '78 Aust.) M 32" . Some 15 years ago we grew a lovely Iris called Lavender Diadem and ever since we have been looking for an improved version, until now none of the hundreds of imported varieties or seedlings have been even near it until Taj Rani first bloomed. It is a silky smooth satin lavender self with perfect form, beards are lavender tipped tangerine. Branching is good. A lovely Iris that has to be seen to be appreciated (Orchid Song x Fond Wish).

Bay Blooms Nurseries, Cambridge Road, Tauranga Spring / Summer 1988 Catalogue.Bearded Iris.
TAJ RANI A silky smooth satin lavender self with perfect form, beards are lavender tipped tangerine.Branching is good. A lovely Iris that has to be seen to be appreciated.

AIS Checklist 1979
TAJ RANI    (B. Blyth, R. 1978). Sdlg. J21-1. TB 32" (82 cm) M.     Ruffled satin lavender self; tangerine beard. Orchid Song X Fond Wish., Tempo Two 1978/79.

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