HERITAGE IRISES

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. 
CATHERINE ADAM, FRANCE, 2015.

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.
ARCHEVEQUE 8.3 (22)
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,
1925-1926.
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
Flower;
Color Class.................Bicolor
Color effect Ridgway symbols...RR-V dark
Size............................Medium
Standards...................Arching
Falls...........................Drooping incurved
Substance...................Good.
Stalk;
Character...................Erect
Height........................Low
Buds per stem.............Average
Branching...... ............short high
Foliage;
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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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

French Historic Tall Bearded Iris, INNOCENZA.





The American Iris Society published a Discard List in 1931 and included amongst the 141 Lémon varieties listed for discard was today's featured iris 'Innocenza'. 
I still find this list to be at the time an incredulous level of arrogance by some within the iris world. Amazingly short sighted to suggest the discard of irises that were mainly British or European bred, listed on 22 pages with an average of 70 irises per page (approx. 1500 irises). The legendry breeder William Caparne when campaigning vigorously against the discard list wrote "It is a narrowing down of the idea of things beautiful instead of expanding it".

Bertrand H. Farr, Wyomissing Pennsylvania. Farr's Catalogue of Hardy Plants Specialities, 1910.
Iris Germanica-Variegata Section.
INNOCENZA. S. and F. ivory white, crest rich golden, a very delicate and beautiful flower, 26 in. 25c.


G. G. Whitelegg & Co, Chislehurst, Kent,Catalogue of Irises 1921
June Flowering Irises, General Collection.
Innocenza. Pure white, with slight reticulations at the throat. A most useful variety.





Les Iris Cultivés,  1922.
choix de 100 variétés
39. Innoncenza (Lémon 1854). Blanc presque pur.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1923, Number 7.
Descriptions of Varieties, Part II.
INNOCENZA 71 (21)
Self, W.                Lemon, 1854
Brief. White. S. cupped; F. drooping; stalk low and well-branched;
growth moderate to vigorous; 30 in.
Details. Haft finely reticulated blackish purple to burnt lake; beard
conspicuous white, orange tip.

Cayeux & Le Clerc, Quai de la Mègisserie, 8, Paris. Catalog 1925.
Innocence (Lémon 1854) Pure white, with slight reticulations at the throat, yellow beard.

Vilmorin Andrieux & Cie, 4 Quai de la Mégisserie, Paris (1er), Plantes 1925.
Iris Vivaces Hybrids, Série Générale.
Innocenza. Tardif. Fleurs blanc pur avec chenille jaune, à divisions infèrieures lègèrement 
striées brun à la base.

Cornell Extension Bulletin 112, Austin W. Sand, 1925.
Innocenza. (Lémon 1854) Color effect a white self. Standards white with brown and purple reticulations on the claw. Falls clear white, inconspicuously veined purple on the haft.
The dense beard is conspicuously orange tipped. Innocenza ia a moderately vigorous grower, with a medium, yellow green foliage. The low branching flowering stalks are freely produced, and carry flowers of a good substance till late in the season. Its clear color and showy, golden beard make it one of the best ten, a good cut flower and excellent for mass effect. It is one of the older sorts, not fully appreciated when rated at 71.




Courtesy U S Department of Agriculture Farmers Bulletin 1406


U S Department of Agriculture Farmers Bulletin 1406, January 1926.
Garden Irises B. Y. Morrison
Beginning with the white varieties, there is a group in which are included the truly white ones, as, for example, Iris albicans (fig. 22) ; those which are white with some colored reticulations in the throat, as in Innocenza (fig. 23) or Mrs. Horace Darwin; those of white faintly washed or tinted with color, but still counting for white in garden effect, as in Iris florentina (fig. 24), and perhaps as in Pancroft, which may be taken as the/other extreme of tinting;

E.Turbat & Cie , Route d'Olivet 67, Orleans, France.
Automne 1930 Printemps 1931 (variétés nouvelles ou rares)
Innocence (Innocenza). Blanc pur avec chenille blanche légèrement strié brun à la base. Tardif.

  AIS Checklist 1939
INNOCENZA TB-M-WW (Lémon 1854) Van Houtte 1854; Garden Chronicle 1894, Van Tubergen 1900; Farr, 1912; Wing 1920; Buccleuch Nursuries,1938; AAA Journal Royal Horticultural Society; Highly Commended Royal Horticultural Society 1903; Commended Royal Horticultural Society 1917; Journal Royal Horticultural Society 1918; Horticultural Directory and Year Book, 1918;






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

 Major Hat Tips and "Merci beaucoup" to Nathalie Faivre for her amazing photo's, and Parc Floral de Paris for the use of the photo's, and to Catherine Adam for her direction and help with the French Language, catalogue listings, and my sincere thanks for her tireless pursuit with the preservation of French Historic Iriseswe are all truly grateful.

Reproduction in whole or in part of these photo's without the expressed written permission of Parc Floral is strictly prohibited.
Photo credits and copyright Nathalie Faivre and Parc Floral de Paris © .


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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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris ALEXANDRA TWILIGHT



Another of the beetroot red colour so popular or is the word prevalent within the Standard Dwarf Iris class. 'Alexandra Twilight' has a parentage like a double dose of Cherry Garden. Bred by Helen Falconer a well known New Zealand gardener from Central Otago. Produces a good measure of blooms, that display themselves well above the foliage. Hardy. Helen Falconer received the NZIS Lucy Delany Award for 'Alexandra Twilight' when it was displayed as a seedling at the Central Otago Iris Safari in 1993. (The NZIS Lucy Delany Memorial Award is presented to the raiser of the most outstanding New Zealand Bred Dwarf or Median Iris seen at a Iris Safari for that year.)

Waimate Iris Garden, Waimate,  2000.
Alexandra Twilight: Falconer 1999. Plum standards with black thumbprint. Early........$4.00

New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2014
ALEXANDRA TWILIGHT (Helen M. Falconer, R. 1997.) Sdlg: 1/90. SDB. 11" (27cm), E. S. plum;  style arms orange, streaked plum; F. deeper plum, plum black thumbprint spot; beards purple; slight fragrance.  Cherry Garden X Barnstormer. Waimate Iris Garden 1999/2000. Lucy Delany Award 1993 (NZ).

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

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.
Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Historic Border Bearded Iris RICHARD II




The Garden, 1st July 1916.
AWARDS OF MERIT.
Iris germanica Richard II. — A late-flowering Bearded Iris said to be a seedling from Black Prince, and, if so, would, we imagine, be more correctly grouped with the I. neglecta varieties. It is a handsome and distinct sort, with deep purplish violet falls bordered with white ; standard'- bluish white. Valuable for its late flowering. From Mr. Amos Perry, Enfield.


The Gardener's Chronicle, July 1st, 1916.
Iris Richard II. — The new Iris illustrated  in fig. 3 is a notable addition to garden varieties. The falls are coloured deep violet, whilst the  standards are white, the dark and light tones contrasting in a marked degree. The veining on the falls and the rich gold colour of the crest give additional beauty to the flower. The variety received the R.H.S. Award of Merit on the 20th June. when shown by Mr. Amos Perry. 


G. G. Whitelegg & Co, Chislehurst, Kent,Catalogue of Irises 1921
June Flowering Irises, General Collection.
RICHARD II. (Dykes). one of the most fascinating Iris yet introduced and one of the most prolific, neat tufts of light green foliage, stout stems, well furnished with medium-sized ·flowers, standards pure white, falls deep violet conspicuously margined white.


The Dykes Irises, Mrs Dykes, Bobbingcourt, Pyle Hill, Mayford, Woking, Surrey. Irises of 1927
List 2 June Flowering Irises. General collection of varieties raised by Mr. W. R. Dykes
 RICHARD II. (1914).- A seedling of "The Black Prince." Neat tufts of light green foliage, stout stems, well furnished with medium-sized flowers, standards pure white; falls deep violet conspicuously margined white. 1½- to 2 feet.


A H. Burgess and Son, Iris Specialists, Waikanae, Wellington. 1936 Irises.
  RICHARD II.  Standards white; Falls deep violet, with a very handsome white margin. Very dwarf. Suitable for a rock garden. Late 1ft.


Amos Perry's Diary. Printed for private circulation 1946.
Being a record of plants raised and introduced by Amos Perry.
Iris Barbata. 1911
Richard II. Award of Merit Royal Horticultural Society
A beautiful border Iris with purple falls bordered with white. The standards are white; it was obtained as a seedling from Black Prince/ Raised by W. R. Dykes entire stck purchased 1914


AIS Checklist 1939
 RICHARD II., DB-M-W3 (Dykes 1914) Perry 1914; The Garden Chronicle, July 1916; Rainbow Iris Gardens, 1921; Earl Wooddell Sheets, 1938; William Clibrain & Son, 1938; Anton Roozen & Sons Holland,(BLACK PRINCE X BLACK PRINCE); AAA Journal Royal Horticultural Society  137; A.M. R.H.S., 1916 shown by Perry.


There is a very good chance that this Iris grows somewhere in England. I have highlighted it on the Blog so it may find its name. Maybe at Sissinghurst?? Research show it blooms midseason, bloom stalks 22" in height and looks like a mini 'Wabash'.

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. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spuria Iris SON OF SUN



Spuria Iris have not been available to be purchase from a commercial source in New Zealand since Waimate Iris Gardens stopped selling Spuria Iris in 2004 some ten years ago. The bright and showy 'Son of Sun' was gifted to me by Eddie Johns of the once famous Otara Birch Gardens in Rongotea who back when had a huge iris collection. I have a Iris friend in the Bay of Plenty that was able to purchase a few varieties from a South Island Grower, but the state of the market in New Zealand for one of the best long stem cut flower Iris varieties is poor. They are just so ideally suited for growing on the East Coast of New Zealand because of their desire for a long hot and dry summer that allows them to enjoy a dry dormant period. They require full sun, good drainage and like to be planted in a permanent position as they do not like to move and have a tendency to sulk and not flower for the first two years after transplanting.  Best time to divide is just after the start of the Autumn rains.

Rainbow Ridge Nursery, Dural, New South Wales, Iris and Daylily Catalogue 1998.
SON OF SUN Rich, pure yellow...............$12.00

Waimate Iris Garden, Waimate, South Canterbury , 2004 Catalogue.
Spurias
Son of Sun: Wickenkamp 1983 Bright yellow..............................$8.00

IRIS Flowers of the Rainbow, Graeme Grosvenor.
Spuria Irises, Recommended cultivars.
Son of Sun: (Wickenkamp 1983) is a brilliant yellow of good form and growing habits. Spikes reach 115cm and this iris blooms mid season.It is a top award winner in the USA.

AIS Checklist 1989.
SON OF SUN (Floyd Wickenkamp, R. 1982). Seedling SP-78-1. SPU, 45.25" (105 cm), Mid bloom season. Lightly ruffled bright yellow. 'Archie Owen' X 'Baritone'. Shepard Iris Garden 1983. Honorable Mention 1985; Nies Award 1987; President's Cup 1987; Nies Medal 1994.

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. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tall Bearded Iris GOOD EARTH



Has been popular in our garden for years, 'GOOD EARTH' is a honey of a bold golden bronze self. Vigorous  grower which quickly produces a great garden clump after division. Thick well branched stems support the large blooms. For a long time this iris sold in New Zealand as an Iris without ID, and recently sent to me to be ID labelled as 'Debbie's Brown'.

Hamner's Iris Garden, Perris California. 1979 Introductions.

GOOD EARTH-TB, 36-38", M. Rich golden bronze self with strong, upright stands and wide, flaring, ruffled falls. Branching and but count excellent. Vigorous. This golden bronze beauty has tremendous garden value. Sdlg. 75-122. Spiced Honey X (Taste of Honey x Honey Nectar).. .. . . . . . . . . . . . .. $25.00

AIS Checklist, 1979.
GOOD EARTH (Bernard Hamner, R. 1978). Sdlg. 75-122. TB, 36-38" (91-97 cm), M. Ruffled golden bronze self; self beard. 'Spiced Honey' X ('Taste of Honey' x 'Honey Nectar'). Hamner 1979.


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. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©. 
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keith Keppels Iris 2015 Catalog




FIRE DANGER M 33" ((Inside Track X Spice Lord) X Sorbonne). Hotly colored plicata. Dark reddish burgundy standards are solid except for faint pale yellow dappling visible on close inspection. Bright lemon yellow falls carry a wide border to match standards. Unobtrusive rusty tan beards layered violet and white. Terminal two branches and spur, seven buds #07-197c.


SHIVAREE M 33" ((( Game Plan pod parent sib X Game Plan pollen parent) X Sunblaze) X Golden Panther) As loudly raucous as any proper shivaree!! Ruffled bright orange standards sit atop falls of equally bright but more yellow toned orange. Shoulders are pleasingly decorated with soft rosewood reticulations beside the solidly colored red orange beards. Unfortunately like its parent color is not totally sunfast, but a shrill orange blast in the garden it is hard to surpass. Three branches, seven to ten buds. Judged best seedling in show, Salem 2014. #04-13A .





Keith Keppels 2015 catalog arrived in the mail two weeks ago and contains 9 brilliant Tall Bearded Introductions.
Keith writes "overall, a somewhat milder winter this round, quite wet and windy at the moment.  Irises started into growth and iris seeds germinating.  We're naturally especially hopeful this will be a good bloom season in view of the convention.  We're not on tour, but there are two optional tours before the regular convention meetings, and on one of the tours about 150 people  will stop here, so there will be far more garden traffic than usual.  We do no local advertising and do not keep up a display garden...this is strictly a working iris field....so aren't used to, or geared for, people en masse"
If you get to go on the optional pre-convention tour to Keiths gardens you are one lucky person, savour the day!!

Be sure to visit Keith Keppel's web site!!
As always clicking on the above image will take you to the larger, higher resolution version.

Photo credit and copyright Keith Keppel.

~~~~~~~~~

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tall Bearded Iris SPANISH GIFT




 Spanish Gift is in a small and select collection of George Shoop's Irises at home. The bloom has a very chiselled masculine look that displays on strong well branched stems that always have a great bud count. Healthy vigorous growth resulting in a large clump quickly is a huge plus, and even this last bloom season at home which at best could be kindly described as mediocre 'Spanish Gift' was one of the few outstanding performer. 

George A. Shoop, Hybridizer, Portland Oregon.1966
SPANISH GIFT 1965. Bright orange with deep orange-red beard. Wide, ruffled, flaring falls. Well branched. Large, strong stalk. 36". Seedling 60-16-1. $25.00

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1970, Number 198.
The Overlooked Wonders, Joseph J. Ghio, Santa Cruz, Calif
ornia.
In our rush to see the newest and most discussed irises, we often overlook some fine, even great, varieties. Once overlooked, an iris rarely makes it through the quagmire of obscurity to receive its just reward. Occasionally an overlooked iris does clear the clouds and enters the shining light it deserves......It is our opinion that the following irises have been overlooked and underestimated. They are worthy of far more recognition and fame than has been accorded them...............................
SPANISH GIFT (Shoop '67) is an apricot-orange of fine branching and bud count. A rhizome will produce an "instant" clump; and in Santa Cruz it is an everblooming iris, a trait to cultivate in more irises!

Cooleys Gardens, Silverton, Oregon. Iris Catalog 1970.
SPANISH GIFT (Shoop, '65) EM. 35" Each $7.50
Warm, glowing, bright orange self; the beard is still deeper orange red on a creamy central ground. Here is a fine follow up on the heels of the variety listed just above from this same hybridizer.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1972, Number
204.
Youth-Views. Radical Views Perry Dyer.
In the orange class, again the older one appears to be the best all around. SPANISH GIFT (Shoop, '65) is by far the most vigorous orange on the market, and probably has the best form.

AIS Checklist, 1969.
SPANISH GIFT G.Shoop, Reg. 1964 Sdlg. B60-16-l. TB, 36" (91 cm), M ; Orange self; deep orange beard. Bright Magic X B55-39. Shoop 1965. HM 1967.


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. Photo credit and copyright Terry Johnson and Heritage Irises ©.


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Monday, February 2, 2015

Classic Tall Bearded Iris MYSTIC MELODY




Stevens Bros. Bastia Hill, Wanganui. Irises 1951-52 Catalogue.
Novelties 1951-52

MYSTIC MELODY (Stevens)
Proud as we are to have raised Pinnacle and Summit with their sensational and wholly new colour combination,we are equally proud to have raised this less sensational but no less lovely iris. Mystic Melody is a sister seedling of Summit, and while the contrast between the standards and falls is as great, the sharpness of the contrast has been muted and softened by the smooth cream standards and the richer deep gold of the falls. This beautiful mellow quality is intensified by the softer outline of Mystic Melody’s form, which surrenders the dignity of the classic shape for the charm of gentle ruffling. Though the flowers are really large, one is not conscious of their size owing to perfect proportions, and to the smooth purity of the cream and warm rich gold colour. If we were given the choice of one iris, and only one for our garden this lovely iris would be our selection. It has the ethereal beauty of the pale blues, the brightness of the gold’s, the grandeur of the richer colours, and the purity of the finest white iris, and no other iris we have seen possesses all these attributes. We have often been asked which is our favourite iris, and we have not been able to answer the question. But here we have found it, and it is Mystic Melody.


Courtesy Schreiner's Iris Lovers Catalog 1958. 


Schreiner's, Salem,Oregon, Iris Lovers Catalog, 1952.
MYSTIC MELODY M-L 39” This sister seedling to Summit though less striking, is not less glamorous, indeed there is a haunting loveliness about the butter yellow of the enamelled sun-drenched falls a the luminous, shimmering cream of the silken moonlight standards that weaves a spell over the beholder and leaves him rapt. Picture this iris with four open blooms may suggest a bunchiness which in fact does not exist, as the branching starts 8 inches from the ground. If you must chose between this and Summit I would say; If you are a breeder, buy Summit, if a fancier buy Mystic Melody. But if you can 'Buy Both', for each is a distinct and outstanding iris in its own right. HM 52


The Iris Year Book 1952.
Iris Travels in 1952, Mr Harold W. Knowlton.
People who think Pinnacle a trifle coarse can find a beautiful refined yellow bitone in Mrs. Stevens' Mystic Melody.

Fleur de Lis Gardens, Sioux City, Iowa. 1953 Catalog.
MYSTIC MELODY (Stevens) TB 40" M.
Another new bitone, this has rich cream standards, smooth butter yellow falls' Semi-flaring form. HM 1952

The Iris Year Book 1953
Progress in New Zealand, D'Arcy Blackburn.
In creating Mystic Melody, introduced in 1951, Mrs, Stevens has given us a still more finished flower but this time in a pattern of cream and gold. It, too, grows strongly and seems assured of a place in our gardens for many year to come.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, January 1953, Number 128.
Random Comment.Don Waters, Ohio.
Mystic Melody is very fine both in form of flower and stalk-a refreshing yellow and cream bicolor with much more intensity of color than Pinnacle. In my opinion it is better in every respect than Summit in which I was somewhat disappointed.





Iris Society Year Book 1953 (British Iris Society)
Award to Mrs Stevens 1953 Foster Memorial Plaque, NLC.
One of her latest has perhaps been overshadowed by Pinnacle but it is my favourite, and, I believe her’s: Mystic Melody is from white and yellow amoena breeding but is not so definitely contrasted,the standards being cream and the falls golden yellow, very smooth and gently waved at the edges.It flowers late but very freely, and is good in all ways.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1954, Number 135.
Report and Varietal Comments From Region Three, Mrs. Wallace J. White .
Amoenas and near Amoenas
Mystic Melody - cream standards, butter yellow falls. Lovely.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1954, Number 135.
Report and Varietal Comments From Region 5, Ralph E. Lewis.
I saw Summit for the first time. It is much more striking than Pinnacle, but I still like Mystic Melody the best of these three.

Bulletin of the American Iris Society, October 1954, Number 135.
Report and Varietal Comment- Joplin Area, Mrs James A. Sapp, Mo.
Mystic Melody - Most outstanding  of the Stevens iris. Superior to Pinnacle or Summit in our garden.

Lyon Iris Garden, Van Nuys, California. Lyon's Irisland, Iris and Hemerocallis, 1955 Catalog.
MYSTIC MELODY (Stevens, 1951)
This is a sister to Summit. While there is not as much color contrast in Mystic Melody as there is in Summit, we think the form is better, and the petals broader. The enamelled butter-yellow falls create a "melody of sweet music" with the standards of soft cream. An impressive iris. 39" Mid-Late. Honorable Mention 1951.

Eden Road Iris Garden, Wenatchee, Washington. 1956.
Mystic Melody (Stevens) M. 39in. ((Fair Elaine) x ((Lagos) X (Gudrun x Sdlg.)))
Creams standards, and rich butter yellow falls are vet y contrasty. The medium sized flowers are of flaring form, charming and outstanding.

D'Arcy Blackburn 14 Clifford Street, Gisborne. Bearded Irises 1957-1958.
Mystic Melody (Stevens)
With cream standards and butter yellow falls. this sister seedling of Summit has received the Award of Merit of the American Iris Society. Distinct and outstanding and a favourite of the raiser, Mrs. Stevens.  AM '55 (42 inches)

The Iris Year Book 1957
The Iris Show, N. Leslie Cave.
Among the Trade Stands, Waterers put up their annual display. There were a number of New Zealand  irises and I once again admired the refreshing appearance of Mrs. Stevens' trio, Pinnacle,Summit and Mystic Melody.The latter has creamy standards and golden yellow falls, and like Pinnacle is a very good iris; unlike many pampered new irises they grow vigorously and flower freely, apparently a rather vulgar trait these days

Easy Breeze Gardens, Yakima,Washington. Irises 1957.
Mystic Melody (Stevens '51) This has cream standards, and butter yellow falls. Flaring form, nice contrast.

Edenwald Gardens Vincennes, Indiana. Iris, Summer and Fall 1959.
MYSTIC MELODY (Stevens)
Sister to Summit, and although not as contrasty, may prove to be the better. Standards are cream and Falls butter yellow. A lovely Iris.

Waterson's Iris Gardens, Wanganui. Irises 1960-1961
MYSTIC MELODY (Stevens)
 Mystic Melody is a sister seedling of Summit and while the contrast between the standards is as great, the sharpness of the contrast has been muted and softened by the smooth cream standards and the richer deep gold of the falls. This beautiful mellow quality has been intensified by the softer outline of Mystic Melody's form which surrenders the dignity of the classic shape for the charm of a gentle ruffling. Though the flowers are really large, one is not conscious of their size owing to their perfect proportions, and to the smooth purity of the cream and warm rich gold colour. A.M., A.I.S., 1955. 3½ft.

Longs Gardens, Boulder, Colorado. Summer and Fall 1967.
Longs Mile High Quality Iris
Mystic Melody (Stevens) M. 39in.
Cream standards and butter yellow falls combine to make this a very lovely iris. HM '52, AM '55

New Zealand Hybridisers Cumulative Checklist 2014
MYSTIC MELODY  Mrs J. Stevens, Reg., 1949.   Sdlg. 9/T192.  TB, 42″ -48″, M, Y6D. S. creamy white. F. Deep rich gold. Orange beard. Falls to small for standards. 3½ - 4ft.; Description J Stevens Studbook notes,‘1947 flowering’; ((Fair Elaine) x ((Lagos) X (Gudrun x Sdlg.))) Novelties' Stevens Bros 1951-52. Schreiners 1951, HM 1952 AIS, AM 1955 AIS.


It is a privilege to grow Mystic Melody at home and very pleased to have it in my collection. It is a very vigorous grower and flowers freely, shows good Purple bottom foliage (PBF).


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