Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Passalong/ historic iris Part I

Most of the iris in my garden I've acquired either from family or through trades, although in the last few years I have acquired some historic iris from Bluebird Haven, Arygle Acres, and Superstition Iris. I find many of the modern iris to be beautiful but historic iris have a grace and simplicity to their beauty that is hard to match. Any iris introduced over 30 years ago is considered historic, but many of my favorites were introduced 1900-1930.

I never used to think of iris being fragrant, are at least not pleasantly so, until I moved an iris into the garden that had naturalized in the ditch up top by the mailbox. It's a border bearded or intermediate bearded, judging from the size of the flowers and stalks, a bright orchid self that has a truly amazing fragrance. The fragrance of the flowers is strong it actually wafts, and it's delicious. Definitely a pallida descendent -- the fragrance is sweet and like grapes. Since then I've been interested in collecting fragrant bearded iris and have learned that they have many different scents. The white iris from my husband's grandmother is very wonderfully fragrant but not at all like a pallida. I received a freebie iris with an order that is named Sunset Sky that smells like lemon cake.

Great Lakes is a recent purchase and the Dyke's Medal winner for 1942. I also have its grandparent Conquistador, from which Great Lakes inherited its very tall flower stalks and enormous flowers, but is a paler lavender blue than the vivid blue-violet of Great Lakes.


Great Lakes

I acquired this iris in a trade. At first I only liked the fragrance, which is very nice, but the color has grown on me.

This iris is probably Indian Chief, or one so much like it that it might as well be Indian Chief. I had no idea I had it; must have picked it up at one of the swaps. I like it far more than I would have thought without seeing the iris in person. The color has a wonderful warm glow to it.

Helen Collingwood is one of the most beautiful iris among both moderns and historics.

This blue-violet iris from Gene's grandmother fades from dark to light but is beautiful in all of the gradations of its color. It has a very nice fragrance and a sheen to its petals -- not as pronounced as Dusky Challenger but noticeable nevertheless.

This iris (not the same as the brighter yellow pictured above) is from my grandfather. I thought for a while it was Pride of Ireland but it's not ruffled enough. This iris probably predates Pride of Ireland. This and Dusky Challenger are two of my latest-blooming iris. If someone described this iris to me (pale yellow with a green cast) I would think it sounds ghastly, but the color is lovely and goes with everything.

This last iris is a bicolor from my husband's grandmother. It's not President Pilkington or any of the usual suspects, but so many iris are introduced every year that it's often very difficult to ID unlabelled iris. I love the delicacy of its color.

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