Sunday, November 20, 2011

Iris Classics: 'Lula Marguerite'

'Lula Marguerite' is a tall iris, easily approaching four feet, raising its large, ruffled blooms on sturdy stems. A hardy variety, its growth is vigorous and its flowers plentiful. It is a creation of master hybridizer Fred DeForest, who began his illustrious career in 1929 and became one of the top hybridizers of the 20th century. He introduced numerous varieties from his Irisnoll garden in Oregon, but is likely best remembered for his reds, such as 'Argus Pheasant' which went on to win the Dykes Memorial Medal in 1952.

This beautiful flower was first introduced in 1956, tho it was not registered until 1959 - the same year it won an Honorable Mention from AIS judges. Its parentage is not listed.

'Lula Marguerite' is one of my favorites amongst the many of his that I grow. Fleur De Lis Gardens catalog for 1960 describes it as:
Different and unusual! Light blended blue tones with gilt edge on both standards and falls. The gilt edge spreads out over the throat of the flower, giving a glittering effect to the whole flower. Large, beautifully formed, ruffled flowers.

This brief description fails to mention the faint flush of orchid at the heart and the heavy diamond dusting across the entire bloom. It lights up with all the soft colors of a spring sunset. Please click on the photos for a larger and more detailed view of its delicate coloration.

'Lula Marguerite' has all the good qualities one looks for in a garden plant, combining both beauty and performance. Its intricate coloration never fails to please visitors when they come across it - another iris variety that is truly a classic.

UPDATE: Keith Keppel writes to tell me he knows the parentage of 'Lula Marguerite': (Spanish Peaks X Chivalry) X Cloudcap. Mr. DeForest used Cloudcap extensively in his hybridizing. He also says that it is named for Fred's mother. Good to know! Thanks, Keith.

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