Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Irises at Aitken's: Part Three - PCIs

In the third installment of photos from my trip to Aitken's Salmon Creek Garden I'd like to show you the beauty of some of their Pacific Coast Irises (PCI). These are modern hybrids created from crossing the various species of PCI and then breeding for years to attain a phenomenal range of colors and patterns. They really do have one of the widest color ranges of any members of the iris family, it is too bad they are not able grow well outside the Mediterranean type climate we enjoy along the Pacific coast.

First up is 'Baby Blanket', a lovely creation of Joe Ghio from 1998. It is a deep blended pink with a large blue signal spot. It won an Award of Merit (AM) in 2004.

'Blue Moment' (D. Meek, 1992) is a lovely light blue-violet with deeper veining. It sports large, ruffled flowers.

Another Ghio creation is 'Earthquake' from 1991. Now this is really something special, even for a PCI, and it won an AM in 1997. Just look at this amazing coloration - gold changing to red, deepening to almost black in the center of the falls. It almost appears to be aflame!

Next we have another variety with the 'Wow!' factor - 'Pacific Glaze'. Every part of this iris is wide and ruffled including the style arms. This is one of the Aitken's own creations introduced in 2010. It is a bewitching blend of colors on an underlay of gold. Rich and stunning.

Last is a softer variety, 'Pacific Snowflake' (Shoop, 1995). It is a clear crystalline white with the edges blushing the faintest of blue tints. It is pure loveliness, and was awarded an AM in 2000.

So who is ready to move to the west coast just so they can grow some of these beauties? I'm lucky enough to already live here, and let me tell you how much I love having an iris species that is practically care free in my climate. If only they could grow everywhere. Tomorrow we'll take a look at various other species of irises Terry and Barbara are growing at their beautiful garden.

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