Monday, June 4, 2012

Iris Classics: 'Valimar'

Some irises have a real presence and stand out from across the garden, lighting up on even cloudy days. 'Valimar' is just such a variety. A vivacious creation of eminent hybridizer Melba Hamblen, who brought forth many amazing varieties over her long career. It boasts soft pastels colors of pink and peach with a bright orange beard. While soft, it is at the same time being one of the brightest irises in the border. Hardy, vigorous, and reliable of bloom, 'Valimar' has it all.

'Valimar' is a good height at 36" and blooms mid to late season. With loads of buds it is going for a good long time in my garden. Schreiner's Iris Lovers catalog for 1960 said of it: "This captivating rich, smooth, apricot-pink has a vivid 'personality.' The combination of exceptionally heavy, starch-like substance and sculptured form, a combination rare in softer colors, indicates its unique qualities. Very Pretty." It was awarded an Honorable Mention in 1958, and the Award of Merit in 1960. It remains to this day a fantastic garden iris.

As well as being a noted hybridizer, Mrs. Hamblen was very active and involved with the iris society over many decades, even acting as the assistant editor for the definitive book on the iris genus for which this blog is named: The World of Irises, published by AIS in 1978. Her iris creations will stand as a legacy of beauty in her memory, with 'Valimar' at the forefront.

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