Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Favorite Irises of Spring 2012

     Since my retirement, I have scaled back the number of irises I grow, and I find that I enjoy each one more now.  I now have time to really evaluate the varieties that I think are lovely.  I also had time to visit a number of iris gardens this year, including Sutton's, Superstition, the Probst-Trio garden, Fred Kerr's garden, and Napa Country Iris.  Finally, I went to the American Iris Society's spring Region 14 Meeting at Aptos.  I took photos of some of my favorite irises in these gardens this spring, and here they are.

     'Adriatic Waves' (Keppel '09). While some of the recent Keppel introductions don't seem to really like me a lot and seem to pout rather than grow, this one grows well and produces a fine stem. I really like the wide, blocky form.

     'Broadband' (Tasco '02).  This one is really growing on me--not as flashy for color as some of Rick's other introductions, but it does have very nice, wide form.  Another interesting thing about the variety is that it can produce good and wide warm-toned plicata seedlings when crossed to brownish plicatas.

     'Engagement Ring' (Ghio '11). This was very popular at the Spring Regional/TBIS meeting with its lovely color pattern.  It's new, so still a bit expensive for me to add it to my collection now that I have tightened my belt in retirement.

     'Genealogy' (T. Johnson '08).  The parentage indicates this is from a yellow amoena (an amoena is an iris with white standards on top) and a blue neglecta (neglectas are blue irises with lighter tops, see 'Jerico Springs' below).  The result is quite pleasing.  Sort of a better approach to a brown-toned bitone, a color range rare in many iris gardens today.

     'Jerico Springs' (Nicodemus '10). This is not just another neglecta: the texture veining on the falls sets this one apart from the rest. This is the iris I liked best this year of all the new things that I grew.

 'Magical' (Ghio '08). Both last year and this year, I have been very impressed with this creamy pink that has wonderful branching and bud count. There is some talk, premature, of course, that this iris might be Dykes Medal quality.

     'Mardi Gras Rose' (G. Sutton '12). If I were still buying introductions, this would have been on the must-have list. It is not a knock-you-dead color, but rather an elegant, soft lavender-rose affair. Great shape for the flowers and the stalks have wide branching and lots of buds.

     'Magical Realism' (Williamson '08). Yip, one of my own creations. This almost did not survive—out of 3000 seedlings, disease reduced the numbers to around 60. It was blooming at the end of a row, and I selected it on a whim. Each year it gets better and I love the color contrast, but I have had a love affair with red-black colors ever since Plough's 'Study in Black.'

     'Spice Trader' (J. Painter '10).  Browns seem to be out of fashion, but I really liked this in the early garden.  (The odd blemish below the beard has to do with opening in 40 MPH winds.) It is very bright and colorful and it was not showing any frost damage in its home garden despite a late frost there, so it may be good for colder areas.

     'Strawberry Frosting' (M. Sutton '10). This laced soft pink has impressed me two years in a row. Others have questioned whether the pale colors might fade out in warm areas, but I think it is lovely, as you can see here.

   Anyone who has read my previous posts knows that I am a huge fan of visiting other iris gardens.  The wise gardener should try to get out and see what irises look like before buying.  As always, this blog is just a snapshot, and I am sure had I had visited a week later, I would have found others that I liked at least as much.  Did you visit any gardens this spring?  Which irises caught your eye? 


  1. My favorite is Magical Realism. Where can I buy this iris?

  2. I vote for Spice Trader and Magical Realism. But then I love them all!!

  3. If you click on Superstition's link and the Napa County link, they will take you to places you can buy irises. I have had good luck with both gardens. Bryce Williamson


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...