Sunday, December 30, 2012

Iris Classics: 'Siva Siva'

The plicata pattern has always been a very popular one in irises and no one did them better than Jim Gibson. His work from the 30's thru the 80's really brought this pattern into realms never before seen. One of his very best is his 1962 introduction 'Siva Siva'. A rich flower in variegata shades of gold and red laid over a white base, it is not a flashy variety, and yet always attracts attention.

On its introduction Cooley's Gardens described it as:
"A flamboyant combination of rich gold standards flushed cinnamon and porcelain white falls heavily bordered and etched brilliant red-mahogany-brown. The contrast is more pronounced and vivid than indicated in our picture above. All petals are fluted and rippled and the flaring falls are almost horizontal. Named for a colorful and exciting Samoan dance akin to the hula. The large, long lasting flowers are fragrant with the scent of spice."

The sturdy stems bring forth a plethora of buds that make for a long bloom period. With their flaring petals a full clump of blooms is like a crowd of whirling dervishes twirling in the spring breeze. And reliable of bloom it is, too, along with being a vigorous and easy grower. All these traits combine to make it an all around good garden plant.

Fifty years after its introduction 'Siva Siva' still captures the eyes and hearts of enough growers to keep it around and ensure its beauty survives for future gardeners to discover. I think Mr. Gibson would be proud.

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