Monday, October 27, 2014


by Dawn Mumford

As promised, here is the second post on my favorite pinks.  You can see the first post by clicking here.

The pink irises above are 'Elisa Renee' (Gaulter 1983). Most of our irises are in rows so we can keep track of them but a few are granted space in the landscape. 

'Elisa Renee' (Gaulter 1983) 

'Social Register' (Ghio 1981) 
This iris is a beautiful delicate pink.

'Jacaranda' (Gaulter 1981). 
This one is a nice mulberry color.

'Pink Angel' (Rudolph 1973).
This one is distinctive by its wide flaring falls.

'Rancho Rose' (Gibson 1975)
This plicata (stitched, striped or dotted) makes a nice contrast with the other pink blooms. 
'Sweet Musette'  (Schreiner 1986)
I think this color combination is one of my favorites.  'Sweet Musette' always makes a great statement in the garden.  I think it says "look at me".

'Heather Cloud' (Manner 1981)
This iris has some of the colors of "Celebration Song' which won a Dykes medal in 2003.  The colors on this one are a bit more saturated.

'Paradise' (Gatty 1980)
This bloom has pretty form and a lovely delicate color.

'Extravagant' (Hamblen 1983)  
This iris has always bloomed very late in the season for us.  It has been situated near some 80-100 foot tall trees and so gets shade from 4 pm on.  We have relocated it to a sunnier spot this year and I hope that encourages it to bloom earlier next year.  

'June Krausse'  (Schreiner 2009)
This is described by Schreiner's as a vivid seashell pink.  This one is a recent addition to my garden.  

This collage includes a selection of some of my favorite pinks, which makes a wonderful desktop background on my computer: another way to extend the bloom time. 
How do you extend your bloom time?  I would love to hear from you.

Next year I look forward to some pinks that I just planted this fall.  Maybe they will make the favorite list and bump some of the others off.  They are: 'Pink Mink', 'Happenstance', 'Persian Berry', 'Fantasy in Pink', and 'Pink Swan'.

Which pinks are you most looking forward to seeing this spring?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Iris Bloom Season in NW Louisiana - Part III

by Ron Killingsworth

As promised, here is Part III sharing photographs of irises from the Caddo Lake area in NW Louisiana.  I have included a bit of history of the region and hybridizers, and I hope you enjoy the photographs.

The hybridizer Pat O'Connor lives just outside New Orleans and loves to name his irises for local features such as bridges, cities, canals, swamps, and streets in New Orleans.   Poverty Point is a World Heritage Site with ancient mounds built by native Americans.  This beautiful iris with great coloring and signals is a fitting tribute to the site.
'Poverty Point' (Pat O'Connor, 1999)

The Rigolets is a 12.9 kilometer (8 mi) long strait in south Louisiana. "Rigolets" comes from the word rigole, French for "trench" or "gutter." The name is locally pronounced "RIG-uh-leez."
'Rigolets'  (O'Connor, 2004)

Two of my favorite Louisiana irises side by side:  'Cest Si Bon' is about as "cajun" as you can get and this Louisiana iris is really a beauty.  'Rusty O' was named by Charles Arny for Rusty Ostheimer (now McSparrin).  Rusty and her husband Bud grow many Louisiana irises down below Lafayette, LA.
'C'est Si Bon' (Taylor, 1983) on left and 'Rusty O' (Arny, 1991) on right

Harry Wolford lives in Palm Bay, FL, and used to watch the lift off of the space shuttle from his back yard.  That's Seminole country and Harry has named quite a few Louisiana irises Seminole this or that.  I love the veining in this iris.
'Seminole Autumn' (Wolford, 2004)
And here is 'Seminole Moon', with a bit of orange in the yellow.
'Seminole Moon' (Wolford, 2009)
And finally, 'Seminole Sunrise', a fine red.
'Seminole Sunrise' (Wolford, 2004)

This iris is a tetraploid Louisiana iris that is quite different from the other few tetraploids on the market.  Tetraploid irises have more diversity in their genetic make-up and thus are highly prized by hybridizers.
'Texas Toast' (Mertzweiller, 2005)

This is definitely an "oldie but goodie", just one of many that Caroline Dormon registered. If you are ever in central Louisiana, don't miss her old home which is now Briarwood Nature Preserve located near Saline.
'Violet Ray' (Dormon, 1949)

'Wheelhorse' is a well know Louisiana iris and can be found in the genealogy of many fine Louisiana irises.
'Wheelhorse' (Dormon, 1952)

And here is 'Wood Violet', aptly named.

'Wood Violet' (Dormon, 1943)

This picture of a clump of award-winning irises was taken by my Koi pond; the whooping crane statues in the background watch over the irises.
'Red Velvet Elvis' (Vaughn 1991)

And here is a massive planting of mixed Louisiana irises -- the view from my front porch.

Finally, I thought I'd share one of the tall bearded irises my wife Sue has successfully grown in our hot and wet climate:  'Violet Shimmer'.  
'Violet Shimmer" (Moores, 1995)

Well that about wraps it up, and I hope you enjoyed the show.  If you want to learn more about Louisiana irises please visit the website of the Society for Louisiana Irises, and to learn more about many other species of irises, visit the website of the American Iris Society.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Talking Irises" TALL BEARDED IRISES & COMPLEMENTARY COLOR SCHEMES--Planning your iris bed

by Susanne Holland Spicker

"Gardening is such an incredible joy, and the more successful you are as a gardener, the more enjoyable your gardening becomes" Mike McGroarty
'WINNING EDGE'  Ghio   1997   36"   ML

Planning irises in complementary color schemes has been an enjoyable production in progress in my flower beds. The beds have transitioned from a few irises in the garden in 1995, to presently 15 to 45 favorite varieties in each of the 14 iris beds throughout the yard. I couldn't have imagined how smitten I would become with these tall beauties back then, each year exclaiming I didn't have room for one more. I now have over 300 named cultivars, and I definitely don't have room for more! To keep my beds organized, I make a collage of irises in the bed, with favorites I want to add. This method works best for me, and it may work for you.

The color palette for my pastel bed is one of my favorites:
(From upper, row 1, l-r) 'BUBBLY MOOD' Ghio '84, 'BUBBLING OVER' Ghio '82, 'GOODNIGHT MOON' Schreiner '95, 'RUFFLED BALLET' Roderick '75, 'ROLE REVERSAL' Ghio '10, 'RHINELANDER' Schreiner '06 (row 2) 'PRETTY GENEROUS' Innerst '04, 'WINNING EDGE' Ghio '97, 'SKATING PARTY' Gaulter '83, 'EMBRACE ME' Van Liere '08, 'ASCII ART' Moores '97, 'GLOWING SMILE' Hager '01, (row 3) 'SOCIETY PAGE' Ghio '00, 'BUBBLING WAVES' Ghio '06, 'GOING DUTCH' Van Liere '09, 'QUEEN'S CIRCLE' Kerr '00, 'LACED COTTON' Schreiner '80, 'ELECTRABRITE' Brown '83, (row 4) 'POND LILY' Jones '95, 'COMING UP ROSES' Gatty '92, 'ABOVE THE CLOUDS' Schreiner '01, 'GLOBAL CROSSING' Van Liere '12, 'ELISA RENEE' Gaulter '93, 'MARY FRANCES' Gaulter '73

When planning out an iris bed, these are things that have worked best for me to achieve maximum success:  

  • What look do I want to accomplish?
  • What color schemes do I want to have?
  • What is the bloom time of the iris and companion plants?
  • What companion plants will go best with my irises, giving a variety of texture, shape, and size?
  • Which plants need to be moved or replaced?
  • Mapping out the bed and recording it in a notebook and computer.
  • 'GLOBAL CROSSING'  (Van Liere '12   36"   M)
This long wrap-around porch pastel bed now has 45 different tall bearded irises.
'DESIGNER LABEL' (Ghio '03  38"  M-L)
'BUBBLING OVER' (Ghio   '82   36"  M)
'OVERJOYED' (Gatty by Keppel '94   35"  M)
Irises come in a vast array of colors, multiply annually, and are easy to divide or move; so if the outcome isn't what you had in mind, changes can easily be made. I am always refining my beds. This is where a map of your irises is so beneficial.

Whether you're a beginning iris gardener, or a seasoned iris lover with many years of growing under your belt, seeing success in your garden is always exciting and very rewardingI eagerly look forward to spring!

What kind of iris gardener are you?  Do you plan your beds out?  I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

IRISES, the Bulletin of the AIS - Fall 2014 Edition

By Andi Rivarola

Hot off the presses, here's the Fall Edition of IRISES, the Bulletin of The American iris Society. On the cover the newly minted Dykes Medal Winner 'Dividing Line' by hybridizer Churck Bunnell.

The Fall 2014 issue of the AIS Bulletin is now available for online viewing within the Emembers section of the AIS website.

Note: to access this area you must have a current AIS Emembership. AIS Emembership is separate from the normal AIS membership. Please see the Electronic Membership Information area of the AIS website for more details.

Welcome to the Fall 2014 edition of IRISES, the Bulletin of The American Iris Society. Hope you will enjoy several of the articles on this issue.

On Page 29 you will find the complete list of the 2014 Award Winners, and throughout the magazine gorgeous images of these prized beauties will delight you.

Don't miss the 2015 Spring Convention Announcement on Page 26, and the 2015 Species/Siberian Convention details, which will follow the regular convention, on Page 13.

What an interesting article by Ken Walker about the diversity of irises in the article called: Iris Parts: Diversity in the Genus. It includes wonderful images of irises in bloom and images of their rhizomes, which vary significantly by type and will surprise you. Luckily for us more information and image are coming as this is the first of a four part series. Stay tuned. 

I was so glad to discover a hybridizer's work that I will diligently follow from now on, and you too can discover J. Paul Hill from New Mexico on the section called, A Hybridizer's Adventure, on Page 39.

On Pages 42 to 45 find the fantastic work of the 2014 Photo Contest Winners

You will find why it's necessary to have an explanation by our current AIS President, Jim Morris, on Notifying a Dykes Medal Winner on Page 16; and again by Jim Morris, a compilation very important Friends We Lost, on Page 18. 

Don't miss the international iris news: the Premio Firenze on Page 15; and news from Tasmania, Australia on the aptly named article: The Real Land Down Under -- Tasmania, on Page 14.

There's so much for on this great edition: Youth Views, Sections Happenings, A Classroom Project; a reprint of our own Suzanne Holland Spiker's article: Tall Bearded Iris and Companion Plants that is really delightful; and a great reprint from 1949 called the Iris Virus, to which many of you will relate. 

My favorite, a gorgeous shot of MTB 'Rayos Adentro' by Terry Aitken on Page 17. Although I can't grow many MTBs in my area, they have a special place in my iris heart, and this is one I wish I could have and grow successfully. 

Happy gardening. 

For those new to The American Iris Society, as a member you receive the printed quarterly edition of IRISES via mail, or if you are an e-member, then you will be able to read the entire publication online. The latter is a very convenient option for overseas iris enthusiasts. For more information, please go to our website's membership information section.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

"What Happens If You Cross These Two Irises?"

By J. Griffin Crump

At our recent Chesapeake and Potomac Iris Society picnic, we were treated to an excellent presentation by one of our youth members, Colin Campbell, on the basics of hybridizing.  As part of the program, he illustrated various types of irises, from the long-standing descriptions --selfs, neglectas, amoenas-- to later emerging differentiations such as glaciatas, luminatas, etc. Inevitably, the question arose, "what happens if you cross such and such with so and so?  What might you get?"  There was a good deal of discussion about what might be expected of crosses between certain color combinations and/or between different patterns. Colin put a couple of  hypothetical crosses up on the screen and invited us to speculate as to the outcomes.  Unsurprisingly, there were various opinions.

So I thought I'd post here a few of my own introductions together with their parents, and you can judge whether the progeny is what you would have expected.  Try to just look at the two parents and speculate about the outcome before scrolling down to the next photo.

Here are 'Blackbeard', a border bearded,  and 'Betty Dunn', a tall bearded:

And their progeny, 'Blackbeard's Daughter', a tall bearded:

'Blackbeard's Daughter'

Interestingly,  'Blackbeard's Daughter' came out a tall bearded, whereas 'Blackbeard', the pod parent, was a border bearded.  I would have predicted a border bearded offspring.

Next, we look at a result of a cross between TB seedlings 02P2 and 01S2:


And their TB offspring, 'Prince Igor':

'Prince Igor'

Not too surprising, eh?  The pod parent is a strong red self, and the pollen parent also has rich mahogany red falls.  Its amoena factor is probably recessive.

We turn now to Seedling 02F6 X 'Starring':


And the result:

'La Cumparsita'

Very much like its pod parent, but with a fuller shape.  It picks up Starring's red-orange beard.

The result of the next cross, 'Lili Marlene' X 'Cherry Glen', surprised me greatly.

'Cherry Glen'
'Lili Marlene'
 Here 'tis, and a rebloomer, to boot, though neither of the parents is:

'Autumn Nectar'

Sometimes, I get a seedling that I like but don't know what to do with.  That was the case with 20Q5, which I held onto for several years before acquiring Sterling Innerst's 'Lynsy Alexandra', which is very similar in bloom form and overall flower structure.

'Lynsy Alexandra'

Both of these are what the late Dick Sparling used to call "small talls" with slender, nicely curved stems.  So, I was very happy when 'Lynsy Alexandra' X 20Q5 yielded a similarly shaped, but taller seedling which I will introduce in 2015 as 'Entrancing'.


'Entrancing' clump

A cross of Standard Dwarf Bearded 'Lumalite' by Tall Bearded rebloomer 'Blazing Sunrise' produced an outcome that surprised me.


'Blazing Sunrise'

Namely, 'Spring Again', an Intermediate rebloomer.

'Spring Again'

What surprised me was the complete dominance of the pollen parent's pattern.  Without the sun's backlighting, this flower has nice, solid apricot falls and pale apricot standards.  It's a reliable rebloomer.

Continuing to play with SDB 'Lumalite', I crossed it with TB 'Summer Olympics', i.e., 'Summer Olympics' X 'Lumalite':

'Summer Olympics'

And got IB 'Coral Chimes':

Who knew?

Pressing on, I made the cross IB 'Coral Chimes' X SDB 'Lumalite',

'Coral Chimes'


 and got SDB 'Brad├ín Eolais' (Irish: The Salmon of Knowledge):

Enough for now, and I trust you have noted that although you may set hybridizing goals, you never know for sure what may result.