Monday, May 11, 2015


By Dawn Mumford 

As promised, here is part two of my favorite purples.   To see the first part, click here. 

As you know, I love the color purple. Here are some more purple irises that I recommend for your gardens. 

'Splashacata' (Tasco 1998) This won the Dykes Medal in 2005.  This is a nice iris in every way.  

This purple must be listed in the favorites category: ‘Dusky Challenger’ (Schreiner 1986). It has been in the top 25 on the Iris Society's popularity poll ever since it was introduced.  It won the Dykes Medal in 1992, and with good reason.  It is huge, well formed, with very strong substance and luxurious thick beards.  I find no fault with it. 

Another one that keeps popping up on everyone’s favorite list is ‘Jesse’s Song’ (Williamson 1983).  This ‘Historic’ (30 years old or older) is a great performer.  It is usually one of our first irises to bloom in May and also one of the last to finish some time in June.  It has masses and masses of blooms in between. 

 ‘Aristocracy’ (Keppel 2006)  is a great addition to any garden.  Photograph courtesy of Susanne Spicker, taken in our garden. 

‘Gitano’ (Keppel 2007)  A striking blend of two colors that I normally wouldn’t think would look good together, but they do.  

I have severe allergies and can't be outside for long periods because of all the trees and weed pollen  (and we have an orchard with about 400 trees).  I AM NOT ALLERGIC TO IRISES, THANK GOODNESS.  I like to make arrangements so I can live with the iris that I love so much.  I especially like arrangements with various shades of purple and yellow together.  Because those colors are opposites on the color wheel or complimentary colors. they make each other look more intense.   In this vase I have ‘Aristocracy’, ‘Dusky Challenger’, ‘Glowing Smile’, 'Bicentennial’,  ‘Conjuration’ , and either 'Silverado, Silver Years, or "Sterling Silver' (I can't remember which). 

You know how some diets encourage you to write down everything you eat?  You find you have been eating more than you realize.  Until now, I didn't realize how many purple plicatas I have, and this isn't all of them either.  I should probably restrict myself from buying more plicatas, but , like a diet, that's no fun! 

Pictured: ‘On Edge’ (Schreiner 1986), ‘Everything Plus’ (Niswonger 1984),  ‘Eagle’s Flight’ (Schreiner 1986), ‘Swept Off My Feet’ (Schreiner 2014) photo courtesy of Schreiners, ‘Rondo’ (Schreiner 1973), ‘Stepping Out’ (Schreiner 1964), ‘Country Squire’ (Gaulter 1966), ‘Going My Way’, and ‘Cozy Calico’ (Schreiner 1980).  

I love all of these with their minor differences. I also have a smaller section of purple plicatas that are more blue and less rose, below.

‘Creative Stitchery’, (Schreiner 1984), ‘Stitch In Time’ (Schreiner 1978), ‘Rare Treat’ (Schreiner 1987), ‘Modern Classic’ (Knocke 1975), ‘Rare Quality’ (Schreiner 1987)  I have had 'Creative Stitchery' and 'Stitch In Time' almost since they were introduced.  They feel almost like family.  

'Starwoman' IB (Marky Smith 1997) I only have 3 IBs and this made the cut. It won the American Dykes Medal in 2008.

'Daughter Of Stars' (Donald Spoon 2000).  This luminata is just breathtaking.  

I have a friend in Maryland who grows iris and reads the World of Irises. After reading Part One of My Favorite Purples she said
"your love of iris comes thru strong and clear. I love your pictures of each and the interesting little tidbits on each one is a close and personal friend of yours."

I have been thinking about how true that statement is. Some of them are "like family",  and like my children, I worry about their safety.  I'm always so relieved when they make it through another winter and come to see me.  They are starting to bloom now so excuse me, I need to go see who has made it through another winter.  

I love to read your comments so please tell me what you think.


  1. Great article, thank you! I love your writing.

    1. How nice of you to say so. Keep reading and I love comments.


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