Monday, August 5, 2019


by Dawn Mumford

Part of the Mumford Iris Patch

I wrote a blog for this AIS blogspot September 26th, 2016 by using my right index finger on my Kindle Fire tablet. I used only one finger because both my arms were broken and I had a sling on each arm. I sat at the table and braced my right arm on the table and did the hunt and peck method because my right index finger was the only one strong enough to push on the keys.  This is the link if you want to read it.  A New Perspective.  A few blogs later I wrote my last blog until today.  It was written July 3rd, 2017.  Please read that if you want the whole story.  Here is the link, A Fond Farewell to Tall Bearded Irises.

I feel the need to update you on the things that happened after that last blog.  Our property and home that my husband and I built were put on the real estate market.  They sold in 2017.  With both my arms broken I needed to go somewhere to heal .  We stayed three weeks at one sons house with his family.  Neal and I then moved to a Senior Living cottage.  The kitchen staff brought three meals a day to our apartment.  That was necessary because of the arm slings and Neal's Alzheimer's disease.  Three months later we moved to another city where another son had purchased a home but wasn't going to move into it for another six months.  Then on his arrival we went back to the Senior Living Cottage.

It was now near Christmas time in 2017.  We celebrated as a family knowing that this would be Neal's last Christmas with us.  On Christmas Eve we celebrated the birth and life of Christ.  We took family pictures, had a wonderful dinner, and reenacted the nativity with the grandchildren acting out the parts of shepherds, angels, wise men, Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus played by the youngest great grand baby. Neal's eyes reflected that fact that he was fully conscious for the first time in months.  He felt the love of his children, grandchildren, and one great grandchild surrounding him.  It was on Christmas Eve 4 hours after the family picture was taken that Neal passed away.  It actually was a peaceful season for that to happen. It was bitter sweet.  I had been his caregiver for seven years and he and I were both tired.

Wise men, baby Jesus, and shepherd boy

Now I was a widow after having been married for 49 years.  My dream home and property had been sold.  My irises were no more.  The hardest part of the irises is that the couple that bought our property didn't tell me until too late that their plans were to disc under all the irises.  (I can hear the collective groan as you are reading this)  It was, by then, too late in the year to move them.  We were expecting a hard frost any day.

This was the home and property that I had to sell. 

Willard Bay is the body of water to the west.  It was in northern Utah.  The boundaries of the 5.5 acres are in red and the dormant iris patch is in green.

I am still living in the senior living cottage while my son and I remodel a home next door to his home.  It has room for just a super small number of iris when I am ready to start over.  I plan on moving there some time in the next 6 months.  

That is the update and now it is time to discuss irises.  I plan on talking about my favorite yellow irises.  Yellow in the garden is beautiful.  Your eye is drawn to the yellows.  It is a happy , sunny color.   

It is easy to track the yellows with your eyes in your garden.

Creamy soft yellows can be calming.  Some yellows can overpower like an old iris I had that was called Dazzling Gold.

'Dazzling Gold' D. C. Anderson, 1977, Historic, may be obsolete 

This irises' color is so intense that it can effectively block other blooms from being seen.  It can be used in small quantities and perhaps used in a small somewhat shady area or perhaps subdued by other bold plants around it.  It is beautiful however.

'Gold  Trimmings' Schreiner's, 1973, Historic

This one is very old but I find it warm and calming.  It has a large, graceful bloom.  

'Salzburg Echo' Schreiner's, 2009, heavy substance

This is probably my favorite yellow and I got it by mistake.  I had ordered a group of Dykes Medal winners and got this instead of 'Splashacata'.  The well known vendor I got it from corrected their mistake and said I could keep this one.  I love the heavy substance, which means the petals of the standards and falls are thick.  It is believed that the heavier substance allows the bloom to last longer.  It withstands the wind and rain better.  The form is lovely.  

'Expose' Joseph Ghio, 2003, Honorable Mention 2006, Award of Merit 2008

This iris is unique.  We had over 600 different irises but while walking in the iris patch I never had to look at a list or map or marker to identify this iris.  This iris is interesting and fun in the garden.

'Golden Panther' Richard Tasco,  2000,  Honorable Mention 2002, Award of Merit 
2004, Presidents Cup at 2004 AIS convention,  Wister Cup in 2006, Dykes Medal in 2009

Beautiful in every way.  This iris looks different in different lights.  Highly recommended by me.  

'That's All Folks' William Maryott, Joseph Ghio, 2004, Honorable Mention 2007, Award of Merit 2009, Wister Medal 2011, American Dykes Medal 2013

Just perfect!  Whenever an iris wins the Dykes Medal you know it is a good one.  It is healthy, strong, disease resistant, able to grow in multiple climates around the country and many other criteria.  Only one iris per year wins the Dykes Medal and it is the top award of the American Iris Society.  Irises are eligible as a Dykes Medal candidate for three years following winning a classification medal.  Only AIS accredited judges may vote for the award. 

'Tiger Honey' Brad Kasperek, 1993, broken color 

This is still one of my favorite broken color irises.  This iris has nice form and colors.

Notice all yellow's catch your eye in the photograph above.  

'Golden Legacy' Gerald Richardson,  2013

This iris is one that I only had for a couple years before I moved.  It spaced itself nicely on the stem.  It is a little more muted in color than I usually go for.  Nice form.

'Sky Hooks' M. Osborne, 1979, Historic, Space Ager because it has horns on the end of the beard

This was one of the first irises I bought back in the 1980's.  I liked the hooks on the end of the beard.  Again a nice form too.  

When I first decided to write on yellow irises, I thought I didn't have very many.  I had 16 other yellow iris with nice pictures that I could have added.  I mostly looked in the photographs taken in the last few years.  It has been a pleasure to think and write about irises again.  I hope in the future to write about my favorite oranges and reds.  What are your favorite yellows?

Collage created for this blog as an extra


  1. Dawn, it is great to hear about your plans! I have that's all folks, probably my best yellow. I am happy to share when you are ready for irises.

  2. I love your post. I, too, love yellow irises. Actually, I love the orange ones, too. I'm so sorry about your husband and your long, difficult journey. You're so strong to come through it and still want irises. I'm 70 and have bone issues that make it difficult to garden, especially in New Mexico. Welcome back and enjoy your irises. They always make me smile. :-)

  3. We grow Dazzling Gold it’s a favorite with us too!

    1. That is good so if anyone is looking for it, they can contact you.

  4. I created a small corner garden for just yellow irises as I had so many, I found that massed the yellows were too overpowering so have begun adding ires that are mostly yellow. Each sets off the other better this way. I,. too, love Tiger Honey, Tour de France, Banana Daiquiri and,,,, Have to stop. I just love all the yellows! So delighted to know that you will again have some irises.

    1. Thanks Carol. I am glad you named other good yellows. I love to do iris floral arrangement with purples, lavenders, and yellows.

  5. What a sweet and meaningful post! I too, lost my husband to the similar disease of Parkinsons with Lewy Body Dementia. So sorry you have been through so much grief. I'm sure the loss of you beautiful home and beloved lris was very painful for you too. Viewing the pictures and your descriptions of the Iris was so meaningful to me.
    After I loss my husband I sold our home and moved to a new city to be close to my grandchildren. I don't have to tell you what a blessing being near your grandchildren can be. I bought a "new" 100 year old home and have been building my iris garden ever since. My garden is almost all Historic Iris because they remind me of my grandmother. Also, my garden is a memorial to my husband because he too loved iris.
    Thank you for such a heart felt post!!
    Marie Comer
    Greenville, S. C.

  6. Marie thank you for your compassion and your kind remarks. Condolences to you too.

  7. Dawn,

    It was lovely yet heartbreaking to read your story tonight, as I sit here with a broken ankle. My husband has been watering the garden and also bringing me seedlings to pot up on the front porch. It doesn't look like they will be planted in the ground this fall.

    I will soon be 78, and I just started raising irises 2 years ago. I also started crossing them, too. This is not a practical hobby for an old woman, but I will do it as long as I am able.

    I also love the yellow irises, and I have a few. Just recently I acquired That's All Folks and I am really looking forward to it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is a reminder to make provisions for our irises when we are no longer able to care for them, which is not an easy task, but an important one.

    The very best of luck to you and please let me know if I can send you any irises when you are ready. Some of mine are still to small to divide, but there are some that I can share.


    1. Thank you Evelyn for your kind remarks an for offering to share iris with me. Dawn

  8. Dawn,

    When the irises grow this year, I know that I will have a few to share. Please let me know if you are interested. When I first started growing irises in 2018, many people contributed to my bounty.

    My collection has become too large as I need room to grow seedlings. If you are interested, I can send you a list, when they are reafy.

    Evelyn 😊

  9. Hi Dawn,

    After I recovered from my broken ankle, I developed sciatica, probably from walking in the boot. Now I will be getting a hip replacement, and possibly some kind of repair to my replaced knee. Needless to say, I was in the garden for only a few months thus year, just long enough to clean it up, and plant some of my seedlings. Right now I cannot do any gardening at all, but hopefully this coming spring, I can list what I can spare, if you are interested. I joined and the folks there gave me quite a few in order to give me a head start. Now I am going to have to do some dividing this coming summer, if I am able.

    79 is too old to start hybridizing, but it just seemed to come naturally with getting the irises. I have not hybridized any other of my plants in my gardens, but I wanted to see if I could get something new and good. I have no idea what shape they are in as before I really cleaned up the garden well, but not since spring this year. I will let you know, if you want some. I have a mixture of historic and newer ones, but not the latest introductions.

    Kind regards,



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