Monday, July 27, 2020

To Brighten Your Day

By Melissa Schiller

Ahhhh yellow iris. Our love hate relationship continues. 

Of course this is just our personal opinion.  Talking from experiencing garden visitors to Smokin Heights many people either like the colour yellow or they strongly do not. We personally do not like the colour yellow. In saying that we do not strive to hybridize yellow; however, we have had numerous nice seedlings pop up. We know that to make a good iris it needs many things. Branching, stem proportion, buds, growth habits just to name a few attributes. We aren't that silly to pass a good iris seedling up just based on colour alone.

We also find that showing yellow iris is also extremely hard purely on the manicure of the iris for the show bench. Bugs leave all sorts of dirty damage to the bloom that can be extremely hard to clean, which for us is time consuming as we bench many iris. 

Photography can also be difficult because yellow is such a clean bright colour. It is not as easy to hide or camouflage damage like rips, holes and dirty marks from bugs as it is the darker coloured iris.
If the photo is not taken in the first day of the bloom opening the edges of the petals tend to go off colour hence the colour is slightly off not depicting the bloom at its best!

Last season we noticed which yellows were the most popular at Smokin Heights here we go:

'Irish Jester' (Blyth 2019)
Coming in at number eight is 'Irish Jester,' hybridized by Barry Blyth and introduced in 2019. This variety is a stellar grower and puts on a gorgeous display. We especially like the butterfly pattern on the haft area, a pattern that has only recently appeared in TB's.

'Woven Sunlight; (Blyth 2015)
Next up is 'Woven Sunlight,' hybridized by Barry Blyth and introduced in 2015. We have used this variety in hybridizing and is a very good parent for plicatas and luminata-plicatas.

'Only A Dream' (Blyth 2019)
In at number six is 'Only A Dream,' another hybridized by Barry Blyth an introduced in 2019. A very unusual shade of yellow makes this variety standout. It also has great stems and bloom habits.

'Bamboo Shadows' (Keppel 06)
Number five is 'Bamboo Shadows,' hybridized by Keith Keppel and introduced in 2006. We love the unusual tone of this variety, very unique. Great growth habits and stems; what else would you expect from the master Keith Keppel!

'Endless Sunshine; (Blyth 15)
Beginning the top four with 'Endless Sunshine,' hybridized by Barry Blyth and introduced in 2015. This variety has been very popular in Australia, the photo really doesn't do it justice. It's very bright and can be noticed from some distance away.

'Smart Money; (Ghio 10)
Coming in third is 'Smart Money,' hybridized by Joe Ghio and introduced in 2010. Beautiful pattern and nice clean colours, its only let down is its stems which we find aren't nicely spaced.

'Mac 'n' Cheese' (Johnson 16)
In second place is 'Mac 'n' Cheese,' hybridized by Thomas Johnson and introduced in 2016. We love everything about this Iris except for its slow growth habits. It may have even won top spot if it grew better.

'Sun Shine In' (Keppel 10)
And first place goes to 'Sun Shine In,' hybridized by Keith Keppel and introduced in 2010. Chosen for its beautiful clear colour and amazing form. It also has consistent show stems and is a fast and easy grower. We recommend this variety highly if you are looking for a new yellow Iris to add to your garden.

These placings are based on Smokin Heights personal opinion on how the plants perform when grown in our garden.

What are some of your favourite yellow hybrids? We would love to know!

We sincerely hope you are keeping well in these challenging times. We love seeing all the garden and iris photos from around the world on Facebook. Social Media is keeping us all in touch with each other and enables us to share our passion. Keep up the great work!


  1. I had several yellows open up from a cross i did several years ago. I was surprised because I crossed a cream with a purple and i was hoping for a mixture of the colors. However I got mostly yellows. They are not my favorite color but I got several interesting patterns.

  2. That's All Folks by Maryott is one of my favorite yellows-- so bright you notice it halfway down the block from our house. Slew O' Gold by Schreiner is an excellent grower and performer for me. Idle Rich is a favorite that has an usual flush of smoky orchid up the standards.


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