Monday, January 2, 2023

Top Ten Iris Posts of 2022

by Heather Haley

As the new year begins, hybridizers are starting to announce their newest iris introductions. This makes me eager to return to garden activities and prepare for adventures to come. It is also a time for reflection. I am pleased to share the top ten most-viewed World of Irises blog posts of 2022.

Historic species Iris albicans 

In tenth place is a photo essay from Mike Unser "Getting Started: Early-Blooming Historic Irises."  This post includes a personal favorite: Iris albicans. When my husband Chris and I purchased our farm in 2019, we found irises growing near the mailbox. The plants bloomed the following spring, and my mother was quick to reach out to her network of iris aficionados for identification assistance. Our historic white unknown was confidently determined to be I. albicans. 

Tall bearded iris 'Football Hero' 
photo by Carl Boro

In ninth place is the announcement of the 2022 Dykes Medal Winner. As winner of the 2022 Dykes Medal, 'Football Hero' has also earned the distinction of the 2023 Iris of the Year! A press release with this information is being sent to media contacts and garden writers to publicize not only 'Football Hero' but also the beauty of irises and the dedicated work of hybridizers such as Lynda Miller.    

 Unknown iris

In eighth place is Bob Pries' blog post "Iris Identification: A Puzzle and a Problem." Bob describes the heartache associated with identifying an iris falsely colorized and published on the internet. He warns, "Someone purchasing an iris by this name may suffer sadness when the iris does not live up to their expectations." 

Standard dwarf bearded iris 'Chubby Cheeks'
photo by Paul Black

In seventh place is announcement for the publication IRISES: The Bulletin of the AIS - Spring 2022 Edition. All members of the American Iris Society receive the Bulletin, either as a print copy by mail or electronically as a .pdf. The Spring 2022 issue includes a wonderful article by Gary White about iris 'Chubby Cheeks,' winner of the AIS Board of Directors Award.  

2022 Wister Medal Winners

In sixth place is the announcement of the 2022 Wister Medal Winners. I started collecting AIS medal winners a few years back, and just checked to see if I have 'Coal Seams,' 'Good Morning Sunshine,' or 'Tijuana Taxi' yet. We do, HORRAY! If you are hunting tall bearded irises like these, you might want to check out

Potted irises waiting for in-ground planting

In fourth place is Jeff Bennett's post "Get That Order Planted." Jeff shared his strategies for quickly planting irises which arrive before the new owner has a spot for them. Many gardeners in humid climates use Jeff's technique to avoid planting irises in the heat of the summer. Members of my local iris society had unsold rhizomes at the end of last year's iris sale, so we put them in containers in hopes of conducting a potted iris sale in the coming year. 

 Tall bearded iris 'Kissed By Fire'

In third place, Mel and Bailey Schiller share their top ten bearded irises from their sales at Smokin Heights for season 2021/2022. Smokin Heights is an iris garden located in South Australia, and owned and operated by the Schiller family. Both Mel and Bailey are hybridizers, and Mel's own introduction 'Kissed by Fire' made their bestseller list at Number 5. Congratulations Mel!

AIS Photo Contest Winner “Path Through the Irises”
photo by Beth Belaney-Train, Colton, California

In second place is the announcement of AIS photo contest winners for the category "Irises in a Landscape or Garden." Entries were accepted from May to August 2022, and each participant could submit up to six photos total for the contest. Winners in each of six categories received free AIS or section memberships and 2022 introductions, whereas the runners-up received 2019-2020 introductions. Watch the AIS Galleries, Puzzles, and Contests page for future announcements.

This image has been manipulated in a computer to alter the flower's appearance

In first place is Bryce Williamson's blog post "Let the Iris Buyer Beware." Much wisdom is shared in this article, and it seems fitting to share it as the new year begins. Take heed of the following from Bryce: "I advocate for having the good sense to spend money at a reliable iris grower: the prices are lower and the quality of the plants is better. If you are new to the iris world, you can reach out to a local iris society (listed by region) or the Iris Lovers group on Facebook and ask for recommendations."

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