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Re: CULT: Best plant in the Garden

In a message dated 4/12/05 9:05:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
irisman@comcast.net writes:

<< Soooo, with many folks barely into bloom season, what is your favorite
 historic and why?>>

'Quaker Lady,' always, for this Quaker lady. . . .and, also at the top of the 
list, regardless of what else may be blooming: 

'Beotie,' from Cayeux in 1932, pewter grey, with a blue flare on the falls, 
and a texture like hammered satin. Wonderful carriage. Named for an area in 
ancient Greece. Supremely beautiful and utterly distinctive. Very late, and worth 
waiting for forever.

'Shah Jehan,' from Neel in 1932. I saw it first blooming in a country 
hedgerow in Fluvanna County, Virginia and nearly drove off the road. I found it again 
closer to home, and began a campaign to obtain a piece and have it 
identified. It took me four years to own it and find out what I owned. Wayside Gardens 
championed this Iris for years, and they championed a champion. The form is 
very like 'Wabash,' but it is not snaky and prostrate in habit. Very complex 
coloration: Dark champagne standards with tones of lavender and gold; rich claret 
falls with rusty hafts; a clear rim of near-white around the falls; golden 
tones in the center of the flower. Named for the emperor who built the Taj Mahal, 
and worthy of his name.

Iris tectorum alba. Because Iris species may also be historic cultivars. This 
may be  the prettiest species of all, and a superb garden plant when 
understood. I grow it in bright shade at the base of a brick wall with white bleeding 
hearts, crested lady ferns, blue hostas, Alexandrian laurel, and lilies of the 
valley. It blooms the second year from seed, which is copiously set; do not 
cover the seed when sowing.  


Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USDA Zone 7-Urban

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