HIST: SPEC: Donald's Homested Purple
Donald Eaves, who writes a lovely post, said:
<<Well, the first new and improved TB bloomed - ELECTRIQUE. While I was
admiring it standing tall and stately in grandeur, I couldn't help but think
it had a hard act to follow after the old homestead iris. In the next bed
over it is still in bloom. They might as well be different species for the
differences in effect. The homestead iris posesses a natural grace that the
others I grow simply lack.... In my quest for new irises to try and see, I
forget from year to year just how much I like the one I knew first... I
don't know the name, but my best guess from looking at photos would be I.
germanica. Does anyone grow this one and does it sound at all like the
Evening, Donald. I guess you've found the very nice picture of I. germanica
on the HIPS page [http://www.worldiris.com]?
One can rarely be sure of identities from looking at photos, but one can
often eliminate possibilities. All of us here know the HIPS position on
guessing at iris identities and how that evil activity drags civilization
down, so I won't haul out the gospel plow on the subject tonight.
I'd say I. germanica was a real good candidate for an unknown shorter
two-toned purple homested iris in the South. It is ubiquitous here in
Virginia, although not as often found as I. pallida, which is so prevalent
that some folks think it is a native flower. Mike Lowe wrote an interesting
article in the Spring 1995 issue of ROOTS about I. germanica called "I've
seen this Mug Everywhere!" in which he celebrated its vitality. It is a
lovely purple and a nice size and it looks real pretty with other seasonal
blooms. Oh, certainly, it is a modest thing in comparison to the modern
hybrids, or in comparison with the astonishingly beautiful classic irises of
the 'twenties and 'thirties, but there is something about it that keeps one's
attention, and one's affections. This something goes beyond nostalgia. My
germanica is not an heirloom, except in that it is implicitly an heirloom in
all gardens of European descent, but I cherish it. I'm not sure which form I
have. The species complex is pretty variable, and as far as I can tell the
taxonomy is all screwed up.
I grow ELECTRIQUE as well, and it is an astonishing and improbable iris.
Looks just like they said it would in the ads. Slate rose and grey blue. Tall
and sturdy, with heavy substance. I really don't care for the form, and I
felt like I got my fill of it all pretty soon, but I respect it for the high
class piece of genetic tinkering it is. But, I understand what you mean about
qualities, and I agree with you. I. germanica does have something ELECTRIQUE
lacks. Bluntly speaking, I. germanica, like many Iris species, and like many
of the bearded antiques, looks, well, like a flower rather than like an
Commercial Source Chairman
Historic Iris Preservation Society
"Preserving irises, iris documents, and Iris artifacts for the future."
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