CULT: 25 Faves
From: Mike Lowe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My list may appear out of date, however, the first qualifier for
inclusion is that the cultivar has grown in my garden for at least
ten years. How else could I honestly testify to 'a great garden
iris?' Or, how could I admit that, while miffy and demanding, a given
cultivar rewards the effort by a splendid garden presence? On to the
list! (In no particular order)
HOLY NIGHT (Ken Mohr, TB, 1983) A superb garden iris. Extremely
healthy and attractive foliage, excellent growth without rampancy, a
late season rebloomer, and, to top it all, an attractive flower.
PLUM WINE (Weiler, SDB RE, 1986) It is hard to over praise this dark
beauty. It is an extremely well behaved garden iris in a class where
many of the remontant types will turn into a thicket of choked plants
when adverse weather conditions prevent normal blooming. It is the
most dependable Spring and Fall blooming SDB in our Virginia garden.
The flower offers a excellent garden presence despite its dark color.
I. unguicularis (Poiret 1785) What other iris can give almost
continuous bloom from late October until early March? For us the
species is the most free flowering and dependable. Resents division,
the established clumps just get better and better.
TAWNY (Thomas Pray, IB RE, 1974) In good times and bad times, this
iris throws exquisite flowers and perfect stalks. It could be used
for the definition of an ideal Intermediate Bearded iris. The foliage
does not appear robust but is always equal to the task of producing
show winning stalks, Spring and Fall.
THREE OAKS (Agnes Whiting, TB, 1943) An elegant iris with loads of
class and charm, worthy of its name honoring Mrs. Blake's garden. It
shows an evanescent, hard to photograph, blue-lavender flash under
the beard that resembles Jean Cayeux's seldom mentioned feature.
CAESAR'S BROTHER (F. Cleveland Morgan, SIB, 1932) I visited an
establishment with an overgrown planting of over 250 Siberian
cultivars -- one had a huge, tall, clump teeming with flowers. My
reaction was, "It has to be Caesar's Brother." On walking up to the
clump I verified C.B. indeed. I got off the bus at a National
Convention and looked over the beautifully manicured, well designed
garden. A large, tall clump of a royal blue flower was in bloom at
the edge of the plantings. I remarked to several people hurrying over
to see the wonder, "Dollars to Doughnuts -- it's Caesar's Brother."
Indeed, it was, 'nuff said.
QUEEN OF HEARTS (Opal Brown, TB, 1974) The best spot in the garden,
vigilance to nip rot early, abundant water and fertilizer, good air
circulation, frequent dividing, no crowding and other cultural
pamperings are necessary to keep this temperamental lady happy. "But
Oh, the heartbreakingly lovely flower!" I persist even though the
plant sometimes does not. All gardeners have "a project" and she,
despite all, is mine.
GAY PAREE (Gordon Plough, TB, 1956) I have grown this for well over
a quarter of a century and, God willing, will do so for another. Its
pedigree belies its cast iron toughness and its odd beauty is
captivating over time. One of the cleanest amoenas ever, once the
chartreuse cast on the falls segues to creamy yellow set off by a
vivid tangerine beard.
I. pallida (Lamarck, TB, 1789) What other iris could you throw down
on the edge of the lawn and come back in a half a century and find
the original clump thriving? A selected clone, GERTRUDE (William
Peterson, TB, 1907) has done just that in front of our home, growing
on the top of a low rock retaining wall. Shaded, weeded only with a
string trimmer, undivided, unfertilized, burned over annually since
the 1930s--what other garden perennial not found in 'Weeds of the
United States' would take this treatment and thrive? The pretty,
small, blue-lavender flower is lagniappe.
PERFECTION (Barr, TB, 1880) The name says it all. This small
beauty, neglecta by color class, unsurpassed in impact on viewers, is
eminently 'garden worthy' despite its age. The usual comment, on
first viewing, is -- "Wow, that's a great MTB -- is it new?
More to come, time permitting...
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