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HIST: Notes from the Past

From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>

Hello, Talk-ers!

I have in my possession (acquired via eBay) a copy of the 1937 catalog of
Wild Rose Iris Gardens, Highway 71, St. Joseph, Missouri, operated by Mrs.
Ella W. Callis, a well known irisarian of that day. This catalog is not in
pristine condition - it is much more interesting than that! Whoever
received it made extensive notations in it and conveniently provided a key
on the inside cover to the cryptic marks scattered throughout the catalog.
From these it is possible to reconstruct not only the cultivars that an
obviously enthusiastic irisarian was growing some 60 years ago, but also
the ones he/she liked best, the ones that had been lost (are you listening,
Walter), and even her/his wish list for 1937.

Here are the names of the irises listed in the catalog that this person was
growing in his/her garden (an asterisk indicates a cultivar that was "liked

Alcazar, Allure, Alta California*, Ambassadeur, Anna Farr*, Archeveque,
Ballerine, Beau Ideal, Buto, B.Y. Morrison, Candlelight, Caprice*, Cecile
Minturn, Churchmouse, Citronella, Clara Noyes*, Clio, Dauntless*, Depute
Nomblot, Desert Gold*, Dolly Madison*, Doxa*, Dusky Maid, Euphony*,
Eventide, Fragonard, Frieda Mohr, Fro*, Gentius, Golden West*, G.P. Baker*,
Helios*, Indian Chief*, Isoline, Jubilee, Kansas, King Juba, King Karl,
King Midas*, King Tut*, Lent A. Williamson, Lodestar*, Lohengrin, Lord of
June, Lorelei*, Los Angeles*, (Souv de) Madame Gaudichau, Mary Geddes*,
Mary Gibson, Mary Williamson*, Medrano, Midgard*, Mithras, Morning
Splendor*, Mother of Pearl, Mrs. Neubronner, Navajo, Nebraska, Otoe,
Peaches, Pluie d'Or*, President Pilkington, Princess Victoria Louise,
Prosper Laugier, Queen Caterina, Rameses, Red Cloud, Rhein Nixe, Rose
Unique, Seminole*, Sherwin Wright, Shirvan*, Sindjkha, Sir Michael, Susan
Bliss, Syphax, Tenaya*, Troost, Valor*, Venus de Milo*, Violet Crown*,
Wedgewood, William Mohr, Winneshiek*, Wyomissing, Yellow Pearl*,
Atroviolacea, Bluestone*, Endymion, Lieut. de Chavagnac*, Snow Maiden*,
Sound Money*, Zua*, Autumn King, Autumn Queen, Jean Siret.

Here are the ones that were marked as having been lost:

Mrs. Valerie West, Pallida Dalmatica, Phebus, Purissima, San Francisco,

And here is the Wish List for 1937:

Evolution (Cayeux, '29) price: 50 cents
Jean Cayeux (Cayeux, '31) price: 4 dollars
Shining Waters (Essig, '33) price: 75 cents
Spring Maid (Loomis, '32) price: 1 dollar
W. R. Dykes (Dykes, '26) price; 1 dollar
Neola (J. Sass, '32) price: 25 cents

Some of these iris cultivars, alas, will probably never be seen again, but
many of them are grown and cherished by those who appreciate Historic
Irises today.

Hope those who read through this found something of interest in this
glimpse into the past!

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2)

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