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Re: "Colonies" vs. "Little England" (was Black Prince)

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: "Colonies" vs. "Little England" (was Black Prince)
  • From: CEMahan@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 07:19:10 -0700 (MST)

In a message dated 97-02-25 05:12:50 EST, you write:

<< There is a widely held belief that iris fanciers 'across the water' are
  much taken with older form while those in the 'colonies' are mad about
  grossly expanded flower parts, ruffles, lace and the odd appendage, here
  and there. >> >>

In my experience, the primary emphasis of most British iris growers is upon
the good garden qualities of the cultivar.  They tend to prefer irises that
are good landscaping plants, with a bud count of more than 7, well branched,
firm stalks that do not fall or lean, flowers that are durable in adverse
weather, and plants that are resist rot and other disease.  From an aesthetic
standpoint, they tend to prefer irises that resemble the classic
representation of an iris.  But the garden qualities are paramount, and I
personally agree with those preferences.  

Interestingly, in a recent article in The Garden magazine, Graham Stuart
Thomas cited EDITH WOLFORD as a prime example of "bad form" in modern irises,
and a picture of this iris accompanied the article.  My own prejudice against
this cultivar is motivated by its rather poor performance as a garden iris in
northern Virginia, notwithstanding its winning the Dykes Medal or its
excellent colors.  But when I look at its picture in comparison to an irises
such as POST TIME or OLA KALA, I do see Thomas's point about form.  This is
one of the reasons I am delighted that some distinguished iris breeders such
as Paul Black have begun concentrating on smaller flowers with good garden
qualities.  Clarence Mahan in VA

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