Betty et al., it is amazing to me how our perceptions--and our standards--have
changed since I first encountered irises.
I thought Lent A. Williamson beautiful--those wonderful and intricate colors
in the hafts fascinated me. Then when I got Shah Jehan and later
Extravaganza, I was in ecstasy with the colors. Eventually I was taught that
colorfully patterned hafts were "bad."
Funny thing is, now I find the form and pattern like those showing up on
Iris-photos fascinating too. A few decades ago the big deal was to get rid of
"messy" hafts. Super clean color--evenly applied. Now, in the post-Blyth
blitz, all the rage is butterfly wing - veined upper falls that would have
gone on the compost heap right fast a generation ago, and still do unless
there is something really appealing about the flower. That still happens here
in my small breeder's patch, as I haven't shaken the "messy hafts" bias yet,
at least not entirely. Give me a decade or so to adapt.
I love those very wide-hafted forms with shorter standards, ruffled falls that
cup. I find those exquisite. Since I was at one time over 6', I could look
down on a 40" iris and enjoy the view from above. Now that I'm shrinking and
my spine isn't as straight as it once was, I appreciate a view from somewhat
lower--but still a long ways above the flower on all but some outrageously
I appreciate "balance," but balance is a subjective thing, not a matter of
We seem to go by fads. The day of the stiff, starched tailored iris may yet
return. There are some wonderfully beautiful MTB's that have this, and I
think they are charming. There was a time when that form was the norm in TB's
too. That's a long time gone--now <everything> has ruffles, and the more, the
"better." Is it better? Not for everybody!
Diversity and diversity of tastes has a lot of merit, I think. We're not
stamped out with a cookie cutter, nor should our irises be IMHO (actually not
"humble" at all!).
Neil Mogensen z 7 western NC mountains
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