After your response to this, I had to chime in too. I agree that trends
and fads tend to govern what is "acceptable", what is "bad", and what is
popular. I suspect like you, my tastes tend to not follow the trends. I'd
like to think we are ahead of our time, but as for me, since what I tend to
like best is the old fashioned "wild" look, I'm probably behind the times.
I often like things that are supposed to be "bad", and I never could
understand why haft marks were a sin - when they were (not long ago). I
don't like ruffles either, a ruffled Iris doesn't look like an Iris to me.
It looks like a bad excuse for a Carnation. A hint of ruffling at the
edges is pretty, but just a tiny hint. Ones that are so ruffled that they
look double offend my senses, and if they really are double, or have those
big ruffled flounces - well - YUCK.
The worst are those giant round flat (or even floppy they are so big)
Japanese Iris and all the Siberians that copy them, especially when they
are ruffled. Those things are really ugly. Now the wild I. ensata, and
the wild Siberians those are indeed things of beauty.
I like haft markings, but not always. I like solid colors without them
too, but not always. I've seen flowers in just about every color and
pattern that I thought were knockouts and others much like them that I
thought were ugly as sin. Generally what I rant and rave about doesn't
raise many eyebrows among other people. I do like bright colors and
contrasting colors and patterns, but pastels usually leave me cold.
In bearded Iris I like hanging falls; they can flare out a bit at the
bottom or curve under, it doesn't matter. I like it best if they go out
sideways a little ways (just a little) and then down. Flowers with falls
that stick out sideways like they were frozen in place or are unable to
finish opening are repulsive to me (except in some of the MTB's and I.
variegata, where they don't seem so stiff, but rather proper and natural).
I see all those catalog photos where the flower is purposely shot before it
is fully open (apparently to make it look like the falls flare out more
than they do), and it makes me want to reach in, grab the flower, and pull
it open all the way so I can see what it really looks like. I have a
similar negative reaction to overly wide round flower parts. All this
stiffness and roundness takes the grace out of the flowers for me. A stiff
flower (good substance - might hold up to my winds better) is OK, but it
shouldn't look stiff.
I don't care if standards lean out a bit (or in), but they do need to
basically point up. But, having said this, I find some of the "flat"
bearded Iris, particularly among the diploids, quite charming. I don't
care if a flower looks just a tad bit limp, it adds character, but floppy
is kind'a ugly. The line between the two states is rather hard to define.
As for "balance". There is something to that, but that is in the eye of
the beholder too. I've seen flowers that looked beautifully "balanced" to
me, and held them next to flowers of identical shape that looked all out of
proportion to me, and I couldn't tell you for sure just why, but I think
the colors and markings themselves make a difference to the illusion of
balance. I think some of the flowers with small falls that curve down and
in under vertical standards much larger are gorgeously balanced, while
others with great big falls that hang like dog ears look just as gorgeously
balanced. I think not only the relative sizes of the falls and standards
is important, but also the shape and the way they are held relative to one
Mostly I like "old fashioned" looking flowers that look more like wild
species than like something altered by a Human hand.
I might add that I like single Roses best, and Austin Roses are downright
disgusting; I like Daylilies with fairly narrow non-ruffled petals; I like
single Marigolds, Chrysanthemums, and Dahlias best; what, a double
Sunflower - doesn't look like a Sunflower at all; Daffodils should look
like wild Poet's Narcissus, petticoats, or small wild Trumpet Daffodils,
not all big and ruffley; and so the trend goes for me. I just am not
attracted to the big round powder-puffs that seem to be the goal of many a
flower breeder - they aren't natural.
Now if that sounds like a criticism of all the modern cultivars that are
coming out, it isn't. I just have different tastes, and that's fine.
There are plenty out there that I really like. If I liked them all, I
wouldn't have all the room to grow all the ones I do like (I don't have
enough room anyway - well, actually I do have enough room, but not enough
water to take care of them all - oh well).
I probably couldn't right a rule book to govern what fits my "likes" and
what doesn't if I tried.
So, like you, "guess I'm weird". But, then, aren't we all - just a bit?
I do have the strong opinion that any rules that would regulate what is
"acceptable" and what is not (beyond some loose boundaries for categories,
such as the size limits we have now) would in my mind be limiting, and
would be bad for breeding programs, because, originality in thinking and
differences in taste are what keep the new, usual, and exciting things
coming, and what allow people with different tastes to all enjoy the same
hobby breeding, growing and showing the same type of flowers. I also think
we need to allow for the expanding diversity by allowing for the addition
of new categories (classes) as these become needed, rather than trying to
force things into categories they don't fit.
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