I do use the Wilson/HCC set as this is what I stretched my limited "iris"
budget many years ago--almost fifty, actually, to get what I thought the best
available system at the time. There were some highly influential folk in the
AIS who were using it then--people like Melba Hamblen, for example.
If I were buying now, and perhaps I may do so sooner or later, I would get the
RHS through the AIS bookstore.
Both the HCC and the M&P as used by Keith Keppel are very expensive, out of
print, treasures we happen to have. If I am not mistaken, the Registrar's job
and office has a set of several if not all of the color reference systems on
hand so that cross-comparisons could be made if a pressing need arose.
I agree with what Jim implies, but does not directly say, that if we all used
the same system, had an AIS-prescribed "norm" for a system, we would have some
advantage. I don't know what color Keith is talking about, and you don't know
what either he or I talk about or use as references in our registrations.
This really is a disadvantage.
Keith is scrupulously careful to color code in detail the beard in layers from
front to back, the style arms in detail, and the subtle variations in color in
the standards and falls.
This may sound like data over-load, but in the HIPS work, if such detailed
descriptions existed for grand historics, identification of varieties would be
vastly easier than what we have now--short, terse and very rough
generalizations of color in those older registrations. Those descriptions
could be identical for quite different flowers. That is not true for Keith's
description, provided you had a good, well-preserved M&P at hand to look up
the color plants he references.
The long memories of some of us older irisarians is another valuable
reference, I might add. Those of us that actually grew JAKE, ELSA SASS, DOLLY
MADISON and LENT A. WILLIAMSON in our collections have some advantage over the
younger members, as we <may> recognize them when we see them. Time and memory
can be elusive and misleading in the "computer of the mind."
As mentioned off-line in response to a question, those older system manuals do
appear for sale on such places as E-Bay from time to time. One might do well
to be wary, however, as sight-unseen copies may have damage, deterioration,
missing sheets and what-not that cannot be determined from a blind purchase.
As always--let the buyer beware.
Then again, is that not true of everything?
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