Re: Henry Mitchell and Irises
In a message dated 96-06-05 21:59:54 EDT, Tom Dillard wrote:
>Jerry Snyder is to be congratulated for quoting the late Henry Mitchell.
>Mitchell is my all time favorite garden writer.
You have good taste Tom Dillard. Henry Mitchell was a dear friend of Suky's
and mine, and he used to visit our garden at iris time. We first met him
when about a half dozen of us formed the National Capitol Area Old Rose
Society. The big rambler "Violette" that climbs up my front fence came from
cuttings Henry gave me one November and told me to stick them in the
ground...I never believe they would put up roots...but they did! Henry was
always right when it came to plants.
In any case, did you know that the iris was Henry's favorite flower? They
were the first plants he ever grew as a boy in Tennessee. But he did not
care for modern TBs...he liked the older cultivars popular in the 1940's and
50's...and STARSHINE was his favorite. He called me looking for it one
evening, and I gave him the name and address of Mary Barnes in Oregon...well,
he got his STARSHINE, and then wrote a column about the Barnes's and their
wonderful selection of old irises. He later had to write a column publicly
apologizing to the Barnes's....they were so flooded with orders that they had
to stop selling irises that year...such was power of Henry's recommendation
to the gardening public in the Washington, DC area.
Since Henry's death, we have really missed his visits. He was a charming
wit, who never was without an amusing story to cheer his friends. Nancy
McDonald, who edits that wonderful journal, THE AMERICAN COTTAGE GARDENER, is
working on a monograph on Henry...it should be great work, as Nancy is a
suberb writer. Clarence Mahan in VA