HIST: GREAT LAKES
Theresa Yates asked:
<< Can anyone give me some information on Great Lakes? I just saw a picture
of this on the Hips website and it may very well be the old unlabeled blue
that I have. The form and coloring look just about right but one can't
tell height, branching ,or vigor size of rhizome, etc. form a photo. >>
Theresa, I will give you some more descriptive information I have here if you
will please promise not to decide for sure until you have an opportunity to
compare your flower to one known to be GREAT LAKES. That is the one and only
way you can be certain, and close doesn't count with unknown irises.
There are so many unknown, unnamed, or misnamed historics in circulation that
it is really irresponsible for anyone to contribute to the growing confusion,
and it would be especially so for me, as a member of the HIPS Board, to do so
by abetting anyone jumping to conclusions about really good looking mid to
light blue TBs of that period, of which there are quite a few. So, if you
will call yours PROBABLY GREAT LAKES until you are surely sure.... here we go.
>From the 1939 AIS Checklist: GREAT LAKES (Cousins' 38). TB-M-B1L. Which means
it is a Tall Bearded light blue self which blooms midseason. There is a
notation that says it has a fragrance similar to magnolias.
>From my late aunt's notebook, which I inherited, probably copied from some
catalog: "Clear sky-blue. Crisp, flaring flowers. Rugged and Hardy. 35 inches
>From a Wayside Gardens catalog from 1949 which I own: "Winner of the Dykes
Medal in 1942, this is about the finest light pure blue. Of splendid mein with
a pronounced flare, stiff, crispy petal texture, it is strikingly fine. Fine
stems of good height, well branched, Rugged and hardy, we highly recommend
Did you dig that bit about the crispy petals, Theresa? Here's the last scrap
1951 Iris Catalog from Tell's Iris Gardens--A fine HIPS Reprint edition:
" GREAT LAKES (Cousins '38) M. (DOMINION sdlg X CONQUISTADOR sdlg) Quality
blue that has been widely used as a parent and with great success."
And Anner adds: It is a Canadian iris and is not rare and is really good-
looking a grows like a weed and to be sure you should order yourself one in
from one of the fine historic iris vendors who sell it. Bloom it, and if it
doesn't match, well, you've got your own good blue, and you have GREAT LAKES!
We hope this helps some!
Keep them bloomin'.
Commercial Source Chairman
Historic Iris Preservation Society, AIS