Irises forum: The Naming of Irises

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Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
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janwax
Nov 13, 2014 4:14 PM CST
How irises are named intrigues me. Often I'm attracted first to the name of an iris.
Or, conversely, repelled by a name. For example - there is an iris called Rasputin. Rasputin was
a mysterious man who had a negative influence on Czar Nicholas of Russia and the Czar's family.
Why would anyone name an iris after him?
Has the name of an iris ever induced you to add it to your garden?
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
[Last edited by janwax - Nov 13, 2014 4:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Leslie
Durham, NC (Zone 8a)
Region: North Carolina Irises Cat Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers hot summers Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Lestv
Nov 13, 2014 5:10 PM CST
Well Rasputin was very hard to kill. They tried several times before succeeding by both shooting and drowning him. I agree that he doesn't sound like a good name for an iris, but it could connote that this is a hardy iris that is hard to kill. !!!
My road calls me, lures me west, east, south & north; most roads lead men homewards, my road leads me forth. - John Masefield
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
Nov 13, 2014 5:56 PM CST
There one little iris that I really want but have not added it to my garden. It is named Baby Doe Tabor by Tom Magee 1999. It has been described as a fawn color but the name almost seems like it is a memorial iris. It would be sad to pass it in my garden every day if it is a memorial to a baby. I really don't like irises named for people that I don't know. The name does not describe its bloom or vigor... just a persons name. That is like calling it iris 1 to me. There are so many dwarfs called little, I think I have five or six, that I think they could be more creative. Anyway, if you have a terrific iris that is worth registering then I think it should have a name that is either whimsical, descriptive or intriguing and above all memorable.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
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lovemyhouse
Nov 13, 2014 6:07 PM CST
Jan, new to Iris, but have added Iris to my wants list because of the name, have bought Daylilies for the name, so guess it carries across.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Nov 13, 2014 6:08 PM CST
Look at a hybridizer like Larry Lauer. He uses song titles in naming. Fun stuff. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
Nov 13, 2014 6:10 PM CST
Yes, Debra, or famous lines from songs. Millions of them!
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Nov 13, 2014 6:52 PM CST
Rejecting a beautiful iris because of it's name is like rejecting people with blue eyes as friends. Neither has any control over it. I don't give much thought to the name, but I want the iris to be nice. If it's nice and has a cute name, that's fine, but otherwise I don't even consider the name when buying them. That being said, I did buy Man's Best Friend for my doggie memorial bed and Sammies Jammies (One of the dog's names was Sammie), but I did like the flowers! Lovey dubby Whistling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
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KentPfeiffer
Nov 13, 2014 7:53 PM CST

Moderator

Names don't mean much of anything to me either, Tom. They could sell irises by the seedling numbers as far as I'm concerned. Smiling
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Nov 13, 2014 8:42 PM CST
I enjoy the names...and in fact have a collection of "Indian Themed" iris....but even iris with "yucky" names can trip my trigger ! One thing that I "get off on", concerning names...is not the NAME of the iris, so much, as how it GOT it's name....there are some very interesting stories about some of them ! And, of course, I grow "Eleanor Roosevelt," and would dearly love to have" Franklin Roosevelt" to plant next to her ! "Romeo" demanded I find "Juliet" to be his bed mate, and " Mr. Lincoln" just had to have "Mary Todd" as a companion (even though "she ' wasn't named for THAT Mary Todd). A bed with a "theme"....song titles...cities...states...Star Wars...birds...iris named for OTHER kinds of flowers' .... '''memorial plantings"....all can add an extra dimension of enjoyment to our gardens.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
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grannysgarden
Nov 13, 2014 8:52 PM CST
With my memory I could never remember an iris number. I would have to walk about with a chart. I recognize many irises by their names and I like that. I also like to know how an iris got its name. And naming irises can be a good selling point. As I said on CUBITS I am going to buy Winkin' Blinkin' AND Nod. How could I have one without the others?
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
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irisarian
Nov 13, 2014 11:22 PM CST
It is really difficult to get an iris name passed by the registrar. I told John that if I had a brown iris, I would call it Billie the Brownie after a childhood radio character. He come in one morning & said that it had just bloomed in the garden. His plant! oh well & I like the iris.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
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Henhouse
Nov 14, 2014 12:23 AM CST
Nicely put Arlyn..

Lucy, did John use your name for one of his Iris? Glare

I've bought several for their names...
'Drama Queen' (I prefer this in my garden, than having them in my life)
'Starship Enterprise' (because Mr. Henhouse is a trekkie)
'Coyote Ugly' (just strikes me as hilarious)
'Filoli' (because I used to work there)
'Stepping Out' (my Dad used to ask if I was going stepping out)
'Joan Crawford' (she did bitch so well)
'San Francisco' (city of my birth... need to get some of the other California city-named varieties)

I'd like to get 'Ginny Mitchell' because I've done some shows with a singer by that name (and it's really pretty), but I feel like I should give her 'Drama Queen' instead Hilarious!
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
Name: Jan Wax
Mendocino County, N. CA (Zone 9a)
I'm a studio potter.
Hummingbirder Dog Lover Irises Region: California Organic Gardener Dahlias
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janwax
Nov 14, 2014 12:34 AM CST
I have a few "wine" names...Merlot is one.

Leslie - I liked your analogy that Rasputin was hard to kill and so might be the iris. Just noticed that
it's a Tom Johnson creation. Maybe he'll enlighten us sometime!

I think names do matter. I'm afraid to check the database for any iris possibly named Hitler!
I do like the idea of names in a series...how about philosophers? Or former vice-presidents? Nah..
I really wouldn't like a Dick Cheney in my garden.
Iris is the goddess of the rainbow.
[Last edited by janwax - Nov 14, 2014 12:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Neal Linville
Winchester, KY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Bulbs Cottage Gardener Roses Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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gemini_sage
Nov 14, 2014 6:50 AM CST
This thread got me noticing names while I've been browsing Tom Johnson intros, and I realized he really likes pop song names. I'm not very up on pop songs, so I'm sure I didn't recognize some....but I sure did zone in on those 80s songs, LOL.
Call Me Maybe
Dancing in the Dark
Don't Stop Believing
Rumor Has It
Wild Angel
Strut
Strike a Pose (from a song)
Spirit in the Sky
Sharp Dressed Man
She Bop
Seasons in the Sun
Ray of Light
Heart of Glass
Bright Sunshiny Day
Material Girl
Love Me True
Lost in Love
Land Down Under
I'm on Fire
I Hope You Dance
I Feel Lucky
Heat is On
Glamorous Life

Lots of names having something to do with fashion:
Fall Fashion
Fashion Baby (also song lyric)
Fashion Diva
Super Model
Stylized
Stilettos
Project Runway
Leopard Print
In Style
Catwalk Queen

And several film names, and names associated with Hollywood:
Film Star
Golden Compass
Hollywood Lights
Tremors
Stage Presence
Sordid Lives
Short Film
Risky Business
Original Cast
Now Playing
Hook

And those are all just one hybridizer! One could go nuts getting OCD with this, LOL! An excellent winter Iris game of sorts though Smiling
"...and don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous." Rumi
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Nov 14, 2014 7:59 AM CST
Very interesting, Neal! I had no idea he was the hybridizer of some of these you named. If I don't own an iris then I don't usually know its statistics and even some on my wish list are his.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
Image
lovemyhouse
Nov 14, 2014 8:31 AM CST
I have refused to consider plants with names that have unpleasant personal associations. Fortunately, those have been few. Hilarious!

Neal, didn't connect those titles to songs when I was looking for the ones I have that are Johnson's--thank you for the tie-in. Smiling
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Nov 14, 2014 8:47 AM CST
Jan, I don't know of an iris named for "Hitler", but I do grow "Mussolini" Sticking tongue out ! You have to remember that times change, as does our perception of what is "good' ,or "bad'......Mussolini, at first, was thought to be quite the leader...he got the trains in Italy to run on time, and put most of the country "to work", helping Italy ease out of a world-wide depression.....but then Shrug! . And take the case of the JI,...the "Japanese Iris", much work was done bring them to this country, hybridizing, developing them, etc, in the time "between the wars"...Japan had been an "ally," of sorts, during the First World War, trade between our two countries was flourishing , and all was right with our world...and then, after December 7th, 1941, the few nurseries that still sold them, called them "pearl harbor" iris.
Name: Bonnie Sojourner
Harris Brake Lake, Arkansas (Zone 7a)
Magnolia zone
Region: United States of America Region: Arkansas Master Gardener: Arkansas Irises Bulbs Seed Starter
Gardens in Buckets Garden Art Plant and/or Seed Trader Moon Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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grannysgarden
Nov 14, 2014 9:13 AM CST
Sad that a plant of any sort gets mixed up with mans tribulations.
I love my garden.... and Jesus, and coffee, and naps.......
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA (Zone 6b)
irises
Charter ATP Member Cottage Gardener Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: United Kingdom Region: Northeast US Irises
Region: United States of America
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irisarian
Nov 14, 2014 10:19 AM CST
I have not hybridized a brown iris as yet, so very glad to have him use it. I usually wish to give some idea of its color when naming an iris, although BB 'Margaret Beaufort' was named at the request of an English friend. He was working on her biography at the time. (Mother of Henry VII).
Thumb of 2014-11-14/irisarian/381f3d

Name: Arlyn
Whiteside County, Illinois (Zone 5a)
Irises Beekeeper Region: Illinois Celebrating Gardening: 2015
crowrita1
Nov 14, 2014 10:23 AM CST
Hurray! Thumbs up

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