Hi Lucy. I don't know that I have an absolute favorite ! If I'd ever had a dozen children ,(Which I have none.) it would almost be like asking ; "Which is your favorite child ?"
I could tell, you, I have a favorite sister & she always was & always will be my favorite sibling ! Maybe, for now, it will be 'Adriatic Noble' as it was recommended to me, just as Dahlia, "Just Getting Married' , was, also...
I always liked Oncocyclus & used to buy roots of the species, over 30 years ago, but now I grow those, from seeds. I think I actually prefer, Iris bismarckiana, over kirkwoodii, (which is very similar to what was called susiana- 'Mourning Iris'), but I just can't really make up my mind, on that, either.
I think 'Decadence' is a nice looking tall bearded. I just like big Iris & now they are so, exravagant looking. It is hard to say. 'Volacnic Glow', looks great & 'Sorbonne' or 'Tuscan Summer'. If you were to ask about it by color, as in self, or bitone, or plicata or luminata,, it would just be so different, that it's really rather difficult, to say.
Even if it was something like aphylla, suaveloens, or something little like that. Or , an old Historic, it''s just a whole different class. Then, if you were a teacher, I suppose your favorite student, would be the one student, that was the most kind to you & respected you & gave you reason to show kindness & respected, also & knew you cared, & showed they knew that & was interested in learning & you knew that you motivated them, then they excelled & performed, well & always had good grades, behaved well, knew the answers to your questions, never forgot their homework, was never late, or skipped their class & so, you were satisfied with your life's work, because those students ( or a certain Iris) gave you a reason, to continue doing it., as an occupation... You got the results & it made the student happy & the teacher, also.
Maybe, in a way, it's almost symbiotic in a way. You like that particular Iris, it performs well & you like it & feel it has rewarded you, for your efforts you've put forth. It almost is like, it works both ways, when you "like" something. Similar, to love, between people. It can't just be beneficial to one & not the other & compromise is involved & it takes effort & work. You have to tend it, & pay attention to it & provide the needs.
Do you see what I mean ? What if, "your favorite Iris", doesn't turn out, to be, all that you liked, about it & didn't flower well, or increase, or possibly just rotted away & didn't grow well, for you ?
Do you keep replacing it, every year, until it is no longer your favorite, if it simply died for you, each year ? It would be different, if there was a known reason, it had died for you & there was a benefit to you, later, even if it was to flower just once,& yet you still had that memory, of that favorite Iris & it had died for, you in flowering & yet in doing so, it continued on, in your memory to be there, forever. I think that would be my choice as my most favorite one, as it just may last for an eternity...