Irises forum→Anomalies

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(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 7, 2020 11:43 AM CST
Here is something interesting, at least to me. I have been going through the HIPS gallery of historic irises, looking at those that interest me and thinking of starting a bed devoted to historics. I came across, "GiGi," a iris hybridized by Schreiners in the early 70s. It looks, almost exactly like an iris I totally LOVE from my garden. This iris is, "Presby's Crown Jewel," from Schreiners, 2002. "PCJ" is of unknown heritage, from seed.
The only difference I see is height, "GiGi" listed at 40" and PCJ at 36" although I swear it's taller in my garden.
Most of all, I think the form of this/these iris are what I call classic. I'm one of those crazy people trying to decide what might be the ultimate standard of beauty in an iris, whether it's from 1970 or 2020. It's so much fun to be able to grow both simultaneously in one's own garden! So I am pleased to find one of my most favorites that might just be able to span the decades as a true classic: good then, even better now.
Check out the photos of the two and let's have a good discussion about time and form!
(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 7, 2020 11:46 AM CST

Thumb of 2020-12-07/Gretchenlasater/8337af

(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 7, 2020 12:01 PM CST


Thumb of 2020-12-07/Gretchenlasater/c60a83

Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 7, 2020 2:23 PM CST
There are soooo many registered plicatas! Go to the database, put a check mark in the plicatas box, and then hit search. It's really hard to tell one from another.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 7, 2020 2:29 PM CST
P.S. The database search page is at https://garden.org/plants/grou... . I find 183 pages of plicatas.

Maybe narrow the search to include blue or violet in the color box. But still you will be astounded how many there are that could be twins.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 7, 2020 2:38 PM CST
Yes, I am aware of that. However, the circumstances lead to my point of view. My photos are maybe not good enough, but check the photo at HIPS and then check the one of PCJ in this database. I think my point is not one of identification, but of the classic form. I'm interested in what people consider classical. These two orders do span several decades. Each awarded distinctions in their era.
What other irises do you consider classical and why?
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 7, 2020 4:18 PM CST
I consider these to be classical:

Dusky Challenger
Mary Frances
Pond Lily
Beverly Sills
Lady Friend
Vanity
Jesse's Song
Silverado
Winter Olympics
and Wabash (though more tailored and older than the rest.)
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
[Last edited by DaisyDo - Dec 8, 2020 9:47 AM (+)]
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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
Dec 7, 2020 10:43 PM CST
and how the grow is important. Jesse's Song grows well all over the country.
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 8, 2020 9:50 AM CST
Stepping out is another good plicata that I would consider to have classical form.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
Dec 8, 2020 5:46 PM CST
I think the 2 irises in the photos posted are different. The beards are a different colour and the banding is thinner on the standards of the iris in the first photo.

(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 8, 2020 7:30 PM CST
I guess what I'm trying to get across is that 3 decades has made little difference in this particular type of plicata. It's all about what is considered classical, versus maybe what is fashionable. This or these iris/irises managed to span 3 decades very successfully. (I do think the beards are very close if you look carefully at multiple photos, the banding of the standards seems to very a great deal on the particular flower/photo. I hope to find more historics that make the same "leap of faith" and I think that there is more than likely a lot of genetic material in historics that has not been utilized. I am a little weary of more and more ruffles. An iris like "Wabash" is so elegant, so easy on the eyes. The lovely form of this iris does not distract the eye with a bunch of froofroo. It has more to offer to my eye than a whole lot of self colored ruffled tall beardeds that make up a lot of Dykes winners. I am looking for elegance above all else. Of course it must grow exceptionally well.
NE Oregon (Zone 7b)
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TBManOR
Dec 8, 2020 7:59 PM CST
Disclaimer -- expressing a personal opinion here, not postulating any fact or rule....

While i agree, historics like "Wabash" have a elegance and simplicity thats appealing, I happen to believe that those two traits can be expressed in modern iris. In fact, I selected and registered these two with those two principles in mind. I agree that the authentic form of a tall bearded iris bloom can be obscured to some extent by an excess of ruffles, wild conflicting color patterns, etc.
When these two seedlings bloomed for me, I selected them over their more ruffled, undulating, bubble waved siblings. I happen to appreciate a simpler, more tailored form as opposed to a wildly ruffled composition. I still prefer rounded, broad, and wide standards and falls, over narrow and strap shaped, such are Wabash and others introduced in the '30's - 'early '70's and a bit beyond, but that is my preference and not an absolute rule that other hybridizers need to follow.
Marching to Zion - (Metler '11)
Thumb of 2020-12-09/TBManOR/fc57de
Endless Ocean - (Metler '11)
Thumb of 2020-12-09/TBManOR/69c785

[Last edited by TBManOR - Dec 8, 2020 8:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 8, 2020 9:13 PM CST
I agree with you both that a bit of ruffling is lovely, but bubble-ruffles can at times entirely obscure any form. I also like wide falls, but not to the point that they make the flower bottom-heavy. I like it balanced - neither top heavy, nor bottom heavy.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
Name: Laurie
southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Irises Butterflies Bulbs Cat Lover
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lauriemorningglory
Dec 8, 2020 9:30 PM CST
I like gentle ruffling, too. I haven't grown irises long enough to have had a chance to observe a lot of the newest cultivars, so it is possible that I will like lots of ruffles, lace and other "froofroo" as you put it, Gretchen, once I see it in person. But I'm not usually drawn to it when looking at photos. Color is usually the first thing I notice, though.

Interesting conversation.
Name: Sherry Austin
Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9a)
Region: California Irises Keeper of Poultry Roses Dragonflies Birds
Bulbs Foliage Fan Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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Henhouse
Dec 9, 2020 11:54 PM CST
From these two pictures, I can see many differences...

'Presby's Crown Jewel'
Gretchenlasater said:
Thumb of 2020-12-07/Gretchenlasater/c60a83



-First is the form..
PCJ is fuller at the hafts, and the standards are more ruffled.
-The beards are different colors.
- there is a broader band on the stds of PCJ

I think of Classic form being earlier (but I think that's just me)... 40's and 50's, and even some into the 60's when falls started getting more rounded and tailored, and moved away from the elongated form..


HIPS has had discussion from time to time about splitting out the different eras.. I think I recall that the talk was to split the historics off around 1950, and call the more recent cultivars "Vintage".. but then some folks thought the more modern ones should have their own group too.. Maybe someone with a better memory can recall this..

There were a lot of changes in form from 'Stepping Out' in '67 to 'Dusky Challenger' in '86. Both are still beautiful, but SO, although somewhat ruffled, has a more tailored appearance.. whereas DC has broader, ruffled falls.





The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 10, 2020 12:55 PM CST
Yes, I guess there's some variation in what I would consider "classic ".

Here's my personal definition, and I should underline the word personal. Others may have a different personal definition of "classic" than mine. That's okay.

1. Not having hound dog ear falls. I simply call those Historics.
2. Having a balance of form: not top heavy nor bottom heavy.
3. Having a dome to the top, with standards not gaping open, nor straight up, nor tipping out, nor v-shaped.
4. Tailored, pleated, or ruffled, but not so ruffled that form is obscured. Falls may be flared or not. Classic is rounder falls than strap-shaped.

Again, it's my personal definition, and it tends to be what I look for in the irises I acquire. Your definition of classic may be different. I think it's good to make a distinction between "Historics" and "Classics" even though my definition of "classic" may include cultivars that are over 50 years old and so are technically historic based on date of introduction.

I would rate Whole Cloth as a classic, and it's a lovely one!
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
NE Oregon (Zone 7b)
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TBManOR
Dec 10, 2020 6:42 PM CST
This may shed a little light on the subject.
https://theamericanirissociety...
Another link
https://wiki.irises.org/Hist/W...
Name: Daisy
close to Baltimore, MD (Zone 7a)
Irises Cat Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader Organic Gardener Region: Maryland Bookworm
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DaisyDo
Dec 10, 2020 9:54 PM CST
Yes, pardon me, historics are supposed to be 30 years old or older. No one but me talks about classic form, apparently. However, I agree with Dawn Mumford that the 30 year definition for historics really should be a longer period.

The reason I think it should be a longer period, or preferably a pre (certain date) definition, is that I think it should mark the midpoint between transition from the old strap-shape falls, and the new more rounded falls.

Granted that transition took place over about three decades, but by 1965 almost all the new introductions were of the wider falls type. If it were up to me, I'd guesstimate about 1950 as the midpoint of the transition. So if I were on a committee to choose a new definition of "Historic" I'd vote for it being pre-1950. Just my two cents.
-"If I can’t drain a swamp, I’ll go pull some weeds." - Charles Williams
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
Dec 10, 2020 10:00 PM CST
talk to the historic society they are always interested in suggestions.
(Zone 9a)
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Gretchenlasater
Dec 11, 2020 6:09 PM CST
I'm glad this discussion has gotten going and that we have so many contributors. I think I might want to make a point here , and that is classic/classical are not related, in my opinion, to a period. I think of classical as being the pure elegance of a form, and form might not be just the 3d form, but also pattern/color, I see Wabash as having outstanding purity of form, even though it is an historic iris. I see Vanity as classical for it's period in the early 80s, and think of Montmartre as classical in the modern sense with good form and complimentary pattern/color. What I find most interesting is to define what it is that these irises have in common that delights the eye. These are the iris that I find so delightful and want to grow in my garden. What I really like to ponder is how color and pattern influence our thoughts on classical beauty. I find it interesting that no fully broken patterned iris has broken into the Dykes arena. And that so many, many have been self's. Of course I see that the broken pattern acts as a kind of camouflage of the form. But as a color enthusiast, I really love some of the wild broken colors of say Bewilderbeast. For me, it is a classic of its type, coloration not getting much better than this. (It grows sensationally for me, though not perhaps in every climate). So as an upshot of all this,. I am thinking that iris judging may be a tad on the conservative side?

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