American Iris Society

FEBRUARY, 1938 No. 68


Foreword, B. Y. Morrison - - - 1

Some Observations in English Iris Gardens, E. 0. Essig - - - - 3

Thoughts on Autumn Blooming, J. Marion Shull - - - 22

The Methods Adopted for Growing Iris in the Southwest, Eddie Fanick 24

A. I. S. Project Color Photography, Carrie Stover Lewis, Chairman - 26

Officers’ Reports:

Report of the President - - - - - 30

Report of Balloting - ~ - 31

Report of Secretary - - - 31

Report of Treasurer - - 32

Regional Reports:

Mrs. Lewis, Massachusetts _ 33

Dr. Reed, New York - - 41

Mr. Wister, Pennsylvania _ 42

Mr. Shull, Maryland - 44

Mrs. Bachman, Georgia _ 47

Mrs. Waters, Ohio - 49

Mr. Schreiner, Minnesota - 50

Mrs. Washington, Kentucky _ 51

Mr. Hall, Illinois _ 53

Mrs. Scruggs, Texas _ _ _ , _ 54

Mr. Starker, Oregon _ 55

Report of The Exhibition Committee, Mrs. Karcher _ _ 56

Our Members Write:

From Oregon, Mrs. Krause _ 78

Soil Notes, Indiana, A. W. Mackenzie _ _ _ 79

From Indiana, Mrs. Horton _ 80

Detroit Iris Society Officers _ 80

Spring Fiesta, Louisiana _ 80

From New York, Virgil V. Johnson _ 80

From Michigan, Mrs. Englerth _ 81

From Indiana, Iconoclast _ ... _ 81

From Rome, Italy, Countess Senni _ _ _ 84

From New Jersey, G. L. Schofield _ 85

From California, Mrs. Lothrop _ 86

Published Quarterly by

THE AMERICAN IRIS SOCIETY, 32nd ST. AND ELM AVE., BALTIMORE, MD. Entered as second-class matter January, 1934, at the Post Office at Baltimore, Md. under the Act of March 3, 1879.

$3.00 the Year 50 Cents per Copy for Members


Directors :

Term expiring 1938: Sam L. Graham Clint McDade

Mrs. G. R. Marriage B. Y. Morrison

J. B. Wallace, Jr. Richardson Wright

J. P. Fishburn Dr. Henry Lee Grant

Term expiring 1939 : Dr. H. H. Everett Dr. J. H. Kirkland

Term expiring 1940: W. J. McKee David F. Hall

President Dr. H. H. Everett, 417 Woodman Accident Building, Lincoln, Nebr. Vice-President Mr. W. J. McKee, 45 Kenwood Ave., Worcester, Mass. Secretary Mr. B. Y. Morrison, 821 Washington Loan and Trust Bldg., Washington, D. C.

Treasurer J. P. Fishburn, Box 2531, Roanoke, Ya.

Regional Vice-Presidents

1. Mrs. Herman E. Lewis, 180 Grove St., Haverhill, Mass.

2. Kenneth D. Smith, Benedict Road, Dongan Hills, Staten Island, N. Y.

3. John C. Wister, Wister St. and Clarkson Ave., Germantown, Philadel¬

phia, Pa.

4. J. Marion Shull, 207 Raymond St., Chevy Chase, Md.

5. Mrs. James R. Bachman, 2646 Alston Drive, Atlanta, Ga.

6. Mrs. Silas B. Waters, 2005 Edgecliff Point, Cincinnati, Ohio.

7. Mrs. T. A. Washington, 1700 18th Ave., South, Nashville, Tenn.

8. Dr. Frederick A. Willins, 815 8th St., S. W., Rochester, Minn.

9. Dr. Franklin Cook, 636 Church St., Evanston, Ill.

10. Frank E. Chowning, 2110 Country Club Lane, Little Rock, Ark.

11. Dr. C. W. Hungerford, 514 East C St., Moscow, Idaho.

12. Dr. P. A. Loomis, Colorado Springs, Colo.

13. Carl Starker, Jennings Lodge, Ore.

14. Mr. Donald Milliken, 970 New York Ave., Pasadena, Calif.

15. William Miles, Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

Chairmen of Committees :

Scientific Dr. A. E. Waller, 210 Stanbery Ave., Bexley, Columbus, Ohio. Election Dr. C. Stuart Gager, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N. Y. Membership and Publicity Dr. H. H. Everett, Woodman Accident Building, Lincoln, Nebr.

Registration C. E. F. Gersdorff, 1825 No. Capitol St., Washington, D. C. Exhibition Mrs. Ralph E. Picker, 1516 Ross St., Sioux City, Iowa. Bibliography Mrs. W. H. Peckham, The Lodge, Skylands Farm, Ster- lington, N. Y.

Awards W. J. McKee.

Editorial Board B. Y. Morrison, Editor; Mrs. J. E. Hires, Ass’t Editor S. R. Duffy Mrs. C. S. McKinney

C. E. F. Gersdorff R. S. Sturtevant

Mrs. Lena M. Lothrop

LANTERN SLIDES Rental Fee (to members) #10.00. Apply to Mrs. Herman E. Lewis, 180 Grove St., Haverhill, Mass.



The page opposite this records several changes in our official family, all among the appointees. After many years of faithful service, Mrs. Karcher retires as Chairman of the Exhibition Com¬ mittee and is followed by Mrs. Ricker to whom you should write from now on, but before writing to Mrs. Ricker, do write a letter of appreciation to Mrs. Karcher. There are changes also in the series of Regional Vice Presidents and more will follow in order that those who have served may have a chance to enjoy their own gardens without the thought of other duties and in order to renew the activities of the Society by ‘new Blood.’ If you live in a region with a new Vice President, send them your word of greeting.

At the time of this writing, the date and program of the Annual Meeting in Cincinnati have not been settled. You will receive a notice by mail in ample time, but remember that the end of May and the early part of June are reserved. Plan to come to the meeting to contribute something to the discussions. Do not leave all the planning to the Committee or the Officers.

With Spring coming on if not already here, make a resolve to gather some notes for the Bulletin. Bulletins do not write themselves. Read carefully all Mrs. Lewis has to say about pic¬ tures, but do not be so converted that you do not take any black and white pictures for the Bulletin. Be sure to make some notes about combinations of iris and other plants in the border. And as a final dare, make some iris arrangements, have them photo¬ graphed in black and white and send them in with notes. The average iris arrangement as observed is hideous. Iris themselves are not. What is the trouble. Remember, this is a dare !

B. Y. Morrison, Secretary.

G. L. Pilkington, Esq., President of The Iris Society of Great Britain, and the magnificent Mohr-Mitchell iris Purissima taken in his garden at Lower Lee , Woolton, Liverpool, England. ( Courtesy of Carl Salhach.)


E. O. Essig Berkeley , California

Although our trip to England was primarily for technical studies, we had many opportunities to see fine irises there.

The Tuesday after our arrival at Liverpool on June 13, 1936, we were entertained at “Lower Lee/? Wool ton, the home of G. L. Pilkington, past president, and then secretary of The Iris So¬ ciety. He has a large and elegant home, and his spacious and beautiful garden was at its prime. I have never seen a better collection of really good irises so well grown. It was indeed for¬ tunate for us that his more northern location had made it possible for us to see such a grand display when practically all the other irises in England were through blooming for the year. His col¬ lection of several hundred varieties comprise most of the finest to be had in Europe and America. The plants were vigorous, the stalks tall, and the flowers unusually large. There was a wealth of color, form, and substance and this display was a show by itself. Naturally we were particularly interested in his own creations and saw most of them including:

Sahara (1936). A very large, refined primrose-yellow self of good substance and dignified carriage. The Dykes Medal, 1935.

Natal (1935). Considered by many to be his best. Flowers old ivory, tinged green. Certificate of Merit, The Iris Society.

India (1930). Large flowers, with dauphin ’s-blue standards and reddish falls, supported on tall stalks. Award of Merit, R. H. S., 1932.

Gold Coast. A good yellow. Silver Medal, The Iris Society, 1936.

Lagos. A tall yellow, the standards paler and the falls with a white blaze at the beard and edged white.

Malta and Gibraltar . Two pale yellows with specially good spacing of the branches and flowers.

Helvellyn. A white that has met with much favor in England.

Alongside these were such familiar ones as Dolly Madison , Eros, Purissima, which Mr. Pilkington takes pride in growing 5 and 6 feet tall, Los Angeles , Alta California, California Gold and Sunol.


An iris-bordered grass walk in the garden of Major F. C. Stern, at Goring By Sea, England. Major Stern, Mrs. Essig, and Mary Isabel Essig. May 29, 1937.

As a judge of irises Mr. Pilkington is unsurpassed and as a host he is even better.

After leaving this iris enthusiast’s Garden of Eden we had a whole year ahead of us before another iris season came along. Of course there were plenty of other flowers, both wild and cul¬ tivated, beautiful trees; hedges; lawns; and landscapes, natural and artificial, to furnish a continual display throughout this en¬ tire period and we enjoyed them all to the fullest. Even in the dead of winter the greenhouses send forth their delicacies in con¬ tinual abundance. Before one is aware, spring is announced by the crocuses, primroses, cowslips, bluebells, and from then on there is a flood of color in garden, field, and forest.

Before leaving home last spring I sent a number of my own varieties to R. E. S. Spender, Esq., the Honorable Editor of the Iris Society, who was just building a new garden at Chetwold, Yetminster, Dorset. He reported to us from time to time during the winter the progress of these, and other irises, which held our interest and quickened our desire for spring.

To a Californian, spring comes late in England and the iris season had a very slow dawning during the last half of May, which finally burst into full display in early June ; then there was left to us but a week to see what; might well consume an entire


A clump of Iris Tedorum in Major Stern’s garden .

month. We were certainly ready for the Chelsea Show on May 26th and were delighted to find a considerable number of iris displays when there was yet no evidences of irises blooming out- of-doors. The secret was that they were brought ahead by pot culture in the cold glass houses. These Chelsea exhibits were specially attractive because most of them were arranged in natu¬ ralistic beds on the ground— -a mode of display specially adapted to potted plants. There were a few stems in bottles according to the custom at the Iris Show later in June.

We were most fortunate in meeting genial Mr. Pilkington and having him for our guide and informant throughout the entire forenoon. He was again the president of The Iris Society. There is very little about the Chelsea Show with which he is not thor¬ oughly familiar. As an official himself, he knew and was known by all the officials, the exhibitors, the patrons, and it seemed most of the spectators in the big tents. And such a good time we had !

The iris displays of special merit listed alphabetically as in the list of exhibits were :

G. Bunyard & Co., Ltd., Maidstone, Kent.

Gibson (Cranleigh), Ltd., Cranleigh, Surrey.

Rev. Canon H. Rollo Meyer, Berkhamsted, Herts.

Orpington Nurseries Co., Ltd., Orpington, Kent.


Major Stern and one of his fine creations, Joanna, a rich dark purple.


A bed of Aline, one of the finest of the blues at home in its creator’s garden. Originated by Major Stern.

R. Wallace & Co., Ltd., Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

G. G. Whitelegg, Chiselhurst, Kent.

Among the newer English hybrids were a number by Mr. Pil- kington, Mr. and Mrs. Murrell, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Chadburn, and other breeders. The iris that interested me most was the bril¬ liant, clear, yellow Golden Hind, the like of which I have never had the pleasure of seeing elsewhere in England or in America. It seemed to have just the color that I have been striving to attain. The story of its creation is nicely related by the origina¬ tor, H. Chadburn, Esq., in The Iris Yearbook, 1936, pp. 53-54. According to this, Gold Imperial (Sturtevant, 1924) was fertilized with pollen of a £20 plant of W. R. Dykes, one of the first three introduced in 1926. From this cross, four seedlings arose, one of which was Golden Hind. Its creation is a notable achievement in the history of iris breeding. Whatever may be the outcome of this variety elsewhere, it is certainly a sensational iris in England in every garden it was good! Of the hundreds of crosses I have made on Gold Imperial and other yellows, I never got anything that approaches the quality and intensity of color of Golden Hind. It was the Dykes Medalist in 1934.

There were a number of American hybrids shown also; King Midas, Mount Royal, and Rialgar. Purissima and Alta California


appeared in two exhibits and California Gold and Tenaya were also represented.

Later visits to the gardens gave us a fair idea of the variety, quality, and culture of English creations alongside those from France and America. Of the many American introductions those of Miss Sturtevant were the best known and the most numerous. Also in high favor were those of Williamson, Farr, Shull, Ayers, Sass Brothers, Mead, Mohr, Mitchell, Morrison, Berry, Salbach, White, Kirkland, Loomis, Nichols, Andrews, McKee, Lothrop, and still others of equal note.

It seems to be a well accepted fact that iris varieties originating east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are hardy and their future is not debatable. Because of Iris mesopot arnica parentage in some of the early introductions it is supposed by some that all Cali¬ fornia hybrids are tender, which of course is due to a misunder¬ standing which is rapidly being corrected. However, in view of these opinions, I could not help paying particular attention to those irises that have been originated in California and whose history and progress I know so much better than those from any other geographical area.

The various English gardens visited are listed in the order of the inspection :

Cayeux’s Docteur Chobaut , an exquisite blue, in Major Stern’s



The seedlings and new varieties in Major Stern’s garden are in an exclusive section. The three tall flowers in the loach corner are those

of Sierra Blue .

Major F. C. Stern , High-down , Goring -By -Sea, Sussex. May 29, 1937.

A fine large estate with big manor-type gray stone house beau¬ tifully located on the hills overlooking the lowlands and the English Channel. The hills are composed of limestone and partly wooded. The garden has a southern exposure and pleasing varia¬ tions on slope and hollow. Irises were planted in small groups, in large beds along the hedges and walks, while the seedlings and novelties were in a secluded enclosure by themselves.

The crested iris, Iris tectorum was the best there that I have ever seen and many species of bulbous, beardless, and rare kinds were flowering freely in the bright, warm sunshine of Southern England.

Aline (Stern). A very fine clear Hoogiana-blue, and is cer¬ tainly one of the very best blues and one that I admired very much. It was good wherever we saw it. A. M., R. H. S. 1931.

Maisie Lowe, syn. Mrs. J. L. Gibson (Gibson). A large dark in¬ digo self and one of the finest dark blue varieties. Silver Medal, The Iris Society, 1928, and A. M., R. H. S. 1929.

Joanna (Stern, 1936). Was in full bloom and presented a very splendid display with its large flowers of “violet standards and


A close-up of Sierra Blue and Mary Isabel Essig in the garden of Major Stern.


pansy purple falls.” The stems were 4 feet and well branched. A. M., R. H. S. 1935 ; First Class Certificate, R. H. S. 1936.

Blenheim (Stern, 1930). Described “as a redder Depute Nom- blot.” Flowers large and of good substance and carried on 3 fool stalks. Silver Medal, The Iris Society, 1930.

The hybrids of Mohr, Mitchell, and Salbach were well repre¬ sented and all were doing very well. Among them were : El Capitan, Purissima, Los Angeles , San Francisco, For tuna, Frieda Mohr, Alta California, California Gold, Naranja, Neon, and Brunhilde.

A bed of Dr. Chobaut (Denis, 1930) was glorious. The superb pure flax-blue flowers were of splendid form and texture and I would place it among the very best of irises.

Golden Hind also made a brilliant showing.

Of my own introductions Easter Morn and Shining Waters were far below par, but Sierra Blue was true to form with 4-foot stalks and good flowers.

The Orpington Nurseries Company, Ltd., Orpington, Kent. May 29, 1937.

It was too early in the season to see more than a few of the very earliest varieties here. A completely new garden was estab¬ lished a year or two ago and the plantings are only now becom¬ ing well established. The place is large and offers unusual advan¬ tages for growing all species and varieties of irises. A pond at the back provides conditions for the water-loving plants and the gently sloping land insures the much needed drainage, still here, as elsewhere, the iris rows are on raised ridges. All of the plant¬ ings looked well and an abundance of stalks and buds indicated a great display in the near future. Mrs. Murrell greeted us in a most cordial and kindly manner and showed us over the entire garden.

May Sun (Murrell, 1935), regarded as one of their greatest triumphs: an early rich buttercup-yellow of good poise and sub¬ stance appeared to be blooming for our special benefit and was most charming on its 2:(4-foot stems amid the abundance of rich green foliage. It won a Silver Medal, The Iris Society in 1934 and was called “The iris of the year.”

Depute Nomblot (Cayeux, 1929) was specially fine here. It was awarded the Dykes Memorial Medal in 1930.


Mrs. P. Murrell in a section of the Orpington Nurseries. The irises were just beginning to bloom here on May 29th. May Sun (Mur¬ rell, 1935) shows two flowers in the center of the picture.

Mr. and Mrs. Murrell have had awards of Merit, R. H. S., on seven varieties ; The Pesel Challenge Bowl, 1934, for collections of 9 of their own hybrids; Certificates of Preliminary Commenda¬ tion, R. H. S., on 2 ; Silver Medals, The Iris Society on 12 ; Bronze Medal, T. I. S. on one, and Certificate of Merit, T. I. S. on 8 all of their own introductions.

Mrs. Benson, Walpole House, Chiswick Mall, Hammersmith, Lon¬ don. May 31, 1937.

A large and beautiful walled garden at the rear of a fine and spacious residence. The center of the garden was sunk some three feet below the general level of the ground. Her gardener was very skilled at growing irises and her large collection of splendid vari¬ eties and latest introductions were particularly well grown. All were at the peak of florescence and made a remarkable display. Since we were leaving London permanently that morning and had a luncheon engagement at Sevenoaks, there was no time to make a careful inspection of the multitudinous varieties. Mrs. Benson very kindly pointed out Sierra Blue, which was entirely satisfactory in every way and stood a foot above the surrounding masses; Modoc which was as good as I have ever seen it ; and Pale Moonlight and



A section of the iris garden of Mrs. Benson , Hammersmith , Lon¬ don, on May 31st. Finer irises are not to be seen anywhere. The tall flowers directly in front of the tree at the right are those of

Sierra Blue.

Prof. S. B. Mitchell (Cayeux, 1933), standing side by side, each with a fine flower just out. These last two look well together.

G. P. Baker, Hillside, OakhiU Road, Kippington, Sevenoaks, Kent.

May 31 1937.

It is worth a trip from California to Sevenoaks to lunch and visit with this great horticulturist and kindest of hosts and when one is entertained twice, as we were, there are no words to ade¬ quately express our delight and appreciation. His site, on a fine hill top, is characteristic of so many of the beautiful English estates in the rolling and wooded districts and commands a superb view. It is difficult for one from the West to comprehend the de¬ lights of raising trees, lawns, and gardens without irrigation as well as to realize the difficulties of overcoming too much rainfall during the winter and early spring months. Even on the slopes Mr. Baker had his irises planted on high ridges to insure adequate drainage. The plants all looked large and vigorous. A portion of his garden, given over to the California and French introductions, is protected by a winter shelter1 as shown in the illustrations. He

XG. P. Baker, Winter Shelter. The Iris Yearbook, 1936. p. 59, 2 figs.


Sierra Blue rises above the masses in Mrs. Benson’s gar¬ dens. All of the varieties were truly magnificent.


G. P. Baker inspecting some fine specimens of Purissima rising to the very top frames of the winter shelter at Seven-oaks , May 31st.

I 15 1

The winter shelter in Mr. G. P. Baker’s garden at Seven-oaks. (From The Iris Yearbook, 1936.)

has a large collection of species and hybrids from many parts of the world and is an iris breeder himself.

Especially significant was a series of varieties of Iris germanica taken from the wilds of Southern Europe and Western Asia. These showed much variation in habit, foliage, and blossoms.

Some of the varieties sent out by him are:

Sikh (1926). A very large and tall deep claret-red, the falls with paler borders. A. M., R. H. S. 1930.

Realm (1926). A large, late, tall, rich blue self with golden beard and splendid carriage. F. C. C., R. H. S.

Dariel (1927). A medium tall, much darker blue Gaudichau ,

There is also a lemon-yellow named G. P. Baker in his honor.

In the winter shelter, the top of which had been removed, were growing with usual vigor and freely flowering, the Mohr- Mitchell creations: Purissima, Los Angeles, Mirasol, and Rayo de Sol as fine as any I have ever seen.

In addition to irises this place was a veritable botanical garden and Mr. Baker has regularly won numbers of medals, prizes, and awards for outstanding and unusual horticultural specimens.


The winter shelter in Mr. G. P. Baker’s garden with the cover removed in May . (From The Iris Yearbook , 1936.)

Sir Mark and Lady , Collet , St. Clere , Kemsing, Kent. May 31, 1937.

After lunch, our good host, Mr. G. P. Baker, conducted us through a charming countryside to the magnificent Collet estate, St. Clere. Many American iris growers will remember Lady Collet as Miss Eldmann when she was associated with Miss Stur- tevant some years ago. We had again met Lady Collet at the home of her brother at Hawkwood, Chiselhurst, during “bluebell season” May 7th, and she arranged for this visit to see the many seedlings and other irises at St. Clere. The gardener, Mr. M. Nieholls, acted as our host and guide. The huge collection of seedlings, grown over a period of years, and occupying several acres were disposed in four different areas. Unfortunately they were just beginning to bloom. Many of them are choice and no doubt there are hundreds worthy of consideration for introduc¬ tion, but if I remember correctly none have been named or sent out thus far.

The Collets have a winter home and garden in Southern France and are now establishing still another in the Isle of Man, so that


A large plot of iris seedlings belong to Sir Mark and Lady Collet at St. Clere, K erasing, England. This field represents only a portion of their very extensive plantings.

they will have a long iris season beginning in France in April or May and ending in the Isle of Man in June and July!

In a protected plot and in a cold glass house were some choice novelties of irisdom. Among their own seedlings was the third progeny of William Mohr2 the result of crossing William Mohr with Souvenir Letitia Michaud. The offspring was in bloom. The flower was a large purple self, somewhat striped and attrac¬ tive and of good substance, and held up on a four-foot stalk. It bore an abundance of pollen, some of which Mr. Baker is testing in his own garden. We may hear from it in the near future. I would like to have had some of that pollen !

The Mohr-Mitchell introductions ; Santa Barbara, Purissima, Alta California, and Sunol, the only ones in bloom at the time, were satisfactory in every way.

R. E. S. Spender, Chetwold, Yetminster , Sherborne, Dorset. June 3, 1937.

Mr. Spender had kindly invited us to lunch with him on June 2nd, but a broken axle put our automobile out of commission and

2Tha other two are: Grace Mob? (Jory, 1935) and Mohrson (White, 1935), both originated in California. Since these there is still a fourth, Ormohr (Kleinsorge, 1937).


The home and portions of the garden of Miss L. Pesel, Winchester. The Winchester Cathedral is indistinct in the distance. The iris at the extreme right is Easter Morn.

held us up at Cheddar for two days and we had to cancel our trip and luncheon engagement. However, when we were finally ready to leave at 6 P. M. on June 3rd, we decided to drive down to Yetminster unannounced and see the garden anyway. We arrived there just at dusk and found that Mr. Spender had only shortly before left for Winchester. But his gardener very kindly and efficiently showed us the splendid new and modern house and the rapidly developed garden situated on a ridge overlooking the beautiful and peaceful country of Sherborne. We wanted to move in and stay there. There were a number of interesting new seedlings in bloom including some very dark and wonderful Si¬ berian irises. The bearded irises were just begining to flower and Mr. Spender has some good ones. Of my seedlings only one, Redglow , had a flower a rather strange thing in view of the fact that it is very late in my garden.

Miss L. Pesel, The White House, Colebrooh Street, Winchester.

June 4, 1937.

Under the very shadow of the magnificent Winchester Cathe¬ dral, Miss Pesel has developed a new home and a very beautiful garden. Her spacious grounds have been landscaped in English


Mr. R. E. S. Spender and Miss L. Pesel in the iris garden of the latter at Winchester, June 4th. Only a very small part of the ex¬ tensive plantings are shown. These two authorities are preparing a new hook on irises.

formal style with a large circular sunken area in the middle and with strips of lawn and walks leading to all parts and permitting intimate inspection of every variety. In this garden was one of the most complete and representative collections of outstanding irises that I have ever seen, all arranged according to knowledge of varieties and an expert skill in handling colors. As a parting memory this display gave complete satisfaction. It was at its best, practically every plant being in full bloom. To add to our pleasure, Mr. Spender was also awaiting us there and we all made round after round examining, comparing, and discussing varieties with understanding freedom, which unites all true gardeners as friends. All of her plants looked so well-grown and superior that it was difficult to pick out any individual failures. Irises from various parts of England, France, Canada, and the United States were growing equally well together. Here Santa Barbara, Padre, Frieda Mohr, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Rayo de Sol, and Monterey were growing in perfect harmony with Hr. Chohaut, Anne Marie Cayeux, Prof. S. B. Mitchell, Victor Hugo, and Bruno. King Tut, Coppersmith, Midgard, The Black Douglas, and Sass Pink were equal in every way to Helios, Evolution, Aline,

[ 20 ]

A corner of Miss Pesel’s iris garden showing Easter Morn in the

foreground .

Mrs . Valerie West, and Grace Sturtevant. Queen Caterina, Pink Jadu, Sierra Blue , Easter Morn, Pacific , True Charm, and Golden Flare were no less conspicuous and desirable than Mme. Durrand , Micheline Charm-ire , Depute Nomblot , Souv. de Loetitia Michaud, Romance, Sahara , and Magenta. Steepway, Jane Williamson , Peacemaker, and Festive were making equal show alongside Claude Aureau, Sikh, Tenebrae, Shot Silk, and Le Vardar. Every time I think of Miss Pesetas garden I long to return to England for iris season ! The visit with our charming hostess and Mr. Spender, joint authors of a new book on irises, was delightful indeed. A lunch such as English homes provide, another last inspection of the garden, thanks and farewells, and we were off to Southampton and America with a year of travel seasoned with the delight of the earth: “Spring in England”!



It is with some temerity that I enter upon the discussion of autumn blooming of bearded iris. I have found that condemna¬ tion of certain unlovely colors exposes one to the charge of nar¬ rowness or lack of catholicity of taste or perhaps to employment of unfair tactics. Needless to say these charges come from an occasional commercial grower or handler interested in the dis¬ tribution of varieties showing these objectionable colors. Now what I have to say about autumn blooming may lay me open to a similar charge from the same sources. It is not my desire to injure in any way the commercial grower or distributor’s inter¬ ests since they too must live if the Society is to prosper, but after all these same interests can be hurt very much more by pil¬ ing up an increasing percenetage of disappointed customers than by facing the truth, however unpalatable the latter may be.

Now in regard to autumn blooming, it may be doubted in all seriousness whether there is now or ever will be a dependable strain of bearded iris that will give autumn bloom throughout the iris growing sections of the United States and Canada. Just why does an iris of the tall bearded group ever bloom in the fall? What are the environmental requisites? Until the would-be iris breeder has answered these questions to his own satisfaction it would seem sheer waste of time and energy to enter upon that field. No doubt many fine things have been obtained in the past by merely reaching out into the dark and grasping something, but such blind grappling is a long drawn out and exceedingly Wasteful road to improvement.

Heredity may, and probably does after a fashion, have some¬ thing to do with fall blooming, but in all likelihood its influence is purely incidental and indirect. So far as I can see, the matter is almost wholly one of climate, and climate is very fickle, fairly dependable in some regions and quite the reverse in others.

With bearded iris apparently there must be a period of rest, induced by either drouth or cold, between the laying down of the blossom buds and their ultimate expansion into full blown flowers. For most of them, in regions where they do at all well, this rest period is brought about automatically by the interven¬ tion of winter. Perhaps this lack of winter pause is the chief


reason that most of our varieties can not be grown successfully in the extreme South, particularly those portions of the South that are not chronically drouth ridden at regular intervals.

To construct an accurate picture of what takes place in an iris preparatory to bloom it needs to be remembered that once a rhizome forms a bloom bud, there can be no turning back; either it must go forward and bloom as the result of further growth, or it must stagnate and blight.

The conditions then for autumn blooming are three, an early formed bud, a period of induced rest presumably caused by drouth, and then renewed vigorous growth, sufficiently in advance of winter to permit full development of the flower stalk. Wherever these conditions occur naturally, or wherever they can be brought about artificially, it will be possible to have autumn flowering of iris. Given the conditions set forth above almost any variety may throw autumn stems, but it should be remembered also that the stems that bloom in autumn will be just that much subtraction from the amount of spring bloom next following. Even a nor¬ mally late blooming variety like Morning Splendor, has on occa¬ sion been reported as an autumn bloomer, but in all its sixteen years of existence it has never, under the climatic conditions prevailing at Chevy Chase, Maryland, thrown a single autumn stem, nor has any other variety habitually done so.

I have had on rare occasions un-named things sent by Mr. Williamson throw a bloom stem in the fall, but I am sure that inherent earliness plus early drouth and succeeding abundant rains, were the only factors of real importance in these cases, and since we can not provide for climatic sequence through hered¬ ity, it follows that about the only favorable point that can be so influenced is the earliness of blossom bud formation, so that the plant may be able to function as an autumn bloomer just in case the required climatic sequence does turn up.

In view of the above we might lay down for the breeder the principle of working only with early bloomers when seeking fall blooming sorts, and in the same sentence issue a warning to the purchaser that if the required climatic conditions do not occur naturally and he is not prepared to produce them artificially, then he must expect little but disappointment from the acquisition of autumn blooming sorts.




Eddie Fanick San Antonio, Texas

These intructions are for those who wish to grow better iris in Southwest Texas, where some difficulties have been experienced in the past, due mainly to our climate which is very hot and dry in the summer and early autumn with mild winters, late freezes and plenty of warm days to induce early growth that is usually killed by these same late freezes. The long growing season pre¬ vents the required period of dormancy. This is a hard com¬ bination.

Three local growers, Mr. Allen, Mr. French and I tried differ¬ ent methods in growing iris to determine experimentally the best method for our local conditions. The following method has proven best ; has been tried and proven in my garden in the past ten years. I planted iris on top of the soil and deeply; dug them to force dormancy; cut them back for the same purpose; tried all forms of fertilizers, types of soils and planting locations.

Plant iris only in the autumn after the rains have cooled the atmosphere. Plant them with at least one-half inch of soil over the rhizome in well-drained locations. Iris planted with rhizomes uncovered will burn and dry up in the summer heat. The recom¬ mended depth protects them also from hard freezes in winter. No other cover is necessary. Rhizomes exposed will not set new growths or toes for next year’s increase.

Regular watering is necessary in dry periods and in spring. Withhold all watering in the autumn and winter. Iris must be forced to dormancy in our locality. To do this the old fans must be cut back after the first freeze to check premature growth caused by mild winter temperatures. Without this forced dor¬ mancy very few blossoms appear in the spring, all strength going into continuous growth and foliage.

Due to mild winters and warm days, it is necessary to keep the iris clumps free of old foliage at all times as this harbors our main pests, snails, sow-bugs and fungus. We have no iris-borer. Root-rot can be checked easily with dry powdered sulphur. Plants infected with the fungus should be dug and cleaned with


Semesan. Leaf-spot can be checked by dusting with powdered sulphur while the dew is on the foliage.

Never use manure, as this proves too hot in summer and the warmth in winter forces premature growth. Commercial fer¬ tilizers applied in early spring bring fine blossoms. Bone meal and cotton seed meal are very good when setting out new plants or transplanting. Some prefer to use ground limestone but that is not necessary. An application of wood ashes in the winter is beneficial.

Iris are sun-lovers as a rule, but in our bright and hot sunshine, partial shade is desirable. Blossoms will not fade so easily and will remain longer. Shade should be provided only from the afternoon sun.

With the proper culture iris multiply rapidly in our climate and must be thinned out every year or two. To do this without disturbing the clump and lessening next season’s blossoms, I rec¬ ommend that in late spring or early summer one should remove all old worn out rhizomes, especially those with the bloom stalks attached. This should be done only after the new rhizomes have become anchored and established. This also lessens the danger of root rot. When a clump becomes overcrowded, it is best to re¬ move the crowding rhizomes without disturbing the clump. This can be done easily with a knife. Refill the depression with new soil and you will always have iris at their best.

This program is for tall, bearded iris only and for gardeners in our area or in other areas with the same climatic conditions.



Carrie Stover Lewis, Chairman

The American Iris Society is going into Color Photography. The bug has infected the whole country. The directors have sanctioned it, and President Everett has appointed a Chairman, who is to choose a committee, from all over the country, to carry out the Project proposed by the New England Region, at the Annual Meeting in Wilmington, last May. Other regions have followed suit, and it is reported that some very fine slides were made last summer, and exhibited at the Directors’ meeting at Chicago in December, notably by Regional Vice-President Hall, of Chicago; Mrs. Whiting of Mapleton, Iowa; while Vice-President McKee showed some of the New England slides, which included a few of those taken in New England gardens by Mr. Kenneth D. Smith, of Staten Island.

It is hoped that all members of the Society who made 2" X 2" slides in color last summer, will send them in for inspection, to the Chairman, Mrs. Herman E. Lewis, 180 Grove Street, Haver¬ hill, Mass.

Within this Project there is another one, distinctly educational in its scope: P. G. C. We want these slides shown before every Garden Club in this broad land, so that their members may see the beautiful new irises, and learn to appreciate the beauties of the many older ones still worthy of a place in our gardens. It may seem to you that many of the gardeners do know the good irises; but stop and think how infinitesimal