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Development of Pink Tall-Bearded Irises (under construction)

From the "The World of Irises" Chapter 4 by Melba B Hamblen and Keith Keppel. © 1978 AIS



Before the advent of the tangerine factor, the pinks of the iris garden were pinkish orchids such as 'Pink Opal', 'Pink Satin', and 'Dogrose'-diploids of predominantly I. pallida ancestry. In an attempt to bring this color into the tetraploids, Cook worked a line involving orchid pink diploids crossed with tetraploids such as 'Dominion' and 'Morning Splendor'. He later added the Sass pinkish blend 'Rameses'. His work resulted in 'Dreamcastle' and 'Harriet Thoreau', siblings introduced in 1943 and 1944 respectively. These two Cook varieties were blended by the Schreiners into their own seedling lines, and a superb series of orchids began to emerge. 'Pink Plume', 'Crispette', and 'Lavanesque' were three of the earliest. The Dykes Medal winner, 'Amethyst Flame', is from 'Crispette', 'Lavanesque', and Agnes Whiting's rose blend, 'Pathfinder'. The heavily laced 'Grand Waltz' is a later product of the Schreiner line. Gaulter used 'Lavanesque' and 'Pathfinder' to create 'Mademoiselle', a lavender-rose blend with touches of brown on the haft. This iris was the beginning of a long series of rose to violet to amber blends, many with the parental trademark of deeper colored hafts. The rosy lilac 'Laurie' is one of this series.

In 1955 Schortman introduced 'Patience', a strong rosy magenta self from 'Snow Flurry' and the rose blend 'Inspiration'. An excellent and unusual garden color, it is in effect a deep and rosy "pallida pink". We are in need of a modem version of this iris.



When tangerine pink irises became commercially available in the 1940s, the pinkish orchids were relegated to a minor role. However, in subsequent years many attempts were made to transfer the reddish beards of the new pinks onto flowers of blue, and many fine red-bearded violets appeared.

In Utah, Melba Hamblen was crossing pinks with blues. One such combination of ‘Radiation’ and ‘Helen McGregor’, when added to the amber-ivory-apricot ‘Palomino’, gave ‘Enchanted Violet’, a tangerine-bearded orchid violet flushed with pink which was introduced in 1958. Fourteen years and several generations of seedlings later came ‘Tipperary’, probably the closest to a red-bearded blue in its time.

‘Radiation’ (1948) Radiation ‘Helen McGregor’ (1943) Helen McGregor ‘Palomino’ (1943) Palomino ‘Enchanted Violet’ (1943) Enchanted Violet

In 1956 the Sasses introduced a small-flowered tall orchid lavender with red beard as ‘My Happiness’. Tompkins's ‘Berta B.’ and ‘Emissary’, and Luella Noyd's ‘Kick Off’ are derivatives of this variety. However, progress has been uncommonly slow [As of 1979] in the quest for red-bearded blues, and much work needs to be done to increase the clarity and depth of color, both of the petals and of the beards.

‘My Happiness’ (1956) My Happiness ‘Emissary’ (1969) Emissary ‘Kick Off’ (1968) Kick Off

 Orville Fay combined pinks and whites in the search for red-bearded whites. From similar lines came ‘Rippling Waters’, a lacy blue orchid with tangerine beards, from the white ‘New Snow’, diploid lavender pallida lines, and many generations of pinks, both named and unnamed. One of the most prolific of parents, ‘Rippling Waters’ has many descendants in the orchid to violet range. Noteworthy among them are ‘San Leandro’, ‘Lilac Treat’, ‘Fond Wish’, ‘Ramona S.’, and ‘Gateway’, all with reddish to tangerine beards, and ‘Paris Opera’, without such a beard. Fay's blue-orchid line also included the more solidly constructed ‘Morning Breeze’, itself a good breeder having produced ‘Orchid Frost’ and ‘Orchid Flash’. Closely related is Blocher's red-bearded violet, ‘Marquesan Skies’. Many other good orchid-toned irises have come from tangerine breeding. Rudolph's blended rosy ‘Orchid Brocade’, Jones's pastel grayed mauve pink ‘Elizabeth Stuart’, Bob Brown's strong rosy violet ‘Caro Nome’, and Hamblen's ‘Country Lilac’ are but a few. They come in a wondrous range of color variations.

====================================================================================================== The World Of Irises continues with Violet, Rose And Red Blends ====================================================================================================== ----

Galleries of Pink Irises

For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at

-- BobPries - 2015-10-15
Topic revision: r11 - 14 Jan 2016, BobPries
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