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Hybridizer James Henry "Harry" Bickle (1886-1954)¹ and Lois Wilkie Moyes Bickle (1888-1952)²

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mrs Harry Bickle was part of the organizing group which created the Candian Iris Society (CIS-N v22 n1 p19) and later, between 1949 and 1952, she became AIS RVP for Region 16 (Canada). (Researched by Don McQueen)

Mrs. Bickle was a key figure both in the formation of the Canadian Iris Society and in its initial success. She, along with Mrs. Barlett and Mrs. Broddy, were a good share of the Toronto "push" received by Mr. Moffatt to get an iris organization underway. At the first meeting she was made the 1st Vice-President and also a member of the Membership Committee along with Miss Castle of Rowancroft Gardens. She was already wel l known throughout the country by virute of her position as Vice-President of the Garden Clubs of Canada. Through their drive, knowledge and connections, they, aided of course by the Publicity Committee and others, made the new Society an instant success . As Vice-President she travelled widely both in Canada and the United States, bringing to Canadian gardeners encouragement and news of the latest developments, kept her own garden up-to-date and invited visitations to it and took part in group visi s to other gardens, picnics, etc . Her reports in the American Iris Society Bulletins on happenings in Canada kept members informed on what was going on in Canada and supplied them with interesting details as to the characteristics and performance of a large number of new iris .

Interest in hybridizing and crossi g began before the formation of the Canadian Society . Her first introduction came in 1947 through Rowancroft Gardens. It was named 'Lavender'; it s parentage was 'Thais' x unknown, a somewhat similar cross to the famous 'Snow Flurry' which comes from 'Purissima' x 'Thais' . Like 'Snow Flurry' it is a tall grower, well branched on straight stiff stalks . It has a tendency toward ruffling it also tends to be slightly susceptible to winter rot though less than 'Snow Flurry'. In 1952 'Algiers' was registered and introduced in 1953 by Lloyd Zurbrigg. In that year it won the Seedling of the Year Award by the Canadian Society . In 1955 it won the President' s Cup at the AIS Convention held in Canada. It is a floriferous rose and brown blend.

Mrs. Bickle died in November 1952. Her death was deeply felt by the Canadian Iris Society. However she left a number of seedlings which were registered by her husband in 1954. These were all from the same cross, 'Pierre Menard' X 'Vanda', the latter being one of the earliest of Miles' blue originations. These iris were named 'Blue Bouquet', 'Blue Jester', 'Blue Scandal', 'Cool Water', 'Seaway', and 'Smooth Sailing'. All were blue selfs, from pale to medium. The writer (Muray Smith, CIS Historian) grows 'Cool Water'. It is rather short, a bit high branched, and a bit short on buds. It has, however, a good clear light blue colour. As has been noted Mrs. Bickle' s death was a great loss to the Canadian Iris Society . She had made a great contribution to it as well as to iris growers in Canada. (CIS newsletter, v26 n2)


Tall Bearded: 'Algiers' 1953, 'Blue Bouquet', 'Blue Jester', 'Blue Scandal', 'Cool Water', 'Lavender' 1944-45, 'Seaway', 'Smooth Sailing'.

¹Information taken from the MacLaughlin /Jardinw/Dunlop/Cushing Family Tree, "evansNV",

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r9 - 23 Apr 2024, BrewItt
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