See Show Calender


■(TB) 'Golden Spike'

1940, Whiting

'Golden Spike' (Mrs. C. Whiting, R. 1939). Seedling# 3915. TB. Midseason bloom. Color Class Y4D. 'HappyDays' x 'Matula'. Fragrant. Honorable Mention 1940; Award of Merit 1942. Whiting 1940.

NOTE: 1949 Checklist, p.116 - Adds introduction date, awards, citations.

See below:
Golden Spike fro Millikins.jpg


From Maple Valley Gardens catalog, 1940: GOLDEN SPIKE (Whiting 1940) M. 36 in. A deep golden yellow self of large, full form, heavy substance and good branching. We know that there are a great many fine, new yellow irises and we would not bring this out if we did not feel that it is worthy of a place among them. The color is deep, warm and pure, very close to the lemon chrome of Ridgeway. Dictionary of Color has a sample called dandelion which is very close, and more descriptive to those who have no chart, for this new iris is really a deep, pure yellow, as deep as can be had without a touch of orange. The flower is a perfect self with smooth, wide hafts and thick, orange beards. The substance is exceptionally heavy--each bloom lasting several days in sun and wind, holding its pure color and full, rounded form well to the last. Only two or three flowers bloom at a time so that each well branched and budded stalk has a long blooming season. The name is symbolic rather than entirely descriptive as it certainly is not a spike, with its wide, low branching. More than seventy years ago a ‘golden spike’ was driven with great ceremony to complete the Union Pacific Railway, uniting the east with the west and we midwesterners, in and around Omaha, celebrate Golden Spike Days each year with fun and frolic, sunbonnets and beards. The plants are very hardy, vigorous and free blooming, one rhizome giving three bloom stalks and six fine plants in our garden, others blooming and increasing well. $25.00.

"In 1935 Mr. Hans Sass divided a new seedling with us which we used more than any other single iris to the extent that it became the backbone of our breeding efforts. This iris was later named Matula. Crossed with Happy Days it gave us our first named iris, Golden Spike, which was introduced in 1940." “Agnes Whiting Awarded AIS Medal for Hybridizing” The Bulletin of the American Iris Society, No. 109, (April 1948): 24.]

In her 1940 Maple Valley Gardens catalog, Agnes Whiting explained how the Sasses helped her decide to introduce it:

A very deep yellow seedling seemed to impress Henry most as he piloted his father, Mr. Jacob over to see the ‘break’ as he called it, which has since been named Golden Spike. Jacob said it ‘wasn’t bad’ and later asked if he might take a bud home to compare with one of his next day, adding slyly that he 'might use the pollen’. It made us very happy to see how interested and pleased they were with our seedlings - it was as if they had been their own. And in a way they are for we have been gratefully learning all we could from them for years and we have used their originations very freely in our breeding because they have the qualities we want - hardiness, beauty and pure lineage. And so before they left we checked and numbered a few over a hundred to watch another year. But Mr. Jacob said. “You won’t need to watch that deep yellow another year. it's ready to go now." A few days later Dr. and Mrs. Everett were here and he said. “I‘ll go further than Jake – I’ll say it must be introduced." And so, with the suggestion of many Omaha friends and our own memory of Golden Spike Days there, Golden Spike it is and we are proud of it.

Citations: A.I.S. Bulletin 78:4(July 1940); A.I.S. Bulletin 83:25(Oct 1941) with illustration.
GOLDEN SPIKE (Whiting 1940) A deep golden yellow self of large full form, heavy substance and excellent branching. This iris is well worthy of a place among the best yellows. The flower is a deep lemon chrome (dandelion yellow) self with wide hafts and thick orange beard. Only two or three flowers open at one time on each stalk, thus giving perfect spacing and long season of bloom. H. M., A. I. S. 1940. Per. R. 90 1941. 36 in. $15.00. [Mrs. Thomas Nesmith, Fairmount Gardens Catalog, Lowell, Massachusetts, A Selected List of Tall Bearded Iris. Summer 1942-Spring 1943].
From the 1948 Spring Milliken Gardens catalog (PDF) description on page 11 (see page 16 for a colored photo of 'Golden Spike'): A splendid clear slightly wavy deep yellow with a conspicuous thick orange-yellow beard. A very popular variety. 3 feet. See illustration. page 16

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Topic revision: r17 - 19 Aug 2022, EdenSprings
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