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Is this new iris good enough?

Iris,sibirica,new,blue. Image ©John Grimshaw
Over on my Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog, I’ve just posted about a new two-tone, bright yellow form of Iris sibirica. Called ‘Scramble’, it’s introduced in Britain for the new season by Cotswold Garden Flowers. It’s really lovely, well worth taking a look.

‘Scramble’ was selected by John Grimshaw, one of  Britain’s foremost plantspeople with interests in a wide diversity of plants including snowdrops, trees and kniphofias as well as irises.

And he has another, as yet unnamed, form of Iris sibirica he thinks is very promising, and I do too. At the moment it’s just known informally as “pastel blue” (above, click to enlarge).

This is what John told to me about it: “There is a gorgeous pastelly blue one as well that I think is outstanding for floriferousness, longevity of flowering and charming colouring, though the flowers are not large: it is fertile & the pods are held on very stiff stems all winter - one of the few perennials I can bear to leave uncut. I doubt the Iris aficionados would like it but I think it’s an excellent garden plant. I've selected a few others, including one with peachy flowers, because I like them, but they're probably not worth distributing - "pastel blue" is.”

So do you think this new blue iris is worth passing on to a nursery for them to introduce? Looks good to me, I love the broad falls with the intricate patterning. And what about the peachy one John mentions? That sounds tempting too.

Be sure to check out John Grimshaw’s blog as well as the site for his snowdrop garden at Colesbourne Park.

Thanks to John Grimshaw for the image.


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Graham Spencer

I think this is better than Scramble. If the picture of Scramble is representative, the flowers are held amongst the leaves, not above them. I'm not nit-picking (and you know my background in Irises). The problem with plants that have flowers amongst the leaves is that it reduces the overall colour impact, particularly when viewed from a distance.

This one holds the flowers up, so that's good. This style of flower is quite traditional and "cottagey" although the petals look nice and large and a bit ruffled. So, if it was me, I'd name it and introduce it.

Can we encourage John to register these two with the British Iris Society? That's assuming he doesn't do that already. It's a simple process and means that a description is recorded for posterity and the name is checked against 60-odd thousand other names that have already been used (saves a lot of confusion!).

Graham Rice

Well, Graham, what John says on his blog about the flowers and foliage of 'Scramble' is: "Although they are overtopped by a few leaves this is not a significant problem and a clump in full flower is a fine sight."

I'm sure that when he can tear himself away from his snowdrops he'll respond here.

Chuck Stein

This iris is so gorgeous, I love the way the color changes from yellow to purple and those streaks in the petals. But if no nurseries list it it then how much do you want for all the plants you have? Go on, tell me. I have a few bucks rotting in some old internet stock that went nowhere but down the tubes. I'll buy them all.

John Grimshaw

I think that what impresses me about 'Scramble' is that despite its comparatively short flowering stems it makes a mass of flowers, through which only a few sparse leaves emerge: the foliage develops later (and then remains quite neat). Ideally, of course, all the flowers would be above all the foliage, but this is a striking plant regardless.

I will take steps to register both with BIS.

More of my iris selections can be seen on my blog post for June 12 2010

John Grimshaw

Graham Rice

Thanks John. "peachy" and "frilly pink", which you show on your blog post, also look impressive even if they are less vigorous.

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