Among my favourite iris of all are those created by Paul Black and Tom Johnson. In general, their creations have a grace, robustness, and vigour combined with great beauty that makes anything they introduced a dead cert in the garden. ‘Modern Woman’ ( Tom Johnson 2005) is one of the best, for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, I love the colouring – very feminine. But this woman is also strong. I would say that, among the 70 or so planted 18 months ago here, this one has made the best clump (apart from ‘Provencal – see earlier post) and now has two, statuesque stems with perfectly placed blooms.
The flowers look slightly dowdy when they first open, and rather small compared to the tall (110cm) stems. But by the second day they are fully expanded and the slight beige cast disappears from the falls leaving a delightfully ruffled flower of orchid pink (in other words lilac) with a paler patch in the centre of the fall. The bright beards contrast nicely.
Both parents, pink ‘Fallen Angel’ and blue ‘Fogbound’ have darker standards than falls and this is where ‘Modern Woman’ got her looks. The flowers have a moderate, sweet scent.