Iris A-Z; B

If you have stumbled upon this page please visit the first in the series for an explanation or what is going on!

‘Baboon Bottom’

Second day and I am already breaking my own rules. This is not a Tall Bearded Iris but a Border Bearded Iris. I thought I would get away with not wallowing around in technical stuff and I will still fight it so I will just say that Border Bearded iris flower at the same time as TBs but are shorter. I will say no more till I have to!

Anyway, Iris Baboon Bottom’ is a lot more attractive than its namesake and carries all the hallmarks of its raiser Brad Kasperek. He and wife Kathie specialised in streaked iris and introduced them through his Zebra Nurseries, Utah. Most of these have ‘African’ and amusing names – such as ‘Bewilderbeast’, ‘Gnus Flash’, ‘Kinkajou Schrew’ and ‘Toucan Tango’.

Like all its kind, ‘Baboon Bottom’ has flowers that are never quite the same, but all are rose pink wildly streaked with white. The flowers are lightly laced – lacing is where the petal edges are crinkled; I think it looks like a plastic bag that my cat has been chewing. ‘Baboon Bottom’ was introduced in 1993.


‘B’ could have been for ‘broken iris’ as here we have another, this time from Allan Ensminger, Nebraska. This is also another Border Bearded, so shorter than most. Introduced in 1985 it won the Knowlton Medal, the highest award for a Border Bearded iris, in 1992. The flowers are not huge, but perfectly in proportion to the plant and it remains very popular.


Here we have a very classy Paul Black iris from 2003: mauve pink suffused with cameo pink and all a smooth, lacy swirl of sumptuous colour.

Belgian Princess

It is impossible to choose a favourite iris but ‘Belgian Princess’ is a strong contender. Bred by Thomas Johnson of MidAmerica gardens, it is all lavender and white with darker coloured standards. Sumptuous but not overly fussy and fragrant too – simply lovely.

Beverly Sills

This pink beauty is one of the most famous of all iris and is named after the American Soprano. It was bred by the prolific Ben Hager from California and introduced in 1978. In 1985 it received the American Dykes Medal. The flowers are bright, flamingo pink and would be a good reason for the popularity of this iris but ‘Beverly Sills’ has another trick up its sleeve. It is extremely vigorous and remontant (reblooming in the USA). Some iris do not stick to the usual two seasons of growth every year and don’t take the midsummer rest that their Mediterranean origins instilled into them. So they continue to produce flower stems into autumn. A lot of iris that are remontant in warmer climates do not manage to produce here or, if they do, the stems are so late that they can’t develop before destroyed by frost. But ‘Beverly Sills’ is famed for being reliable and, despite its age, it remains very popular.

Black Tie Affair

There are hundreds of black iris. Of course they are not really black and, when backlit, are rich blackcurrant. But in the right light, and with the velvety texture of the petals, they are as close as I would want to black in a flower. ‘Black Tie Affair’ is a good representation of the clan, from Schreiners in 1993 and given an Award of Merit in 1997.

Brown Lasso

Iris flowers with too many colours can look a bit messy to me but I love the combination of colours in ‘Brown Lasso’. This is another Border Bearded and was bred by Eugene Buckles (who died in 1969) and was introduced in 1975. It gained a string of awards, ultimately achieving the American Dykes Medal in 1981. Well deserved, I think. The flowers are usually washed with deeper violet on the falls than my photo shows.

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One Comment on “Iris A-Z; B”

  1. Paddy Tobin
    January 30, 2022 at 8:09 pm #

    A lovely selection

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