Old and very curious, this is often said to be the first of the ‘broken colour’ iris. In a basic ‘variegata’ pattern with reddish falls and yellow standards, it is similar to ‘Gracchus’ that I mentioned a few days ago. Although registered as a TB it is now considered an intermediate iris because of its height and flower size. It was introduced by the German Goos & Koenemann in 1909. The curious thing about the flowers is that the patterning of the falls is often, but not always, imprinted on the standards, almost as though the colour was impressed on them when in bud. In addition, the standards are rather floppy so it often looks as though it is a flat top iris. Altogether it is a very odd flower but it has survived remarkably well for an historic iris and it is locally common in gardens, passed from gardener to gardener because it flowers well and grows like a weed.
The bloom may be modest but it was obviously considered very beautiful when first introduced because it is named after a ‘siren’ who lured sailors to their death.
Lore Ley was spurned by her lover and decided that life was not worth living. To prevent her taking her own life the local bishop sent her to a convent, but along the way they passed a cliff, beside the River Rhine, from which she could take a last look at her home and her lover. While taking her last look she jumped into the river and drowned but, from that moment, according to legend, she could be seen reclining on the cliff, combing her long, golden hair. Passing fishermen were so bewitched by her beauty that they were distracted from their work and became shipwrecked on the rocks and rapids. Perhaps this was her revenge for unrequited love.
‘La Part des Anges’
From sirens to angels. This beauty from French Michele Bersillon was introduced in 2010 and is a real cool beauty in softest baby blue with a hint of red at the tips of the beards.
A Keith Keppel introduction from 1995, this is not really black, though it is a good, deep purple. The standards are often paler tan the falls though this does not show from my photo. Those fiery beards really add to the richness of the blooms. It won many awards and is still popular.
This is another smooth, ruffled, sophisticated bloom from Paul Black and introduced in 2000. A breathtaking pink that always looks beautiful.
‘Loop the Loop’
A nice Schreiners plicata from 1975 so almost an historic iris by today’s standards but still a nice flower. Bred from their own ‘Stepping Out’. I guess that the name was derived from the relatively rounded falls and the fact that the standards almost repeat the pattern of the falls and have a good white centre. If you look at the old plicata ‘San Francisco’ below you can see what I mean.