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Visit to M. F. Denis

Balaruc-les-Bains, Herault, France (May 19-20, 1919)

Leaving Paris at 8:00 p. m. Sunday, May 18th, I changed cars at Avignon at 8:00 Monday morning, and proceeded via Nimes and Montpellier to Cette, arriving at 11:40. There I was met by M. Denis’s automobile and driven to his house in Balaruc-les-Bains about six miles distance. His place is near the top of a hill overlooking the bay, the city of Cette and the mountain Cette, and the Mediterranean beyond. The view is wonderful though much broken up by trees, of which M. Denis is very fond; indeed he prefers to sacrifice his view rather than his trees.

M. Denis’s place is small, probably not more than four or five acres in all, and is cut into many small gardens at different levels. There is one small greenhouse devoted to orchids, and there are many orchids being grown in the gardens and in the grass, also many roses and other flowers.

I found [...]

Visits to European Gardens

by John C. Wister


John C. Wister

War: World War I, 1914-1920
Branch: Army
Unit: US Advance Ordnance Depot 4, Jonchery
Service Location: Augusta Arsenal Training School; Jonchery (Haute Marne), France
Rank: First Sergeant
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, PA

It was my good fortune last spring to be able to secure my discharge from the Army in France and to travel for five weeks through France and England visiting gardens and nurseries. An account of my visits to Dessert and Lemoine to see Tree Peonies has already been given in an earlier issue of this bulletin, but I timed my trip especially to see Irises, and I followed their blooming season north, beginning with the Mediterranean coast on May 19th [1919] and seeing my last irises at Kew on June 19th, the day before I sailed for home.

In the following papers I have described [...]

US iris thru NZ eyes, by jean stevens

You know who them are familiar with the pleasure an iris flower gives you when yo look at the balance of its flowering lines. Surely no flower eclipses or improves on the sheer artistry of its form. But then add to beauty of line color ranging from brilliant to delicate, strong to pastel to pure, endow this paragon with ease of culture, and you have a flower that is bound to have a thunderous following. There is still another trait which adds to its charm, and that is the fact that the veriest amateur can succeed in developing newer, lovelier varieties. With iris the process is not complicated.

I began raising iris in New Zealand 30 years ago when the finest in the world came from English and French breeders. Their products started my breeding lines. My first success was Destiny, a [...]

numa roumestanIt was the late 1920’s. hybridizers efforts to chart the course of bearded iris development were being rewarded with gratifying results. It should come as no surprise that Mrs. Douglas Pattison, a prominent iris grower and judge, declared that 1929 “should be noted as a very famous year in iris history.” In that year three very beautiful reds, real reds in color, each remarkably fine in height, substance, poise, and branching quality were introduced to the public. Of these, two were American: Dauntless (Connell 1929), and Indian Chief (Ayres 1929) and one was French, Numa Roumestan (Cayeux 1928). “Prior to that date”, Mrs. Pattison continues, “there was hardly a red iris worthy of the name.” It did not take the AIS long to recognize the beauty of one. Dauntless was awarded the Dykes memorial Medal by the American iris Society in 1929, the very year of its introduction.


The Story of Presby

- by Laetitia Munro, NJ

Montclair NJ was one of the first suburban ‘bedroom communities’ of NYC, just 13 miles away. By the early 20th century it had become a hub of arts, culture, and exemplary architecture. When some citizens wanted the town to buy the last large piece of vacant land, the edict from the Mayor was: ‘bring us 5,000 signatures of residents and then we will buy’. And Mrs. Barbara Walther, who lived next door to the land, collected 5,000 signatures. The new park was christened Mountainside Park.

frank h presby Frank Presby was a highly regarded and beloved member of the Montclair community. Not only was Mr. Presby a successful businessman, and a community leader, but he was also an avid amateur gardener who was one of the first to advocate for the formation of the American Iris Society. His sudden death from a bout of ‘acute indigestion’ in 1924 was [...]

What is that White Iris?

by Will Plotner

Or what is the difference between I. albicans, I. florentina, and I. germanica ‘Alba’? This is a question that has come to me several times over the last few years and has produced a lot of visual surveying of these plants on my part. It has been the topic of many discussions and it has tended to be a problem for gardeners to tell the difference between them and to identify a particular clone in the garden. I hope this small treatise will help in that endeavor.

i. albicans

I. albicans is really an intermediate bearded species (IB) standing from 12 to 24 inches in height. It is found throughout the Mediterranean but considered to have originated in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It is sometimes noted that the falls are slightly pointed and often have a notch at the point of the standards and falls. Branches are [...]

Official White List
By vote of the Directors, January 29, 1925, the publication of a White List of Recommended Varieties of Tall Bearded Irises and a Black List of varieties marked for discard was authorized.

The White List is composed of good varieties that are reliable, fairly generally listed at a reasonable price, fully representative of the inherent color classes, and worthy of increased popularity. In no sense is the list to be considered a “Best List” with the coollary that anything not included is unworthy. It is simply a Selected List of varieties to which, from time to time, will be added varieties at present too new or too expensive for inclusion. The beginner should be guided in his purchases by the White List, the non-specialist grower should list only varieties selected therefrom.



Official Black List
By vote of the directors, January 29, 1925, the following varieties of Tall Bearded [...]

W.R. Dykes Found at Presby

by Phil Edinger, CA

It was the perfect opportunity. With the AIS convention in western Pennsylvania, with the irises there virtually at peak bloom, why not tag on a trip to the Presby Memorial Gardens in nearby New Jersey? Established in the 1930s, this public garden once contained the most comprehensive collection of historic irises in North America, the collection building by yearly acquisitions from the garden’s inception.

The anticipated horde of HIPSters to make the Presby pilgrimage attenuated to a scant handful of the intrepidly curious. Two of the group had visited the garden in the past, and from as long ago as 1970 could attest that Presby suffered from typical “public garden syndrome”: the “personpower” – and all of it volunteer help – needed for maintaining the collection always fell short of the number needed to keep the entire collection in top shape. The irises, closely planted in blocks of varieties in wide, curving beds, would easily [...]

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