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The Mysterious Dr. Moody

dr. moody

© Superstition Iris Gardens [Note: Superstition is no longer carrying Dr. Moody]

For many years, Mr. Owings Rebert of Westminster, Maryland has grown a very striking iris given to him as “Dr. Moody”. The hybridizer is unknown and there is no registration information for an iris by this name. The iris is most attractive with soft copper-colored standards and brilliant magenta falls rimmed in the same color as the standards. It is similar to Lady Albright, a 1951 introduction from Tell Muhlstein, and to a more modern version, Syncopation, introduced in 1984 by Joe Gatty.

In the introduction to his 1956 catalog, Muhlestein mentions going on a trip to Colorado with Dr. Durrance, Roy Rogers and DR. MOODY. Could this be the Dr. Moody for whom this iris was named? The timing is right as the iris probably dates from this era. Who was Dr. Moody, and more important still, who hybridized this iris and named it in his honor but never registered it? Was it someone in the little circle of hybridizers who revolved around ‘Uncle Tell’?

Philip Edinger has made a very pertinent observation: he cannot believe that such a strikingly colorful iris as ‘Dr. Moody’ never got into wide circulation and was never registered or introduced. [If this is the case, what might its registered name be?]

I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who can throw some light on these questions.
-Cameron Hall, Va

Dr. Moody Mystery Solved!

When I wrote the article about “The Mysterious Dr. Moody”, I really did not expect to get any response to it. It was therefore with considerable surprise, and even more pleasure, that I received a note from Catherine Long Gates of Long’s Gardens in Colorado. She had recognized the name and sent me Long’s 1960 catalog which featured Dr. Moody, bless his heart, on the cover. The same catalog introduced Nina, a very rare iris, all but forgotten today. Neither of these irises has been registered.

Below is Catherine’s letter and the introduction information for both Dr. Moody and Nina. It really is a small world, and people like Catherine make it a very nice one.
-Cameron Hall

Dear Cameron,
Your article, “The Mysterious Dr. Moody”, in the Fall 2000 issue of ROOTS really jumped out at me. I knew that our firm had introduced the iris Dr. Moody when I was a kid.

I’m enclosing a copy of our 1960 catalog which you are welcome to keep or pass along to someone else. You will see that Dr. Moody is a child of Lady Albright so you were right on target about that. I’m afraid I can’t tell you much about the human Dr. Moody. He was a friend of Jack Durrance’s, so again, you were correct in your detective work about the connection between Tell Muhlstein, Jack Durrance, Roy Rogers, and Wayne Moody. Most of the folks from that era are no longer with us or, in Jack’s case, are no longer able to relate the history.

I’m sending a copy of the 1960 catalog to Keith Keppel so that we can hopefully get this iris registered. My family are great procrastinators, but 41 yeats is carrying things a bit far even for us. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’m delighted to think that the iris is still being grown.

DR.MOODY (Moody, 1960) EM 36″ (Duet x Lady Albright) Bearing a striking resemblance to its pollen parent, Lady Albright, this bright medley of riotous color stands out as the iris bloom gets under way. The falls are a rich rosy deep lavender bordered by the coppery hue of the standards. The border is much more pronounced than in Lady Albright. Originated by and named for Dr. R. Wayne Moody, whose untimely demise has lessened our ranks of Colorado hybridizers……………………..$20.00

NINA (Winegar, 1960) EML 34″ (Parentage unknown) To perpetuate the memory of Mrs. Nina Winegar, founding spirit and first president of our Colorado Iris Society — AIS Region 20 — this plant has been chosen from the many fine seedlings she developed. Sturdy, well-branched stems support the blocky deep blue flowers. Deep Dauphine violet according to the color chart, the color is strong and pleasing. Attracted much favorable comment when shown last year at the annual AIS meeting in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. HC ’59……$20.00

[Originally printed in Vol. 13 Issue 1, Fall 2000 issues of ROOTS, with the follow-up printed in the Spring 2001 issue.]
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