Looking for historic iris

gotadunqhJune 11, 2009

I'm new to this forum and I'm looking for some historic iris. I live in Massachusetts, grew up on an apple and corn farm. My mother was an iris grower, we had HUGE gardens, and she was friends with Ed & Art Watkins, the Markhams, and Ken stone...to name a few of the iris breeders. The Watkins named an iris after her called Berna Derby, which was most likely developed in the mid-to-late 50's. I have a TON of Berna Derby iris, it appears you can't get it on the market anymore. Anyway, some of the names I remember from my childhood; Dotted Swiss, Chinese Lantern, Eleanors Pride and Ice Carnival I have found and will be ordering. Some of the other iris I have been unable to find are; War Paint, Johnny Reb (not the new one that is out there), Kiki, Black Swan, Triumvirate, Major Eff, Land's End. She had SO MANY I can't remember them all! Has anyone heard of these historic iris and where I might be able to find them?

Thanks!

Jennifer

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happyday(WI4a)

Can you go back to the old farm and see if they are still there?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 1:55PM
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gotadunqh

Thanks for the response Happyday! Unfortunately, all the iris at the farm are gone. We sold the farm many years ago and my mother retired to an island in Maine. She brought some iris with her, but she had SO MANY she didn't get them all. She passed away 10 years ago, the farm was turned into a self storage facility and the gardens are gone....

Jennifer

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 7:34AM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

I grow Berna Derby and it is a wonderful iris - such a different shade of blue-violet, and sure puts out the blooms each year. It is very rare.

Carlos at Brighton Park Irises keeps a spreadsheet of all the historic varieties that are commercially available. I'd look it over for names of varieties your mother might have grown. You can find it here: http://www.brightonparkiris.com/masterhistoriclist.xls

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 9:28PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

You should consider joining the Historic Iris Preservation Society (HIPS). It is only $10/yr.

This would give you a way to locate some of the iris your mother grew (though I've not seen many of those on your list) as well as a way to distribute your 'Berna Derby' so that it does not get lost over time. HIPS hosts an annual fund raiser sale where members donate iris they have excess of and others buy them for a modest price. They also have a 'preservationist' who helps to distribute iris from 'rescued' gardens, etc. They also help members ID iris that have lost their names. I've found it an invaluable resource.

Carlos, mentioned above, updates his list of historic iris by suppliers annually. Unfortunately more & more historic iris are lost from commerce as time rolls by.

Here is a link that might be useful: HIPS

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:31AM
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gotadunqh

Garden of MU...that is awesome you have some Berna Derby!!! I'm so excited someone else has some! And you are right about it being rare...where did you find yours? The blooms are huge and it's so fragrant.

Thanks Berry, I will definitely join the HIPS. Since posting my first message, I have remembered more iris names. I'm making two more iris beds this summer of which will be dedicated to historic iris.

Jennifer

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 8:41AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

I have Crimson King, historic/reblooming iris. Have plenty to share!

Peggy

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:12AM
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gotadunqh

Hi Peg....hey thanks for the offer. Maybe we can do a swap! I'll swap you a Berna Derby for a Crimson King!

Jennifer

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 4:55PM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

Hi Jennifer- My start came from a historic iris collector in CA that loves odd shades of blue and prizes the unusual in those color tones. BD fits the bill perfectly. Almost impossible to capture the true color on digital. It's been a knockout for the last few years in my garden.

Mike

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:52PM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

Do you have a photo of Berna Derby?

I'm always looking for anything blue.

Peggy

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 7:13PM
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gotadunqh

Yes, it is a different blue and hard to capture on camera. The Watkins who developed BD, were really into white iris and different shades of blue. I'm not sure on how to post a pic on here.

jennifer

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 6:34AM
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garden_of_mu(Z7/8 PNW)

I'll add a shot of Berna D to the gallery page.

Mike

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:57PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

It is a stunner. What a bright color.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:13PM
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gotadunqh

Thanks for putting the Berna Derby pic in the gallery Mike!

Jennifer

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 8:25AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

I would love to trade my Crimson King iris for your Berna Derby...unfortunately, your email addy is not available. If you will contact me, we can set up a trade for next week.

Peggy

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 3:16PM
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burwoodbelle(6-7)

Jennifer. I have Helen collinwood and Indian chief I will trade for your Berna Derby and any other of yours.Send me an E-mail.
Pat

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 6:22PM
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esofva(7b VA)

I have a number of historic irises that I will be trading.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 12:40PM
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westy1941(Boulder County, CO)

Mike - I looked on the gallery page for your shot of Berna Derby and I don't go there much so I'm not familiar with how to find your pic. Can you enlighten me or else post here? I am nuts over blues and would trade.

Westy

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 2:13AM
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wuzzuplarry-2

FO WHAT IT'S WORTH i'M A PAST PRESIDENT OF HIPS IT'S YOUR BEST BET FOR GETTING HISTORICS I GAVE ALL MINE AWAY LET ME KNOW HOW YOU MAKE OUT. PLEASE

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 5:25PM
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wuzzuplarry-2
    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 4:36PM
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jaynine

i have quaker lady and wabash if you're interested. would love to try your berna derby.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 7:55PM
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