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Hunting a historical blue flag iris

Posted by marianne1625 CT Z 6 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 18:28

Some time about 1632 Mary Willemsen Gardiner, wife of Lion Gardiner, wrote home to Holland "The blue flags that we brought with us are doing nicely in our kitchen garden." The kitchen garden, with a large bed of blue flags , was perpetuated by the proprietors of Gardiner's Island for centuries. In 1952 Starr Gardiner Cooper wrote the following:" In 1912 my father (G. Duane Cooper) , my uncle A.Gardiner Cooper and I visited Gardiner's Island. Lion Gardiner welcomed us cordially. When we were leaving, he asked if I would like a piece of the island for myself. He said he had in mind something living since the islands earliest days, and he himself dug a clump of blue flags and told me their history.
I divided the clump between our yard at Shelton Island Heights and the Cooper-Gardiner plot in the Sag Harbor Cemetery, where they bloomed again last spring, 1952. My clump at Shelton Island has flourished and multiplied so that I have given clumps from it to Sylvestor Manor on Shelton Island, to Miss Sarah Gardiner in East Hampton, and the President's House at Yale.
The iris, when received, was planted and allowed to flower. It is quite unlike any modern variety and quite resembles ancient drawings and paintings of blue flags."
The original kitchen garden was destroyed by a later owner of the island.

I wpould love to find a descendent of this iris for our historical garden in Old Saybrook CT.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hunting a historical blue flag iris

Any pictures?


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RE: Hunting a historical blue flag iris

Sorry, no photos available. Are there any gardeners or historians who live near the places mentioned by Starr Gardiner Cooper in her letter who would go take a look or research possible remnants of the blue flags? I wrote to the President's House at Yale a few years ago but got no reply. Long Islanders seem like a good possibility for a response.


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RE: Hunting a historical blue flag iris

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