(1916) 'Aphrodite' by Dykes

GardenersÂ’ Chronicle, p.13, July 9, 1916




Last autumn I received from Mr. C. G. Van Tubergen, junr., of Haarlem, a rhizome of this Iris, which resulted from a cross between I. Lorteti and I. Gatesii. The growth of the leaves is weak, and resembles rather that of Iris iberica than that of either of the parents. The solitary flower has recently opened, and is truly extraordinary. The stem is about a foot in height and, as usual in the Oncocyclus section, bears only the one flower. The narrow spathe is nearly 4 inches long, and remains green, except at the tip, even when the flower has expanded.

The orbicular standards are white, 3 ½ inches in diameter, very faintly veined and minutely dotted, especially in the central portion, with violet purple. For twenty-four hours after the flower first opened the falls remained extended horizontally and deeply concave, as in Iris iberica, and indeed it appeared at first as if this latter Iris must have been one of the parents. Then, however, the falls began to droop and 'became conspicuously convex, the outer edges bending back so far as actually to meet behind. The colour is a faint creamy yellow, closely dotted all over with violet-purple, and, when expanded, the blade measures 3 inches across. The most striking feature is perhaps the pear-shaped patch of rich velvety crimson purple in the centre of the fall, above which there is a broad straggling beard of pale, straw-coloured, purple-tipped hairs. The style-branches are coloured' and dotted in the same way as the falls, and bear the widely separated, triangular crests which are characteristic of the Oncocyclus Irises.

I do not know yet for how many years this beautiful hybrid has flourished' in Haarlem. We can only hope that it will prove to have a more robust constitution than either of its parents appears to have, at any rate in this sandy soil. Each succeeding year's experience of the behaviour of bearded Irises here and elsewhere makes it more and' more clear that there are no exceptions to the rule that, given a sunny and well-drained position, all bearded' Irises are more vigorous in a heavy soil rich in lime than in any other conditions. Here, in a garden of light sandy soil, they can only be kept in health and vigour by frequent removal into fresh soil, which has been manured and enriched for previous crops of another kind. W. R. Dykes, Charterhouse, Godalming.

For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at

-- BobPries - 2014-06-24
Topic revision: r1 - 24 Jun 2014, BobPries
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