(1920) Irises at York-Mr. Yeld's Seedlings reviewed by Geoffrey Pilkington
The Garden, p.575, November 20, 1920
On June 18 I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. George Yeld and of spending a most interesting afternoon with him in his own garden and in the nurseries of Mr. William Clark at Dringhouscs, where I was shown numbers of Mr. Yeld's Seedling Irises, both old and new. The nurseries are situated about a mile out of York on the Tadcaster Road. The various Irises therein are growing largely in the partial shade of fruit trees, and in small " clearings " among herbaceous plants and alpines. The soil is a sandy loam.
Proceeding along a path flanked by Scabiosa caucasica and Delphiniums (many of the latter being fine new seedlings raised by Mr. Clark, such as Lady Grant Lawson and Mrs. Carr-Ellison), the first Iris to catch the eye was 'Neptune'
. This, though one of Mr. Yeld's older seedlings, must be classed in the first rank. The standards are bright pale blue, and the falls dark purple blue, the tall branched habit setting off nobly its immense flowers.
Passing from 'Neptune'
, a splendid bed of 'Asia'
met our view. The flower-spikes were about 4 feet in length, of branching habit, and carried, in most cases, three or four flowers, expanded, on each spike. The colour eftect, seen against a dark .green background, was most striking. For the benefit of those who did not see this splendid Iris at Chelsea, an attempt to describe its colour may not be out of place. It is a wonderful mixture of old rose and purple, with a golden orange beard, the colours being blended something in the way of Cattleya mossice. The flowers are of great size and it is a robust grower. Leaving Asia, reluctantly, we next came to Lord of June, which Iris is now so well known that no further description is needed here. We saw also a dark form of Lord of June called Nereus, which resembles Lord of June as regards size and habit, differing only in its deeper colour scheme.
Mr. Yeld, however, has now produced a worthy partner to 'Lord of June'
in his new 'Lady of June'
, a plant or two of which was still in bloom at the time of my visit. The " Lady " is a delightful blue self, quite Gentian-like in character and resembling Lord of June in size of flower and habit of growth. Passing from Lady of June and proceeding along a path bordered by very vigorous
Spiraea auruncus in full flower, we came upon a mass of golden yellow, which proved to be Iris Sunshine. This Iris, though not on a par with some of Mr. Yeld's other seedlings as regards size of flower, is, nevertheless, a most pleasing one, especially when massed. Beyond Sunshine was a bed of the white 'Purity'
In an open glade among fruit trees we found Porsenna, a most pleasing Iris as regards its colouring. the standards are of a silvery mauve, shot with gold, the falls crimson purple, which fades towards their margin, and the beard, which is a very conspicuous one, is orange.
Mr. Yeld next showed me one of his first and oldest seedlings, named Arac, a large-flowered deep blue and purple with conspicuous beard ; while in the neighbouring beds we saw Emir, a very tall-growing dark variety with a brown beard and Pontes, one of his latest, which is of a dark blue and wine purple colour. Mr. Yeld chose the name Pontos because it recalled Homer's " wine- dark " sea ; and on looking at the flower the appropriateness of the name is seen.
Among other named seedlings which he showed me were Halo (very similar to Lord of June, but having a conspicuous halo at the junction of the standards and falls), Memory (very pale mauve and gold), Sarpedon (dark blue and purple, evidently a descendant of Asiatica), and Hermia (a pink of dwarfish habit, like the lady in " Midsummer Night's Dream").
Mr. Yeld has a very promising number of unflowered seedlings whose blossoming in the forthcoming summers is naturally looked forward to with great interest.
A further inspection of Mr. Clark's Nursery revealed the presence of many other choice Irises, among which I noted Iris King, Cordelia, Ed. Michel, Nibelungen, Black Prince, Ossian, Rhein Nixe, Prosper Langier, Caterina and Queen Alexandra.
We live in an age of " novelties," as far as Irises are concerned, each season producing its quota of new and " more magnificent " named varieties, and when one recalls Asia, Neptune,
Prospero and Lord and Lady of June, one realises that Mr. Yeld has, indeed, contributed handsomely to our store of these glorious flowers. Geoffrey L. Pilkington.
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at