We are entering our 13th year of below average rainfall or drought as we are calling it in our part of Southern Victoria. Wet paddocks and bogged tractors are just a memory of the past. We are not complaining too much as the Iris love these conditions, but it would be nice if a little more rain fell in the catchment areas and drier farming districts.

Again our catalogue contains less varieties than in the past and as we mentioned last year, it is turning out to be a staged withdrawal. We endeavour to feature each variety catalogued with a picture. Occasionally a few are missed but searching the web and looking at gardening and nursery sites can usually find those listed and not photographed.

With so many new varieties of  Iris and Daylilies in particular each year and so many already in commerce, it is not easy to find something dramatically different. To the uninitiated, a blue Iris is a blue Iris and often improvements are not noticed. We hear it often when someone says to their friend after looking at the very newest ruffled blue. “Oh yes, I have that one, I had it given to me by my grandmother 20 years ago” We know that person will never get “Iris Virus” and that is fine because they may be avid collectors of some other plants and are just looking at Iris to see what their friend sees in them.

Those of us with “Iris Virus” not only note every difference, we also know who raised the new one, what its pedigree is and everything else that has been written about it. We can assure those of you just becoming really interested in Iris, that this addiction tends to stay once it infects the gardening part of the brain. It has not left us after 60 years and may be getting worse.

With so many new varieties available it is worth reflecting on the work that has gone into the generations of varieties preceding its introduction. Our friend Keith Keppel recently had enough time and the urge to track down the family tree of a seedling we had flowered a couple of years previously and we were particularly interested in the reasons for some of its unusual characteristics and he said that one of its ancestors, Sunset Snows, appeared over 1200 times in its background. That is just one of the dozens of varieties that make up its complex family tree. Think of all the seedlings viewed over the 50 years by all the different breeders and work involved just in that one variety alone. It is quite amazing and also wonderful that all these records are available and can be tracked by anyone. It is often easier to track an Iris variety’s pedigree and background than it is to track ones own family history.

We hope you enjoy this catalogue and find something of interest that may grace your garden in coming years and you won’t have to worry if its history is complex or simple, just as long as it is a joy to you.

Lesley & Barry


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