Daily Flower Candy: Iris reticulata ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’

For two years in a row I have waxed lyrical about Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’, a reticulated hybrid with bleached denim-blue flowers that remind me of the ghastly jeans I cherished in the 80s. This year, for a change, I thought I would try out a sister cultivar, Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’, to see if I could spot the difference. As it happens it wasn’t that difficult. I. ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ (pictured below) has a pronounced primrose-yellow flush to the reverse of the falls. This unusual colouring is the result of hybridisation between Iris winogradowii (with pale yellow flowers) and Iris histrioides (with pale blue flowers). The result is what one might call ‘pale and interesting’.

Iris reticulata 'Katherine Hodgkin'
Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’

I. ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’ is the progeny of the same parents, but bears flowers of a much truer Delft blue. Only in photographing them did I really appreciate the boldly streaked standards, which appear as if someone had confidently taken a fountain pen to them.

Iris 'Sheila Ann Germaney'
Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’

Both are very pretty flowers and I wouldn’t like to choose between them. It seems that I. ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ flowers earlier by about a month, but that could well be influenced by the season. Next year I will grow both side-by-side for good measure. 

I love to hear which sister you prefer….

For chapter and verse on these bijoux bulbs, follow this link to an excellent article written by Marcus Harvey of Hill View Rare Plants in Tasmania.

Iris 'Sheila Ann Germaney'
Iris ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’

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13 thoughts on “Daily Flower Candy: Iris reticulata ‘Sheila Ann Germaney’

  1. Definitely Sheila Ann Germaney. Katherine Hodgkin has too much yellow for me with the blue. This seems like a very strange statement for me, because I love the two together however the balance is much better for me with Sheila.

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    1. I think that’s fair comment Lisa. I too love yellow and blue, but together in the flowers of Katherine Hodgkin the yellow can look a little acidic. Sheila Ann is much easier to place and I will definitely plant a bigger pot of it next year. Dan

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  2. Yummy! I have a dreadful weakness for any broken-color/spashed/streaked flowers and if it is also my favorite color (blue) so much the better…. and “ghastly” jeans? LOL, you should have seen my closet in the 1960s stuffed with tie-dye shirts!

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  3. Have never really taken to ‘Katherine’ but ‘Sheila’ is ok although I prefer the deeper colours of ‘Harmony’ or for something really unusual, what about ‘Sea Green’ which I saw exhibited at the RHS show this year. Helen

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    1. I’ve just had to look up ‘Sea Green’, she’s a beauty Helen. I am going to miss all the London RHS shows this spring for an assortment of reasons. Especially galling when I work only 5 minutes walk away! Next year I am definitely growing more (am thinking of creating an iris theatre) with whites at the top of my list. ‘Clairette’ also looks lovely.

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