Intermediate Bearded Irises by William John Caparne

Freya Ivorine Nimrod Reinette and Queen Flavia

Wister (1920): "Inspired by Sir Michael Foster's work, Caparne on the Island of Guernsey began in the 80's or 90's to force into bloom some of the later-blooming strains of Iris and to cross them with the early flowered dwarf species from the Alps. The result was a new race intermediate in bloom and intermediate in height between the two most valuable in our gardens, and which comes into bloom in Philadelphia usually about the middle of May, lasting for several weeks. Caparne is dead, and the details of his work are hard to trace, but we know that before 1902 he offered nearly a hundred of these Intermediates, most of which have disappeared from cultivation, but among them are the varieties Diamond, Dauphin, Dolphin, Ivorine, King Christian, and Royal which have reached this country within the last five years or so and can still be found only in a few catalogues. An interesting fact to note here is that Caparne sold a large collection of these Intermediates probably about 1900, or later, to Goos & Koeneman, of Niederwallaf, Germany, and that about 1910 this firm sent to America a set of Intermediates, including Fritjof, Halfdan, Helge, Ingeborg, and Walhalla, which were introduced here by Dreer and by Farr, and have become very popular. Whether these are actual Caparne varieties renamed, or seedlings of them, is not known, but anyone who grows the two sets side by side will be struck by the fact that they are in their characteristics as like as two peas in a pod. I do not wish to say that Goos & Koeneman sent these out with any intention of deceiving, for it was their full right to buy unnamed seedlings from Caparne and to name them, but the fact remains that in America they are given the credit of introducing an Intermediate race, a credit which rightfully belongs to Caparne."

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Caparne's Alpine Irises