Doctor Norlan Henderson stands near a clump of Queen’s Circle tall bearded iris. You will find Doc on Iris Hill now through their last bloom at Powell Gardens. Doc has donated all the American Iris Society’s (AIS) Merit Award Iris to Powell Gardens as well as many of the historical and species iris. He has been a hybridizer of iris for more than 50 years and wrote the iris chapter in the Flora of North America.
A closeup of Queen’s Circle tall bearded iris! Doc is particularly fond of this iris, not only because it’s the 2007 Dykes Medal winner (the top award given to an iris by the American Iris Society), but also because it is a hybridization improvement of an iris first bred by an old dear friend of his back in northern Indiana.
Doc knows more about the colors and patterns of iris than anyone in this region. This is tall bearded iris ‘Frank Adams’ and is one in our collection because it has malvidin (the red pigment) in it. There is still no red, red iris. Powell Gardens’ iris collection contains many of the breakthrough old hybrids that demonstrate the colors and patterns possible in iris.