How cool to be able to share just a wee taste of our wonderful Whanganui story with RNZ listeners on the Kim Hill show yesterday.
Jean Stevens was an outstanding hybridiser. Not only did she create new iris introductions like TB Pinnacle and TB Sunset Snows which were beautiful and unknown before, she also created several iris equivalents of the blue rose – colour-breaks that no-one had thought possible before Jean showed the world that they were.
Before Pinnacle, the term ‘amoena’ was shorthand for an iris bloom with white standard petals and purple falls. When Pinnacle was released in 1945 it was initially described as a yellow amoena. The term was subsequently revised – thanks to Jean’s achievement – to refer to iris with white standards and falls of any colour.
In 1963, Jean introduced another important colour-break amoena – TB Sunset Snows. With its beautiful salmon-copper coloured fall petals, this iris was the first pink amoena and is an outstanding addition to any garden. It has also proved an important and highly influential parent. Notable Australian iris hybridiser Barry Blyth has introduced some 1,500 iris during his long and illustrious career – half of which have Jean’s Sunset Snows in their parentage.