ORIGINATOR: Arthur Casselman
INTRODUCED: Reg. 1959 / Intro'd 2015
CLASS: Tall Bearded
BLOOM SEASON: Midseason
DESCRIPTION: Pure white self; white beard.
PARENTAGE: Tranquility X (New Snow x San Francisco x Theodolinda) x Minnie Colquitt)) x Spanish Peaks)))
From the Presby Memorial Iris Garden website: Barbara Walther was a graduate from the University of Chicago with a Botany degree. In 1918 she and her husband Fred purchased the Upper Mountain property next to Mountainside Park. She was a charter member of the Montclair Women’s Club and the Garden Club of Montclair where she gave lectures and wrote a variety of articles. Mr. and Mrs. Walther were also instrumental in preserving the land for Mountainside Park and establishing the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. She remained a fixture amongst the iris well into her nineties and passed away at ninety-four in 1977, the fiftieth anniversary of The Gardens’ inception. As for the Iris itself, former Presby Executive Director Linda Sercus writes: “Dr. Casselman was a New Jersey hybridizer who was very engaged with Barbara Walther at the gardens. He was a fixture during bloom season. After the big 'to-do' of Region 19, arguing back and forth about hosting the AIS Convention in 1961, it was finally settled. My hunch is Dr. Casselman wanted to name a seedling after Barbara to feature during the convention. They must have had conversations back and forth about this idea. Everyone who knew Barbara knew her favorites among all the irises that came into the gardens during her tenure were the pure blues. With the official request from Barbara to use her name for this introduction, she replied that it would be fine, however, "...you know I wanted a blue!”
Over fifty years later, we at the gardens believe Dr. Casselman made the right choice. The iris Barbara Walther is tough as nails! She is among the tallest of bloom stalks, doesn't bend in the wind, droop in the rain, she is among the first to bloom during bloom season, and continues to bloom right through to the end. As a sentimental gesture, we have planted a full display of Barbara at the tip of the triangle looking out over the full run of beds. Barbara has a bird's eye view of every bloom season!