I never ordered Clarence, although I did search for it when I ran across iris plants for sale at local stores. Then in late spring of 2009, I was at Walmart, the discriminating gardener's source for high end plant material. (I was frantically searching every store for vegetable plants still left on the shelves for garden procrastinators). While browsing the offerings the store carried, I spotted Clarence iris on the clearance rack for around $3. But, there were only leaves - no blooms to verify that the label was correct. I succumbed to the sale price; I took a chance.
Expectations were high in spring of last year after coddling my prize during the previous summer. But alas, there were no flowers. What went wrong? Was this really Clarence or a Walmart dud? After another summer of cosseting, Clarence is finally blooming this spring.
The flowers are huge and well proportioned, at 5-6 inches wide and high (15 cm). Light colored standards ease into a creamy yellow beard, and cream colors ease into the blue falls. And the 3 foot high (1 m) stalks stand up. For comparison, my Invitation Iris [15.5.2009] needs crutches now, even through it is not yet blooming.
I finally got a proud blue iris.
For The Record:
Clay soil with gypsum & organic amendments
Small amount of fertilizer
No serious pests
Blooming: azaleas, Clarence iris, ajuga, salvia, allium, macrorrhizum geranium, muscari