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Re: Tennessee

Linda, in the 1930s and 40s Nashville was the center of the iris universe. This
article appeared in the Nashville Banner newspaper April 26, 1936:

"10 Hydridizers {sic} Win Nashville Iris City Fame

The growth of the iris movement in Nashville the past few years is not a
"bubble" without reason foundation or purpose. Few of the people who will travel
hundreds of miles for Nashville's fifth annual Iris Festival, May 3-9 will come
because of mere curiosity or because they want to be going someplace.

There is reason for it all. Several reasons. The prominence and number of
Nashville's iris hybridizers is steadily on the increase. Nashville has ten
hybridizers with a national and internaltional repuation. They are: Clarence P.
Connell, Chancellor James H. Kirkland, T.M. Washington, Thomas Williams, Mrs.
Edward C. Stahlman, Stanley Horn, Dudley Gale, Wentworth Caldwell, Geddes
Douglas and Miss Era Emmons.

Another reason for recognition of Nashville as 'the Iris City of the World" is
seventeen national and international awards to Nashville hybridizers in the past
eight years for outstanding new varieties of the iris. And still another reason
is that in the 1935 registrations listed in the February, 1936 bulletin of the
American Iris Society there are listed 42 new irises from the gardens of
Nashville hybridizers.The names and descriptions of these are registered with
the society and those which prove to be of sufficient merit will be introduced
to commerce.

Again last year, as  in the past few years, the names of Nashville hybridizers
were prominent on the iris award and honorable mention lists. Chancellor
Kirkland's Black Wings was second in line for the Dykes medal, top prize in iris
awards; Mr. Washington was given an award of merit for his new Jeb Stuart and on
the honorable mention list were Chancellor Kirkland for his Copper Luster and
Mr. Washington for his Maya and Sundust.

The seventeen awards in previous years were distributed among three Nashville
hybridizers. Mr. Connell received four, one of which was the Dykes medal for his
Dauntless; Chancellor Kirkland received seven and Mr. Washington recieved seven.
One of the awards to Mr. Washington was the result of collaboration between Mr.
Washington and Mrs. Stahlman on the iris they named the Mary Geddes."

My wife's grandfather was Thomas Williams mentioned above who was the original
Old Dirt Dobber and had a nationwide gardening radio show that originated in
Nashville.. By 1948 Nashvillians had won four Dykes medals for Dauntless, Copper
Lustre, Mary Geddes and Chivalry and the AIS had held three of its annual
conventions in Nashville. I would say we have an advantage in Tennessee.


Greg McCullough
Iris City Gardens
502 Brighton Place
Nashville, TN 37205

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