----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 12:28
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re:proposed
AIS Awards Ballot
Well Chuck, i must say that the irises i've
ordered from warmer countries have been very disappointing...
If i divide my Australian bill by the number of
survivors, they must reach more than $200 a piece...!
Same with the Californian bills, even if they
have been kindly replaced( and i really am thankful for that ), the year
after, same thing, they die!
When a couple of years have passed, out of 20
irises in a bed, there are only 5 very healthy survivors, that look very
lonely in their almost empty bed.
I would love to find a database of the
'Southern Beauties' that manage to thrive in the cold and wet North...but
doing the try out myself, i give up!
The SDB and
IB seem to do a little better, the demand, the pressure for 'new
things' is less, so they are not as consanguineous.
For non specialists, it's very hard when you look
at a catalogue to know where the irises come from.
Even when you have the name of the breeder, how
many know where Keppel, Sutton, Black, Chapman, Kerr, Ghio, Blyth, Bianco,
I agree with you that something should be done,
because so many people must be put off from growing irises:
In Holland, i never see a bearded iris
anywhere. Irises have such a bad reputation that no one grow
them. When people visit the garden, they cannot believe their eyes, but i
tell them they must really be careful with their choice.
If even I
intend not to buy anything coming from warmer countries anymore, even
with the passion for irises i have, imagine Mr. Lambda....who knows nothing
about this plant !
Yes, something must be done, because, for the
moment, the only solution i see, as far as I am concerned, is a 100%
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 5:36
Subject: [iris-photos] Re:proposed AIS
There are biases towards TB with Dykes as these are more popular,
more importantly, biases towards the warmer climates where there
more judges. Thus there have been top awarded bearded iris in
(including Dykes Medal Winners) that are good growers only in
climates, and not the rest of the AIS regions.
commercial grower in a colder climate (colder part of Southern
Canada) I often see new iris enthusiasts selecting iris based
awards they have received. I also would expect some of these
not do as well for them as others that are more suitable for
climate. I do try to steer people away from plants that are not
for their climate. But there are many sellers of iris, and I
there are a few enthusiasts in colder climates that get
turned off iris
when the "Best" as determined by AIS award system do
I have suggested in the past that there be some sort of
requirements for awards. I was invited to present some ideas to
board of Directors, but decided that the time was probably not
If there was a ground swell of support for this sort of idea, then
could be organized and presented.
If there was some sort of
Region requirement (such as weighting region
votes) then more of the
award winning iris would be suitable for a
larger number of growing
climates. This would also translate into
retaining more iris
husiasts, and make the award system a more
reliable method of
selecting good cultivars.
One man’s opinion.
From: Sandy Ives <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sun, 29 Mar 2009 9:01 pm
Subject: [iris-species] Re:proposed AIS Awards
This is a precis of a precis I sent to Diane privately.
truncated the original, and there are quibbles that everyone can
I have also removed some personal biases.
The AIS awards are always going to be biased one way or
favour of growing irises as opposed to, say,
These awards are
determined by garden performance in the various
That is a considerable improvement over a picture in
a catalogue, over a
spike in a show, or by Joe Blow's comments on
All the information concerning the iris awards
is provided in the
Handbook for Judges and Shows that is available for
sale from the AIS
First, the hybridizer
has to evaluate the seedling - does it have
qualities that are an
advancement over what is already available to the
public. This means those who will distinguish
between the stuff you
can get at Walmart vs. the stuff you can get at a
0so, they may register it for
several20years of evaluation in their garden
and (especially for the
less experience hybridizer) guesting at another
garden elsewhere in the
country/continent. It may then be forked
into the compost or formally
introduced via a catalogue or some other
(webpages can be printed and mailed to the
The clock starts upon that formal
introduction. A bearded iris becomes
eligible for the Honourable
Mention upon its second year of
availability to the public. A
beardless iris, such as a siberian,
becomes eligible for the HM upon its
third year of availability to the
speaking, that means avid iris growers who are willing to
introduction price... and that generally means the iris judges
myself). Fortunately iris prices come down far more rapidly
daylilies, so the average gardener can buy such irises within 3-4
at about a quarter the introduced price.
used to make the determination of what wins the HM is the AIS
is sent to all eligible AIS judges. There are over 800
spread out over the continent and overseas, including a large
the Pacific Northwest. All have multiple years of AIS
and a considerable amount of training into what constitutes
iris. There are some excellent judges and some20less so, but
overall quality is quite high and all must retrain, both in the
n the garden, if they wish to maintain their
So when the ballots are tabulated, there are about
voters whose opinions are counted. For all iris
classes, the top 10%
plus ties will receive an HM. If an iris does
not win an HM in its
first three years of eligibility, it drops off the
ballot BUT it always
remains eligible for an HM. <bias
Once an iris receives an HM, it is added
to the ballot as being
eligible Award of Merit two years after
the HM award. This allows the
judges who have not grown it
previously to add it to their garden for
subsequent evaluation (or to
search it out in other iris growers'
garden). Again, it remains
eligible for an AM for three years, but if
it does not win an AM in those
three years, it drops off the ballot
10% plus ties will receive an AM. At least two of each class
be awarded an AM, however there must be at least three candidates
AM before voting is permitted. Therefore the less popular
will see proportionately more AM awards per number of
the most popular classes.
So you see that the chances of
winning an AM in a given year are only
slightly greater than 1% for all
from a given year.
In three years of
eligibility this means that around 3% of all
introduced irises from a
given year in a gi
ven class will win an AM for
the most popular
classes (TB and SDB especially).
Once a iris wins an AM, it
becomes immediately eligible for the class
medal. The top vote
getter wins the medal, but ties are permitted.
winners become eligible for the Dykes Memorial Medal.
answer your question concerning 'Starwoman' (an IB) vs 'Rococco',
the hybridizer who introduced 'Starwoman' saw qualities that
improvements over existing cultivars. Those qualities could
bloom count, durability, form, structure, hardiness, foliage
any number of things. The enthusiastic iris gardeners
America who purchased it early and grew it in their gardens
same thing, or even different things (such as rebloom) and voted
as a confirmation of its quality. Over the course of four
voting (six in the case of 'Starwoman'), its merits were
All of which does not mean 'Rococco' is an inferior
iris (I've never
grown it). It means that 'Starwoman' has superior
knowledgeable iris growers believe the gardening public
should be made
aware of when determining what they might consider
planting in their
Ives in Ottawa