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Re: Re:proposed AIS Awards Ballot

  • Subject: Re: Re:proposed AIS Awards Ballot
  • From: "loic tasquier" <tasquierloic@cs.com>
  • Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 20:25:43 +0200

Hello Sharon,
There are 800 different TBs in the garden, and yes, they all do fine!
Once the weak ones have died, the ones that survive are very happy here.
My only problem is that i don't want to  try them all anymore,  in order to finally end up with the tough ones.
I would love someone else to do it for me!
It's been really costly, and far too frustrating.
I guess i have enough to breed with, and i will have to resist pretty pictures form now on!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 7:58 PM
Subject: Re: [iris-photos] Re:proposed AIS Awards Ballot

Have you tried any of the historic TBs of more northern heritage?  I would think they could provide an interesting comparison. 
Sharon McAllister
In a message dated 3/30/2009 11:29:22 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time, tasquierloic@cs.com writes:

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, Cayeux, live!
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% boycott!
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 5:36 PM
Subject: [iris-photos] Re:proposed AIS Awards Ballot

There are biases towards TB with Dykes as these are more popular, and
more importantly, biases towards the warmer climates where there are
more judges. Thus there have been top awarded bearded iris in past
(including Dykes Medal Winners) that are good growers only in warmer
climates, and not the rest of the AIS regions.

As a commercial grower in a colder climate (colder part of Southern
Ontario, Canada) I often see new iris enthusiasts selecting iris based
on the awards they have received. I also would expect some of these
plants to not do as well for them as others that are more suitable for
their climate. I do try to steer people away from plants that are not
suitable for their climate. But there are many sellers of iris, and I
suspect that there are a few enthusiasts in colder climates that get
turned off iris when the "Best" as determined by AIS award system do
poorly for them.

I have suggested in the past that there be some sort of Region
requirements for awards. I was invited to present some ideas to the AIS
board of Directors, but decided that the time was probably not right.
If there was a ground swell of support for this sort of idea, then it
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 ent
husiasts, and make the award system a more
reliable method of selecting good cultivars.

One man’s opinion.

Chuck Chapman

-----Original Message-----
From: Sandy Ives <rives@rogers.com>
To: iris-species@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sun, 29 Mar 2009 9:01 pm
Subject: [iris-species] Re:proposed AIS Awards Ballot

This is a precis of a precis I sent to Diane privately.  I have
truncated the original, and there are quibbles that everyone can make. 
I have also removed some personal biases.  ;-)
The AIS awards are always going to be biased one way or another... in
favour of growing irises as opposed to, say, daylilies.  &lt;bias
These awards are determined by garden performance in the various
judges' gardens.  That is a considerable improvement over a picture in
a catalogue, over a spike in a show, or by Joe Blow's comments on the
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
knowledgeable gardening public.  This means those who will distinguish
between the stuff you can get at Walmart vs. the stuff you can get at a
quality nursery.  If=2
0so, they may register it for introduction after
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 printable advertisement
(webpages can be printed and mailed to the registrar).
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
Practically speaking, that means avid iris growers who are willing to
pay the introduction price... and that generally means the iris judges
(such as myself).  Fortunately iris prices come down far more rapidly
than daylilies, so the average gardener can buy such irises within 3-4
years at about a quarter the introduced price. 
The tool used to make the determination of what wins the HM is the AIS
ballot that is sent to all eligible AIS judges.  There are over 800
judges spread out over the continent and overseas, including a large
number in the Pacific Northwest.  All have multiple years of AIS
membership and a considerable amount of training into what constitutes
a quality iris.  There are some excellent judges and some20less so, but
the overall quality is quite high and all must retrain, both in the
classroom and i
n the garden, if they wish to maintain their status.
So when the ballots are tabulated, there are about 800-900 experienced
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.  &lt;bias removed&gt;.
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
The top 10% plus ties will receive an AM.  At least two of each class
will be awarded an AM, however there must be at least three candidates
for an AM before voting is permitted.  Therefore the less popular
classes will see proportionately more AM awards per number of
introductions than 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 introduced irises 
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.
The medal winners become eligible for the Dykes Memorial Medal.
So to answer your question concerning 'Starwoman' (an IB) vs 'Rococco',
(a TB) the hybridizer who introduced 'Starwoman' saw qualities that
were improvements over existing cultivars.  Those qualities could be
bloom count, durability, form, structure, hardiness, foliage habits;
any number of things.  The enthusiastic iris gardeners across North
America who purchased it early and grew it in their gardens saw the
same thing, or even different things (such as rebloom) and voted for it
as a confirmation of its quality.  Over the course of four rounds of
voting (six in the case of 'Starwoman'), its merits were confirmed.
All of which does not mean 'Rococco' is an inferior iris (I've never
grown it).  It means that 'Starwoman' has superior qualities that
knowledgeable iris growers believe the gardening public should be made
aware of when determining what they might consider planting in their
Sandy  Ives in Ottawa


Feeling the pinch at the grocery store? Make dinner for $10 or less.

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