We are happy to announce the winner of the 2012 Eric Nies Medal: 'Solar Fusion,' hybridized by Lee Walker of Oregon.
A complete list of winners in other categories will be announced soon.
Here's a full description of this beautiful iris via the Iris Wiki:
'Solar Fusion' (Lee Walker, R. 2004) Sdlg. 93-2-19. SPU, 47" (119 cm), ML Standards are medium yellow base, medium yellow veining over maroon, ruffled; style arms yellow with maroon tip; Falls medium to deep yellow with faint maroon veining extending to a faint maroon rim, light ruffling. 'Dena's Delight' X 'Highline Coral.' Wildwood Gardens 2005. HM 2008.
Eric Nies Medal
The Eric Nies Medal is the highest American Iris Society award given strictly to a spuria Iris. The Eric Nies Medal is actually a plaque. Legend has it that Ben Hager, who had won almost every medal possible, complained that they all went into a drawer and the he wished he had something to hang on his wall. The Spuria Society fulfilled his dream.
History By Clarence Mahan
This medal is restricted to spuria (SPU) irises. It is named in honor of Eric Nies (1884-1952).
Eric Nies was born in Saugatuck, Michigan, the son of Dutch immigrants. He graduated with a BS degree from Michigan State College, where he was a star pitcher on the baseball team. In 1913, he and his wife Grace moved to Los Angeles, California, where he taught high school botany and agriculture for many years. He was a man who was praised for his beautiful singing voice, his wit and his charm.
Soon after Nies moved to California, he became interested in irises of all types. He obtained his first spuria irises from Jennett Dean, who operated one of the first iris specialist nurseries in the U.S. Spurias were his special interest. His first cross was with I. orientalis with 'Monspur'. He interbred seedlings from this cross, and in the second generation there was a virtual explosion of color: blue, lavender, brown, bronze and cream. Some of these early cultivars, the forerunners of great advances in spuria irises, are 'Bronzspur', 'Saugatuck', and 'Azure Dawn'.
More on the Eric Nies Medal, such as its history and past medal winners, can be found on the Iris Wiki.
For more information on AIS Awards, please visit our website.