Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Zealand Dykes Medal Winner 2012

By Piki Carroll
New Zealand Iris Society President

Hybridizer Ron Busch receives the New Zealand Iris Society’s Dykes Medal for TB ‘Norma of Irwell’

Ron Busch was born in Tower Street in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1934 and has been the Society’s most prolific iris breeder. Ron has been breeding irises for many years and his first registration was a tall bearded called ‘Open Country’ registered in 1969. It had lemon standards with light blue falls and a yellow beard.

'Norma of Irwell'

In 1976 he registered 8 Tall Bearded irises: ‘Allusion,’ ‘Blue Guilt,’ ‘Mountain,’ ‘Painted Witch,’ ‘Rich Melody,’ ‘Sand Boy,’ ‘Snow Song,’ and ‘And Southern Queen.’

Ron has consistently registered irises over the years: 3 Tall Bearded in 1981; 3 Tall Bearded in 1985; 4 Tall Bearded in 1991; and 2 Tall Bearded in 1997.

In 1999 we saw a change with 5 standard dwarf bearded registered. In 2006 saw another change and Ron registered 6 tall bearded and 2 Sibericas. In 2007, 1 tall bearded and 4 standard dwarf beardeds. 2008 saw 11 Spec-x (cal sibs) and 3 tall beardeds which included ‘Norma of Irwell,’ named after Ron’s wife.


In 2009 health issues began to plague Ron and a move to town and a smaller property were on the cards, nevertheless, Ron registered his biggest number yet: 113 tall beardeds.

The British Iris Society has approved the giving of the Dykes Medal for ‘Norma of Irwell,’ and due to Ron’s deteriorating health we are making the announcement prior to receiving the medal which is cast and inscribed in England and will take some time to arrive.

Well done Ron. A just reward for your perseverance over many years.

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Editor’s Note:

For this week’s Guest Bloggers Series, the President of the New Zealand Iris Society shared with me via Maggie Asplet (web-mistress for the NZ Iris Society) the following information for their American friends and iris lovers worldwide -- the New Zealand Dykes Medal Winner for 2012, a nice tribute to one of their successful and most productive hybridizers. 

I hope you also enjoy the following historic report on how the system for awarding the Dykes medal got started in New Zealand.  For additional information please visit the New Zealand Iris Society.

History of The New Zealand Dykes Memorial Medal

“The Dykes Memorial Medal was instituted by the British Iris Society in 1926 to honour William Rickatson Dykes (1877-1925), a founder of that society and a noted English researcher, hybridiser and gardener as well as the writer of the authoritative monograph, The Genus Iris. The Dykes Medal is the highest award an iris can receive. The New Zealand Dykes Medal can be awarded every second year by the British Iris Society on the recommendation of the New Zealand Iris Society. Frances Love won the first New Zealand Dykes Medal in 1995 for the Siberian iris 'Emma Ripeka'. This medal is awarded also in the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia. The Australasian Dykes Medal was first instituted in 1985 and allowed a medal to be awarded to New Zealand and Australian irises in successive years. However the process of sending irises out of the country to be tested in Australia proved unworkable and as a result in 1992 the New Zealand Dykes Trial Garden system was set up for this purpose.”

Andi Rivarola
Editor: World of Irises - the Blog of The American Iris Society 
AIS Social Media Manager

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