Monday, August 12, 2019

Dykes Medal 2019

 The American Iris Society
Announces the
2019 Dykes Medal Winner
‘Bottle Rocket’
Mike Sutton 2009

First awarded in 1927, the Dykes Medal is the highest award of the AIS, awarded to no more than one iris per year. Irises are eligible as a Dykes Medal candidate for three years following the winning of a classification medal. Only AIS registered judges may vote.

'Bottle Rocket' -- image by Colleen Modra
The American Iris Society is pleased to announce the 2019 winner is Mike Sutton’s ‘Bottle Rocket'. While the iris was created in California, under the AIS rules this will become the first Dykes Medal winner for Idaho.

The Dykes Medal is named for William Rickatson Dykes, an English botanist, horticulturist, schoolmaster, plant breeder, author, and the foremost authority on irises at the turn of the Twenty Century. He became the world's leading authority on iris. His insatiable curiosity led him to obtain a wide knowledge of many other plants, but his chief interest was in the lily, iris, and amaryllis natural orders. He also did much work with tulips, and his knowledge of them was comparable to his knowledge of iris. W.R. Dykes was also a prolific author. In 1909 he began to plan and work on his monograph, The Genus Iris. He worked on this project for 5 years.

On December 1, 1925, W.R. Dykes died as a result of a motor accident. His work had only begun, for he was on the threshold of greater achievements as demonstrated by his glorious yellow seedling which was named for him. His death was a shock and a Ioss to the entire world of gardeners. At a meeting of the British Iris Society held on June 16, 1926 it was resolved to award a medal to the hybridizer of the outstanding iris variety of each year in memory of Mr. Dykes and thus the Dykes Medal was created. It has become the most highly coveted, highly prized iris award dreamed of by all iris hybridizers. This is the highest iris award available and its name, the Dykes Medal, keeps his name alive and warm in all our hearts.

The World of Irises blog will be posting once a day all of the medal winners. The entire list of winners can be found at the AIS website, the AIS Encyclopedia and later in the AIS Bulletin, IRISES.


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