Monday, April 20, 2020

New Zealand Iris Society and its Awards

By Maggie Asplet

Normally, at this time of the year I am preparing for my journey to Mid America Iris Garden.  Not so this year.  At this very challenging time of our world pandemic of Covid 19, I decided to write about the Awards (some of them anyway) and who were the lucky recipients at our Convention in 2019.

Jean Stevens Writer's Award
This was first awarded in 2018. The Jean Stevens Memorial Award is a give away award.
To be eligible you must be a member of the New Zealand Iris Society; write an interesting informative article in any of the three New Zealand Iris Society Bulletins published in a current year; this could also be for someone who has written long term for the bulletin and the award will be judged by the editor of the Bulletin.

  Gwenda Harris (seated) was awarded the Jean Stevens Writer's Award from President Marilyn Fleming.  This was for Gwenda's outstanding article - Classification of Irises, published in the June 2019 bulletin.  photo courtesy of Heather & Bernard Pryor

South Canterbury Species Trophy 
This trophy consists of prints of Iris prismatica, I. stolonifera and I. reichenbachii and gifted to the South Canterbury Iris Group. The trophy can be awarded annually to the grower of the most interesting iris species (must be named) seen in a NZ Iris Society member's garden and is selected by participants' ballot.  It can either be garden or pot grown.

Pat McFadden holding her award which had been presented by Marilyn Fleming (President)
photo courtesy of Jim Gilligan

Anne Blanco White 'Festival Crown' Plate
This is a special edition plate marking the 70th anniversary of the British Iris Society. The Society's plate was presented at the 1992 Nelson Convention by Anne Blanco White.  The mounted plate is awarded annually to a member for meritorious service to NZ Iris Society.  Groups or individual members may nominate a member they think fits the criterion, and a written citation in support of the nomination should be forwarded to the President or Secretary.

Awarded to the editor of our wonderful bulletin -  Bernard Pryor, OAM
photo courtesy of Heather Pryor

Dorothy McLachlan Award
This is a silver cup, presented by the late Dorothy McLachlan and was first awarded in 1991 for the best New Zealand bred, cut iris bloom or stem seen at an annual Convention.  It may be any type of iris bloom or stem.  Three judges are appointed to carry out the judging.  If the award winning cultivar is a seedling, it is recommended that the whole plant then be sent to the relevant Trial Garden.


Marilyn Rathgen (left) was presented with the Dorothy McLachlan Award for her MTB seedling 1B-4-C
photos courtesy of Heather & Bernard Pryor


The Cook Photographic Award
This award is sponsored by Darlene and the late Owen Cook, and is granted for excellence of photographs of NZ bred and registered irises.  Entries are to be photographed by a financial member of the society.  Photos may be garden shots or show bench shots.  There is no requirement for the whole plant to be photographed.  

Beth Conrad was awarded the trophy for her photo of 'Mimic' and she was also awarded Highly Commended for 'Richmond White'.
photo courtesy of Heather & Bernard Pryor

Left is 'Mimic' (winner) and right is 'Richmond White' (highly commended)
photos courtesy of Beth Conrad


The President's Award
This award is presented by the Society's president, to a person whom they feel has contributed to the society as a whole.
2019 saw Stephanie Boot (right) being awarded with this trophy.

The President's Award was presented to Stephanie Boot (right).  
photos courtesy of Heather & Bernard Pryor

The Begg Shield for NZ Bred Irises (pogon)
The Begg Shield was present to the Society in 1975 by Mr James Begg of Oamaru.  This shield is awarded annually to a person with the most outstanding New Zealand bred iris seen at a convention.
The competition is for Tall Bearded Irises only.  The irises to be judged must be bred by the hybridiser living at the time of judging and are ineligible for future Begg Shields if it has won previously.  
Three judges are appointed to carry out the judging.  Judging will be to an HM (Honourable Mention) level (70) points.  Up to two rhizomes of the winning iris will be sent to the Trial Garden where it will be grown on for the first year and judged for an AM (Award of Merit) in its final year.

The winning iris for 2019 was bred by Brian Townsend.
photo courtesy of Brian Townsend

There are a number of other awards, however they were not presented in 2019.

To my friends in America and around the world, please stay well and stay safe.  Hopefully,  I'll be able to travel again in 2021.

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