Sunday, August 22, 2021

The American Iris Society Announces the 2021 Caparne-Welch Medal Winners


The Caparne-Welch Medal is restricted to miniature dwarf bearded (MDB) irises. It is named in honor of William John Caparne (1855-1940) and WalterWelch (1887-1980). Caparne worked extensively breeding various dwarf iris species and was the first iris hybridizer to concentrate on smaller irises. Most of the dwarf iris cultivars grown in gardens in the first quarter of the 20th century were products of Caparne's hybridizing efforts. Walter Welch was the founder of the Dwarf Iris Society. After moving to Middlebury, Indiana, he met Paul Cook and began hybridizing irises. He shared Cook's enthusiasm for dwarf irises, and set out to develop new forms for the garden.

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic last year, the American Iris Society Board of Directors suspended garden awards. As a result, and for only this year, two medals will be award in this area. Previous awards winners can be found at

‘Elf Esteem’

'Elf Esteem' (Paul Black, R. 2015) Seedling S259A. MDB, 7.5" (19 cm). Midseason to late bloom and rebloom. Standards green-white fading to white; style arms white, mid violet in heart; Falls white, dark burgundy spot bisected by white wedge stripe from beard to edge, white rays over haft surrounded by olive-brown veins; beards mid lavender; slight sweet fragrance. Seedling 0262CR, 'It’s Not Over' pollen parent, X 'Replicator'. 2015 Mid-America.

‘Fairy Firefly’

'Fairy Firefly' (Terry Aitken, R. 2016) Seedling 05M7D. MDB, 5" (13 cm), Midseason bloom. Standards brilliant orange crush orange; style arms brilliant orange; falls brilliant orange, red-orange spot, orange zonal spot at hafts; beards brilliant orange. 'Hot Coals' sibling. Salmon Creek 2015.

The World of Irises blog will be posting classification medal winners as soon as the hybridizers are notified. The entire list of winners, including award of merit and honorable mention, will be published in the AIS website, the AIS Encyclopedia, and later in the AIS Bulletin, IRISES.

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