Monday, August 30, 2021

The American Iris Society Announces the 2021 Nies Medal Winners


The Nies Medal is restricted to spuria irises. It is named in honor of Eric Nies (1884-1952). Eric Nies was born in Saugatuck, Michigan, but 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. During his lifetime, Nies was recognized as the foremost breeder of spuria irises in the world. Marion Walker took over his seedlings and breeding lines after he died in 1952.

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

'IBEX IBIS' (Brad Kasperek)

'Ibex Ibis' (Brad Kasperek, R. 2012) Seedling #SPH-350. SPU, 45 (114 cm). Midseason bloom. Standards and style arms light medium lavender; falls bright medium yellow center darkening to gold at the crest of style arm, light medium lavender rim; slight fragrance. Parentage unknown. Zebra Gardens 2012.

STEELY DON (J. T Aitken)

'Steely Don' (J. Terry Aitken, R. 2012) Seedling #05SPU-2A. SPU, 54" (137 cm). Midseason bloom. Standards steely blue-grey outside, washed inside with white at midribs blending to blue at rim; style arms steely blue-grey; falls pale lemon-yellow, light steely blue-grey veins and petal edges. 'Missouri Clouds' X unknown.

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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