Monday, November 22, 2021

A Growing Iris Resource on YouTube: Part I

by Heather Haley

In this post, I share a delightfully growing iris resource. Sharing information on the World of Irises blog is one of many ways that the American Iris Society (AIS) uses the internet to organize and disseminate knowledge. Content draws on the various talents of individuals within our organization and helps to advance its mission: fostering the preservation, enjoyment, and continued development of the genus Iris.

Volunteers with technical expertise (or a willingness to learn) devote time and energy to social media efforts that promote aspects of AIS to other members and the general gardening public. The AIS Facebook page was created in 2009, which was later supplemented by a Twitter feed in 2011, a YouTube channel in 2016, and an Instagram account in 2019. 

The AIS YouTube channel started with a video featuring World of Irises bloggers, and has added a sizable amount of content during 2020 and 2021. If you are just getting started with irises, have the desire to learn more, or need to keep yourself occupied between bloom seasons, I highly recommend watching videos in the AIS webinar series. 

The following describes the webinars prepared, delivered, recorded, and posted by AIS volunteers in 2020.

Gary White is a past president of AIS and started growing irises soon after he finished college. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in biology, with a focus on botany. He has been a member of every AIS Section and Cooperating Society, and has been judging irises for over twenty years. In this first webinar, Gary helped us look at irises and circumstances prior to the formation of AIS in 1920, and then described some of the irises, people, and events leading to the middle of the 20th Century.

Gary returned for a second webinar to share irises and people who were most influential several years after the formation of AIS. His story picks up from the end of the first webinar, the middle of the 20th century, and continues through near the end of the century. This webinar focuses on irises that you may be growing in your garden and people you may recognize.

Bonnie Nichols is currently serving as the first-vice president of AIS, and was the first president of the Novelty Iris Society when this Section was added to the organization in 2015. She has also served AIS as a regional vice president, and treasurer. Bonnie has always been drawn to flowers with unusual characteristics and color patterns. In two webinars, Bonnie shares her passion for novelty irises and offers a glimpse into "something new from something old."

Bonnie Nichols returned for a third webinar to share wisdom from her experience growing irises for as long as she can remember. As in my family, Bonnie's mother was the source of her interest in irises. Bonnie and her husband Hooker own a commercial iris garden; and both are prestigious emeritus judges with AIS. In this webinar, Bonnie shares "Growing Irises 101," and focuses on basics for culture of bearded types.

Jody Nolin has worn many hats in our society, including AIS president, regional vice president, treasurer of the Society for Japanese Irises, secretary of SIGNA, and editor for SPCNI. She is currently serving as the AIS Affiliate chair and tries growing any iris that will tolerate the weather and soil at her home in rural northwest Ohio. Jody maintains an assortment beardless and species irises, including Louisiana, pseudata, Siberian, Japanese, spuria, AND bulbous irises. In this webinar, Jody shares the basics and delights of growing beardless irises.

Descriptions of AIS webinars recorded during 2021 will follow in future posts. Until then, visit the AIS website for links to related organizations, information, and ways to connect with others who love irises. You may also wish to join, follow, or subscribe to AIS webpages on your preferred social media platform.

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