Many organizations choose to recognize special volunteers or employees. The American Iris Society is no different - except for the fact that its awards of distinction are given to irises and their hybridizers. For this blog post, I'll focus on the highest award an iris can receive - the Dykes Medal named after William Rickatson Dykes, a British botanist and iris breeder.
It was seven years after the founding of the American Iris Society in 1920 that the first Dykes Medal was presented to William Mohr and his tall bearded iris - "San Francisco". A striking plicata, "San Francisco" can still be purchased today.
The Dykes Medal is awarded to only one iris each year and only certified AIS judges can vote on who will earn the AIS' top prize. A quick look at those who have won the prestigious award is like looking at a "Who's Who" of iris hybridizers. Keppel, Johnson, Maryott, Tasco... all familiar names in the world of iris hybridization.
Below is a link where you can learn more about Dykes and the medal's history.
We have several Dykes Medal winners in our gardens. Below are two Dykes winners that we grow - "Before the Storm" and "Queen's Circle".