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Median Iris Society
The Bennett C. Jones Award

The Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing is an annual award given by the Median Iris Society to an iris hybridizer who has made noteworthy contributions to the breeding of median irises.

In 2006, President Perry Dyer conducted a tribute to Bennett Jones detailing his history and early work that resulted in forming median classes, his award winners and contributions to the iris world. The culmination was the presentation of the new Median Society award: The Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing, which will continue in future years, to Bennett as first recipient.

A Hybridizer's Hybridizer
  • Born in Northern Colorado, his first exposure to irises was a trip to Boulder, CO to meet J. D. Long and visit Long's Gardens.
  • During high school, he earned enough money mowing and raking lawns to order 6 irises for $5 from Schreiner’s Gardens
  • After two disastrous springs in a row in Colorado, a friend of Bennett’s told him of the ideal climate and growing conditions in the Portland area.
  • So in 1941, with new bride Betty Stuart, he picked up and moved to the Promised Land.
  • After serving in the Navy during WWII, he bought the parcel of land where he built the house he resided in for over 50 years in Raleigh Hills.
  • In 1946 he began corresponding with the leading hybridizers of the day, and with them was among the first to incorporate I. pumila into his breeding program.
  • This led to the birth of the Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris that we know today.
  • Through the years Bennett has introduced over 100 irises, in classifications ranging from Miniature Dwarfs through Tall Beardeds and even Pacific Coast Natives.
  • He is best known for his pioneering work in the SDB class, launching contrasting beards, advancements in form, success in improving colors and exploring new colors and patterns.
  • His Sass Medalist, Peachy Face, was one of the first Intermediates recognized as having some degree of fertility.
  • Cook-Douglas Medals:
    • Cherry Garden
    • Gingerbread Man
    • Cotton Blossom
    • Kentucky Bluegrass
    • Rain Dance
    • Sun Doll
    • Orange Tiger
    • Bedford Lilac
    • Dot Com
  • Sass Medal:
    • Peachy Face
  • Knowlton Medal:
    • Frenchi
    • Crystal Bay
Thank you Bennett for all the beauty and wisdom you have brought into our lives.

Winners of the Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing

Click on the Hybridizer's name to view a short biography.

Year Hybridizer
2020Donald Spoon, Cross Juncion, VA
2019Thomas Johnson, Salem, OR
2018Vicki Craig, Kingmann AZ
2017Perry Dyer, Blanchard, OK
2016Lynda Miller, Canby, OR
2015Jean Witt, Des Moines, WA
2014Lynn Markham, Lunenburg, MA
2013Ken Fisher, Bella Vista, AR
2012Marky Smith, Yakima, WA
2011Keith Keppel, Salem, OR
2010Terry Aitken, Vancouver, WA
2009Paul Black, Salem, OR
2008O. David Niswonger, Cape Girardeau, MO
2007Allan Ensminger, Lincoln, NE
2006Bennett C. Jones, Portland, OR

Nomination forms for this award are due each year by the end of February in the year they are awarded. They go out to members in the prior year's Fall issue of The Medianite, and are also available here:

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