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Median Iris Society
Bennett C. Jones Award
2019 Recipient: Thomas Johnson

This year the 2019 Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing goes to Thomas Johnson, in recognition of his many contributions to median irises of all types.

Although Thomas is much younger than some of the other recipients of this award, he started at a very young age and has done nothing but produce quality irises since that time. His very first median introduction, 'Border Control,' a BB, also won the Knowlton Medal. If we could all have such a great start!

At present, Thomas's median work is concentrated mainly on SDBs. Visits to his seedling patch show amazing progress in a wide range of colors and patterns, from blues, plicatas of all types, and strongly contrasting amoenas and spot patterns, to pinks and other tangerine colors, some with striking blue beards. Some of his combinations are unorthodox from a crossing standpoint, but have netted amazing results.

In addition, Thomas's irises are not just pretty faces, but also have wonderful plant habits and bud count. Many have won awards. Thomas's other recent contribution has been a line of tetraploid MTBs, including the 2017 Williamson-White winner, 'Tic-Tac-Toe' and, more recently, the unique brown interploid hybrid 'Crossword', which combines aphylla-derived MTBs with diploid MTB lines.

Thomas has introduced medians in all classes, including 2 BBs, 7 IBs, 4 MTBs, and more than 100 SDBs. He also has introduced 6 MDBs and several AB medians. He has managed to win top awards in most of the median classes:

  • Knowlton Medal (BB): 'Border Control'
  • Williamson-White Medal (MTB): 'Tic-Tac-Toe'
  • Cook-Douglas Medal (SDB): 'Ultimate'
  • William Mohr Medal (AB): 'Octave', 'Egyptian Queen', 'Suspect'

In addition to these many accomplishments in median hybridizing, Mid-America Gardens provides a wonderful source of median irises to an increasingly shrinking market.

Thank you, Thomas, for all of your continuing efforts to put out beautiful, high-quality median irises!

Nomination forms for this awardare due each year by the end of January. They go out in the prior year's Fall issue of The Medianite, and are also available here (in PDF format):

>>>    Nomination Form - PDF   <<<
>>>    Nomination Form - MS Word doc   <<<