The Flower Grower p.16, February 1920
An Iris Society is an accomplished fact, and yet, as I write, the date of the meeting for organization, (Jan. 29th) is still in the future. I can give no details of the momentous occasion and yet, if I cull successfully from our correspondence, you may find something of interest in the preliminaries.
Mr. A. J. Bliss, the foremost breeder of the Iris in England, writes under date Of October 2nd :
Mr. Wister wrote to me that he was pretty sure they would succeed in forming an Iris Society. I hope so, but I quite agree with you that " * " it should certainly be international, and an annual journal and records and illustrations are quite possible in fact can be done very well. I should hope also that it would take up the work of registration of varieties with the power to judge, and so (as far as its authority goes and it should be unquestioned if rightly and fairly managed) be able to weed out obsolete and inferior ones. " ' Also I should like to see the classification tackled by a really wide and representative body such as the Iris Society would command."
This is a comprehensive program but the developments are much along these lines. Later he writes:
I shall be very pleased to do all I can to help. Do not hesitate to tell me anything definitely that I can do. I shall be glad to do my bit.'"
We have taken him at his word and I think that when our correspondence on standards of excellence, form Of description, and definition of descriptive terms is considered and acted upon by the proper committee, his work will receive its due credit. The article on classification in the December 20th issue of The Garden (English) and notes on registration in The Gardeners Chronicle will be of great assistance as well.
Mrs. Dean, of California, wrote in late September:
Do the French and English have Iris Societies? (They have not) If so, we could form one, and all three combine into an international. Conditions are so different on this coast that we would be up against it with trial grounds in the east. It would practically be Of little benefit to us, and I too am not so sure about trial grounds. * * Mr. Mitchell of Berkeley has been anxious to have a society formed in this state, and also suggested a trial at Berkeley at the University. I have not encouraged it much. but now there is prospect of an organization to cover the whole field, perhaps it can be worked out satisfactorily."
Mr. A. C. Hall, of Pennsylvania, confesses to an interest in the check list, the standard description, and standards Of excellence ; Mrs. Samuel H. Taft, of Cincinnati, writes: I will try to be a creditable member and know many who will join ; Mr. Mohr writes from California, An Iris section in each Botanical Garden would be a great helpand create interest ;" these are but a few Of the many suggestions that have come in to us who are working for the society. Dr. Gleason, the Sec. pro tem., can undoubtedly add many more for I learn that well over four hundred announcements have been sent out.
Now for a word as to matters, which from present indications, will be brought up at the meeting in respect to the above comments. Mr. Bliss speaks of matters of policy and I think with the exception of the casual use of the word international the plans include all the points he mentions. The N. Y. Botanical Garden is to receive our assistance in the establishment of a complete Trial Ground; I expect that Prof. Beal, of Cornell. where work has already been started on the lines of the Peony and Gladiolus trials, may request co-operation also: and who knows but Mr. Mitchel, Mr. Christman, and Dr. Moore, of the Missouri Bontanical Garden, all of whom have considered at least a show planting Of Iris will be represented at the meeting. The acceptance of all these Offers (if they materialize) might be confusing in the matter of published to ports but would satisfy, for many, the fear that Mrs. Dean puts into words, and, if plant contributions were requested from each district concerned, and action put in the hands of a local committee, full acceptance might be practical. A clause in the constitution as it is at resent drafted deals with this point 0 local control; roughly it states that the Regional Vice-President shall be elected by the local members, shall (subject to the approval of the Society) have full control of all Trial grounds, exhibitions, and local meet~ ings within his district and shall be an ex-Oflicio member Of the Board of Directors. The question Of voting by mail upon important questions is also receiving serious consideration. In other words the promoters are doing their best to make the society of value to any member wherever his place of residence. The dues as at present proposed will be $3.00 per year.
Mr. Cooper has most generously offered the use of THE FLOWER GROWER as an official organ, and however few Iris you may grow, I hope that you will think it of advantage to join the Iris society.
It is an anti-climax, but please remember that though I have written in good faith I am merely a prospective member of a proposed society, actual results lie in the future.
ROBERT S. STURTEVANT.
For more information on historic Irises visit the Historic Iris Preservation Society at