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Hybridizer Edith S. Cleaves (1898-1975)

Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California, USA (AIS Region 14)


Species: 'Edith Cleaves', 'Winter Gay', 'Winter Goldback', 'Winter Memories', 'Winter Mystery', 'Winter Snowflake', 'Winter Treasure'.

Tall Bearded: 'Claruth'.

From The Bulletin of the American Iris Society No. 219(October 1975): A great and gentle lady has left the iris world. Edith Stidston Cleaves of San Jose died May 17, 1975, after a massive heart attack. Mrs. Cleaves was one of irisdom's most knowledgeable authorities on irises. Although she knew, grew and hybridized tall beardeds, her special loves were species and Japanese irises, and she had sizeable collections of these as well as of the TBs. An indefatigable writer of charming letters, filled with wise and witty comment on irises, their habits and culture, Mrs. Cleaves had a worldwide correspondence. For many years she was active in the AIS Robin program and served as chairman of several robins. She also authored articles and comment on irises in the AIS BULLETIN, the Region 14 BULLETIN, and other publications.

Among her many activities was distribution of iris seeds both in the United States and abroad, and she was helpful in getting species started at Mona Vale Garden when it was established a few years ago in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least four irises hybridized by Mrs. Cleaves were named and introduced. The earliest of these was CLARUTH, a tall bearded. Later came three I. unguicularis selections, WINTER SNOWFLAKE, WINTER TREASURE, and EDITH CLEAVES. The last of these was of her own breeding, but was named and introduced by a friend. Mrs. Cleaves was the widow of Eugene J. Cleaves, a Southern Pacific employee. She leaves three daughters, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. She will be remembered by friends on three continents, not only for her iris expertise which she shared so selflessly, but for her unfailing courtesy, her gentleness and her generosity. — Ruth Rees, California

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r4 - 16 Jan 2019, davepote
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