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Hybridizer Ralph Conrad (1915-2003)

Van Nuys, California, USA

Ralph will be remembered for his longtime membership and active participation in The Southern California Iris Society (SCIS). At the age of 60, he retired, after many years, from the San Fernando Valley based Daily News as Automotive and Real-Estate Editor. Ralph was anxious to pursue his dream of owning property that would be conducive of growing a wide range of irises. He, his wife LaVerne, and brother-in-law Clarke Cosgrove, a recently retired educator in the Los Angeles area, purchased a beautiful six-acre plot of land in Bonsall, located in north San Diego County. The setting was idyllic for him; lots of open land, coupled with plenty of trees that provided plenty of shade for the year-round stream running through the property. This beautiful setting allowed for the growing of a wide range of iris varieties; sun-loving, shade- loving, and those needing plenty of water.
He was proud of every one of the acres of irises that dotted the landscape. When forced to pick a favorite, it was the dainty Pacificas, native to California. Though there were plenty of other flower varieties on the property, the iris was nearest and dearest to him. His dear friends, and noted hybridizers, Ben Hager and Sid Dubose often visited the property to exchange ideas on hybridizing the various Irises. One such result of Ralph’s efforts was an arilbred iris he named 'Wind Shadows'. 'Wind Shadows' helped Ralph win the coveted Clarence G. White Memorial Award for the Outstanding Aril of the Year in 1964, presented by the Aril Society International.
Irises was a family affair. Ralph and his wife LaVerne, also served as a Regional Vice President in the iris society. It was not uncommon for Ralph and LaVerne to ‘pack their bags’ and head off to some local or distant Iris Convention to serve as judges. LaVerne ’s brother Clark Cosgrove, a former president of the SCIS, was an active iris lover also. It was not uncommon to see several tour busses on the property. Together they hosted several Garden Club tours and a few Iris Conventions on their serene ‘Iris Ranch’. (See Photo)

. Ralph and his wife LaVerne

Registrations/Introductions:

Arilbred: 'Wind Shadows'.

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18
Topic revision: r5 - 31 Aug 2023, AndiRivarola
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