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Hybridizer Fred DeForest (1896-1960)

Early the morning of August 9, 1960, not only Oregon but the entire iris world, lost one of its outstanding iris hybridizers. A man who dearly loved his iris, Fred DeForest joined the American Iris Society in 1931 and that date might well be termed the crossroads of his life. For from the days when he was associated with his father in marine motors, through varied pursuits which included poultry breeding and operating a trading post in the Southwest, no occupation was ever so absorbing to him as his work with iris.

His experiences in service with the U.S. Cavalry on the Mexican border in 1916, in trading-post activities in the Navajo country, as well as his years in Alaska, all left their mark in the interesting names some of his beloved iris bear. Reminiscent of the Southwest is the name TONALEA, the place name of a red lake in that area. And he remembered his days in Alaska by naming another iris SHISHALDIN, after an Alaska Mountain.

While managing a large poultry ranch known as the Burdell Ranch at Navato, in the Bay Region of California, Mr. DeForest visited the gardens of Professor Sydney B. Mitchell, and his future was cast. At that time the great trailblazer, William Mohr, had only recently passed on and Professor Mitchell had taken up the baton. The commercial gardens of Mr. Carl Salbach, at Berkeley, too, were frequently visited by Mr. DeForest, as often as his work at the chicken ranch allowed occasions which were all too infrequent for him. He had gotten the iris bug.

Moving to Monroe, Oregon, in the early 1920's, the groundwork for the famous DeForest iris was being laid with careful and attentive breeding. Features that are earmarks of a DeForest iris are the high quality of fine branching stems, a heritage of the California breeding, and broad, rounded petal form. His iris AL BORAK always elicited a chuckle from him as he would point it out with: "Now there is one that I like. See the rounded petal and breadth of petal."

His latest American award, the Cook Memorial Cup, for his iris VIOLET HILLS, at the 1960 AIS convention, pleased him greatly since this variety is descended from some of his earliest breeding efforts. While iris always held first place in his interest, daylilies and, later, the Exbury hybrid azaleas, too, were plants of great interest to him and he had begun breeding programs in both of these families of plants. as well.

He gained worldwide recognition as an iris breeder and was the recipient of the following awards and honors: The Dykes Medal, in 1952, for iris ARGUS PHEASANT. The AIS Hybridizer's Medal, in 1952. The Dykes Medal, in 1956, for iris FIRST VIOLET. The International Premio Firenze, in 1957, for iris REHOBETH. The AIS Cook Memorial Cup, in 1960, for iris VIOLET HILLS. The British Iris 'Society's Foster Memorial Plaque, in 1960. Also, numerous Honorable Mentions and Awards of Merit.

He leaves his wife, Caroline, one son. Fred DeForest, Jr., and two granddaughters.

-Robert Schreiner. (American Iris Society Bulletin, Issue 159, October 1960, pp 44-45)


Pacific Coast Native: 'Ardis', 'Come Spring', 'Day In June', 'Dewy Moon', 'Eleven Thirty', 'Estrellita', 'Headliner', 'Lively Lady', 'Loyola', 'Olompali', 'Pearly Gates', 'Presto', 'Spider', 'Wahkeena'.

Tall Bearded A-G: 'Adelanto'; 'Al Borak', 'Alice Christy', 'All Honey', 'Alona', 'Amadeo', 'Apple Valley', 'Argus Pheasant', 'Azalea Tint', 'Azulejo', 'Ballet Russe', 'Beaudette', 'Black Orchid', 'Blue Snowflake', 'Bridal Sweet', 'Bright Future', 'Bright Gem', 'Bright 'N' Fair', 'Brown Study', 'Budding Spring', 'By Line', 'Calderilla', 'Canby Sunset', 'Candle Magic', 'Canyon Sky', 'Capriccio', 'Captain From Castile', 'Carabella', 'Carla', 'Caroline Jane', 'Casa Morena', 'Cascade Dawn', 'Cedarbark', 'Chiara', 'Chief Poking Fire', 'Chiffon Pink', 'Chi Yun', 'Christmas Angel', 'Circle D', 'Clear Lake', 'Clear Sailing', 'Cloudcap', 'Cloud Light', 'Colonel Primrose', 'Coloratura', 'Color Carnival', 'Copper River', 'Copper Sky', 'Coral King', 'Corallina', 'Country Editor', 'Countryside', 'Daffy', 'Dawn Crest', 'Dawn Star', 'Desert Son', 'Ebony Isle', 'Ebony Sheen', 'Edenlure', 'Egyptianella', 'Elfin Tracery', 'Elysian Gold', 'Envoy', 'Fairy Blush', 'Fanciful', 'Far Gold', 'Fashion News', 'Fete Day', 'Fiesta Star', 'Fires of Autumn', 'First Violet', 'Flashy', 'Fluritza', 'Fortune's Favor', 'Frances Kent', 'Full Measure', 'Gala Finale', 'Garnet Flame', 'Gay Border', 'Glowport', 'Golden Chance', 'Goldendale', 'Golder Plover', 'Golden Slippers', 'Gold Quest', 'Gorgeous Jorje', 'Grand Teton', 'Gypsy Classic',

-- Main.RPries - 2012-05-18

IAttachmentActionSizeDateWhoSorted ascendingComment
Wills_Douglas_DeForest.jpgjpgWills_Douglas_DeForest.jpgmanage 37 K 13 May 2014 - 12:26BobPries Curtesy of Mike Lowe from original HIPS website

Revision r32 - 13 Sep 2017 - 18:13 - Main.Betsy881
Revision r31 - 02 Aug 2017 - 23:05 - Main.Harloiris
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