Bennett C. Jones Award
2007 Recipient: Allan Ensminger
It’s official. Allan Ensminger of Lincoln, NE has won another award. And it is a big one. On May 8, 2007 during “Prairie Gold” the Median Iris Society and Region 21 Spring Meeting and Garden Tour, Allan was presented with the Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing. The presentation was made by MIS president Perry Dyer of Blanchard, OK. This was only the second time this award has been made since it was just established in May 2006 by the Median Iris Society.
In making the 2007 award, President Dyer summarized some of Ensminger’s truly important contributions to the genus iris. Region 21 RVP Gary White, wrote a detailed article in the 50th Anniversary History Edition of The Medianite, on pages 56-58, regarding Ensminger’s hybridizing career. He is affectionately known as the “Wizard of Odds” for his intensive work with variegated, broken color irises. Everyone in AIS and MIS is probably familiar with his broken color varieties ‘Batik’ (86, BB) and ‘Hubbub’ (89, IB).
During the presentation, Jean Morris of Ballwin, MO recited Ensminger’s famous poem Impossible, Impossible, about iris hybridizing and which she had reconstructed from memory (she has a special talent for poetry). Later on Allan told her, “You did pretty well, you only missed two words [out of 235]!” In his acceptance speech, Ensminger thanked many people and it was clear to all just why he is considered the patriarch of the Lincoln Iris Society. He was their first president and still attends their monthly meetings at age 95. He was also a former RVP and Bulletin editor for Region 21. A fun evening was had by all with a local fiddler, awards to local AIS youth members and the Region 21 Distinguished Service Award presented to another former RVP, Carolyn Lingenfelter of Norfolk, NE.
Article by Jim Morris
Nomination forms for this award are due each year by December 31. To make nominations, click on the link below to obtain a copy of the Nomination Form (PDF).