Bennett C. Jones Award
2009 Recipient: Paul Black
The Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing this year went to Paul Black of Salem, Oregon in recognition of his many and varied contributions to median irises of all classes.
Paul Black has been hybridizing irises for decades. He hybridizes in all bearded classes, although his favorite class is Standard Dwarf Beardeds (SDBs). One of his major contributions to the SDB class was ‘Chubby Cheeks’, a beautifully formed plicata that has become the most used cultivars for producing both SDBs and IBs. It has been used not only to produce new plicatas, but to enhance the form of SDBs in a host of other colors and patterns.
Paul works with multiple median classes and has been awarded several medals, including the Cook-Douglas, Sass, Mohr and Knowlton medals, as well as Walther Cups and innumerable convention awards. He also hybridizes MTBs, with an AM for his aphylla-based MTB 'Blue Chip Stock’. More important than the medals he’s won are the characteristics of the plants he produces—fertile IBs, starting with ‘Sinister Desire’ and ‘Red Zinger’; BBs that have good form and bud count; and SDBs of multiple colors and patterns with fabulous form, great vigor and impeccable growth habits. A talented hybridizer with a great eye, he comes up with new colors and patterns without ever forgetting that his creations need vigor, bud count, branching and a floriferous habit each and every year, as well as sterling substance to hold those magnificent flowers together. This is a very big order and Paul accomplishes it with every class he works with.
Paul gives judge's training all over the United States, is active in every median class and generously shares his plants, time and knowledge with everyone. He continues to change the face of the various median iris classes, ensuring that each class will never lack for bud count, branching or distinctiveness. Paul generously gives credit to many other hybridizers whose creations are in the background of his introductions, but nobody pulls it all together in each and every median class as well as Paul Black.
Thank you, Paul, for everything you have done for median irises over the years and will continue to do in the future!
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).