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Median Iris Society
Bennett C. Jones Award
2010 Recipient: Terry Aitken

The Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing this year went to Terry Aitken of Vancouver, Washington in recognition of his more than 30 years of contributions to median irises.

Terry Aitken's hybridizing program of more than 30 years (first introductions were in 1983) is extensive and varied, with hundreds of reselected seedlings and thousands of new seedlings on display each year in all of the classifications that will grow in the Pacific Northwest. This includes all four median classes (which isnít true for some other median hybridizers who specialize in one or two classes). Terry recognized early in his career that not all IBs are infertile, and he has used them to great advantage in his breeding programs.

Terry's goal has always been to produce top-quality introductions. In recognition of that effort, he has received: five Sass Medals for his IBs 'Hellcat 'in 1990, 'Maui Moonlight' in 1993, 'Hot Spice' in 1997, 'Dark Waters' in 2000 and 'Maui Gold' in 2001; one Cook-Douglas Medal for his breakthrough SDB 'Pele' in 1999; one Knowlton Medal for his BB 'Cranapple' in 2001; one Williamson-White Medal for his MTB 'Apricot Drops' in 2003; and one Caparne-Welch Medal for his MDB 'Tiny Titan' in 2009, in addition to a number of AMs. His SDB 'Pele' (93, CDM 99) was a real breakthrough. It may be one of the most dramatic and important hybrids to come out of his seedling patch, producing revolutionary progeny in its MDB, SDB, IB, MTB and BB seedlings. His recent work on rebloomers is has produced beautiful irises that rebloom reliably in milder climates, and a few that rebloom in the more northern climes, where reliable rebloom is quite rare. For example, his 1997 intro, 'Champagne Encore' (IB) is one of the most reliable reblooming irises in difficult places like New England and central/eastern Canada (zones 5 and 4)! Terry has also been recognized for his efforts with the AIS Hybridizerís Medal in 1996, the AIS Distinguished Service Medal in 2005, and the BIS Sir Michael Foster Memorial Plaque in 2008.

In addition to his own hybridizing efforts, Terry supports other median iris hybridizers, introducing for several smaller hybridizers who otherwise might have difficulty getting their irises into commerce through his widely distributed catalog and web site. He has served as AIS President 2002-2005, Guest Editor of the AIS Bulletin July 1987, Editor of the 75th Anniversary Issue of the AIS Bulletin May 1995, Editor of the AIS Bulletin July 1996-December 2001, and Managing Editor of the AIS Bulletin January 2007-present. He also actively supports upcoming irisarians and judges by giving programs and judges training sessions around the country, many of which are on median irises.

Thank you, Terry, for your continued contributions to the world of irises!

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).

>>>    Nomination Form   <<<