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Median Iris Society
Bennett C. Jones Award
2018 Recipient: Vicki Craig

The 2018 Bennett C. Jones Award for Outstanding Median Hybridizing went to Vicki Craig, in recognition of her work, together with her late husband, Jim, to break new ground in median iris breeding.

Vicki and Jim Craig devoted many years on the development of tetraploid MTBs from Iris aphylla, a project originally launched by Ben Hager. The introductions from this breeding program have included not only MTBs, but have spanned the breadth of the median classes with IBs, BBs, and even SDBs � the smallest examples of aphylla-derived tetraploids ever produced. This breeding program has successfully brought out many of the recessive color patterns that were originally not to be found in MTBs, including pinks and oranges, tangerine beards, dominant amoenas and neglectas, and different types of plicatas. It has also resulted in tetraploid MTBs with true MTB sizing and proportions, a goal that has long eluded MTB hybridizers.

Craig irises have been widely incorporated into other hybridizers' work, especially tetraploid MTB lines, a lasting legacy to their long work and dedication. In fact, the 2017 Williamson-White winner, Thomas Johnson's 'Tic Tac Toe', has a Craig MTB, 'Enriched,' as one of its parents (with one of Ben Hager's irises as the other).

Craig median introductions span the gamut of iris classes and include:

  • BBs: 'Bold Crystal', 'Breakout', 'Classic Image'. 'Elegant Lass'. 'Fascinating', 'Grooving', 'Ice Wings', 'Keeper', 'Moontime', 'Oops', 'Orange Rush', 'Quinalt', 'Royal Ovation', 'Simple Joys', 'Spy'.

  • IBs: Adopt Me', 'Auspicious', 'Blowout', 'Captured', 'Commotion', 'Dancing Fountain', 'Departure', 'Fashion Holiday', 'Forceful', 'Fresh Image', 'Garden Garnet', 'Inner Gleam', 'King', 'Lapwing', 'Little Stylist', 'Little Sunrise', 'Luscious Lass', 'Minion', 'Morning Smile', 'Mystical', 'Passage', 'Reformation', 'Sailing Free', 'Saucy', 'Shining Debut', 'Step Ahead', 'Sultry Dreams', 'Takeoff', 'Tie Dyed Tyke'.

  • MTBs: 'Chartres', 'Easy', 'Enriched', 'Foxy Lass', 'Hoodsport', 'Little Misty', 'Maidenhood', 'My Fantasy', 'My Souvenir', 'Night Spirit', 'Payoff', 'Pink Flyaway', 'Pioneer Pink', 'Please', 'Priceless', 'Rave Review', 'Relight', 'Return To Me', 'Sailboat', 'Say Red', 'Scandalous', 'Smash', 'Spell', 'Sunshiny', 'Sun Spirit', 'White Wine'.

  • SDBs: 'Arrival', 'Honeylove', 'My Dearie', 'Sailboat', 'Slick Trick', 'Smooth', 'Twixie'.

  • Species: 'Minnow'.

Although their introductions often received less attention from judges than those from other hybridizers' more conventional breeding programs, the Craigs have been "hybridizer's hybridizers," dedicated to the more difficult path of working with iris species to expand the genetic reservoir of the tetraploid medians on which future hybridizers in this area rely. Bennett Jones was also such a pioneer, helping establish the SDB class by using the dwarf species Iris pumila with TBs. It is fitting that the award given in Bennett's honor recognize not only conventional hybridizing efforts, but also those that break new ground, such as the work of Vicki (and Jim) Craig.

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   <<<