A Hybridizerís Hybridizer
- Born in Northern Colorado, his first exposure to irises was a trip to Boulder, CO to meet J. D. Long and visit Long's Gardens.
- During high school, he earned enough money mowing and raking
lawns to order 6 irises for $5 from Schreiner’s Gardens
- After two disastrous springs in a row in Colorado, a friend
of Bennett’s told him of the ideal climate and growing
conditions in the Portland area.
- So in 1941, with new bride Betty Stuart, he picked up and moved
to the Promised Land.
- After serving in the Navy during WWII, he bought the parcel
of land where he built the house he resided in for over 50 years
in Raleigh Hills.
- In 1946 he began corresponding with the leading hybridizers
of the day, and with them was among the first to incorporate I. pumila into
his breeding program.
- This led to the birth of the Standard Dwarf Bearded Iris that
we know today.
- Through the years Bennett has introduced over 100 irises, in
classifications ranging from Miniature Dwarfs through Tall Beardeds
and even Pacific Coast Natives.
- He is best known for his pioneering work in the SDB class,
launching contrasting beards, advancements in form, success in
improving colors and exploring new colors and patterns.
- His Sass Medalist, Peachy Face, was one of the first Intermediates
recognized as having some degree of fertility.
- Cook-Douglas Medals:
- Cherry Garden
- Gingerbread Man
- Cotton Blossom
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Rain Dance
- Sun Doll
- Orange Tiger
- Bedford Lilac
- Dot Com
- Sass Medal:
- Knowlton Medal: