Mission Statement of the American Iris Society (AIS) “The Mission of The American Iris Society is to organize and disseminate knowledge of the genus Iris, while fostering its preservation, enjoyment and continued development. The AIS welcomes all people regardless of race, religion, socio-economic status, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation.”
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A short background history of the American Iris Society (AIS)
Adopted by the AIS Board at the Spring 2017 meeting
1. Members of The American Iris Society actively support the AIS’s Mission and Vision Statements, and they are enthusiastic ambassadors who encourage the cultivation and the enjoyment of irises.
2. The AIS is the leader for providing reliable information on irises of all types: including comprehensive information about the variables of growing irises in different terrains and climates, and that information is available to all for educational purposes.
3. The AIS supports the conservation and protection of all irises, including existing wild and cultivated species.
4. The AIS supports the development of new plants with greater garden appeal, and actively champions iris hybridization.
5. The AIS is an engaged and responsible member and leader of the international iris and horticultural communities.
6. The AIS delivers reliable services to members, and AIS helps members and volunteers find and use technology to become more effective and efficient.
7. The AIS helps members develop leadership and volunteer skills, and encourages them to be proactive in improving the AIS.
8. The AIS supports and/or works closely with all affiliates, sections, cooperating societies, and other national and international societies, which share common goals to ensure a flourishing, dynamic and strong partnership.
9. The AIS high ethical standards are shared by every level of the organization, from the Board on to the local affiliates. Our standards include encouraging exemplary volunteer actions and behaviors to promote good interpersonal relationships on all levels.
10. The AIS commits to a healthful and respectful environment for all AIS members, and the public perceives the AIS as an effective and caring organization.
In 1601 Charles de l’Eculuse (Carolus Clusuis) published his Rariorium Plantarum Historia, and after having described therein not less than twenty-eight iris species, including I. susiana, he remarks, ” A long experience has taught me that irises grown from seed vary in a wonderful way.” If ever the American Iris Society needed a reason for being, it may be found in those few words from the renowned Clusius.
As early as 1823 William Prince, a pioneer Long Island nurseryman, listed over twenty kinds of irises in his catalog. During the century, irises were popular in gardens under the name of “flags.” There were other evidences from time to time of iris interest.
The real beginning of iris popularity, however, did not develop until the early 1900’s. Then Bertrand H. Farr, owner of a music store in Reading, Pennsylvania, imported a hundred or so varieties of irises from England. They excited him so much that he started a nursery in nearby Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and sent out a catalog with glowing descriptions. American gardeners have been excited and have either written of read glowing descriptions ever since!
Mr. Farr soon collected seeds from the varieties he liked the best and named some of the seedlings. In 1915 he exhibited GLORY OR READING, JUNIATA, MOUNT PENN, POCAHONTAS and QUAKER LADY at the San Francisco World’s Fair. The publicity of the Gold Medal he received set off an explosion which, coupled with the importation of the large-flowered LORD OF JUNE and ALCAZAR, resulted in the organization of the American Iris Society January 29th, 1920.
In the intervening years the American Iris Society has grown into a large vibrant organization that is dedicated to iris, the flower of the rainbow and it’s members who love them.
A more detailed history regarding the founding of the American Iris Society (AIS) may be found in the History area of the AIS website.
Learn more about the benefits of membership in the American Iris Society.