In 2006, the North American Dykes Medal-winning Iris collection was relocated parallel to the English Garden along one edge of Outlaw Field. To heighten the potential year-round beauty and interest of this area, a sunset color scheme of flowering perennials was incorporated to create this herbaceous border. Designed especially for IBG, this garden requires only modest amounts of irrigation.
The first Dykes Medalists housed at IBG were planted in the late 1980s. The Dykes Medal is an annual American Iris Society award for an iris of North American origin. The medal is named for William Ricketson Dykes, who wrote “The Genus Iris” and “A Handbook of Garden Iris.” Since 1927, more than 50 iris have been honored. Because of the high standards set for a Dykes iris, several years may pass before another exceptional one is developed. The Idaho Botanical Garden is fortunate to have Dykes Medalists from 1929 through 2001.
As you walk by this collection, it becomes evident what radical changes have taken place in the Iris since 1927, thanks to the efforts of hybridizers through the years.
NORTH AMERICAN DYKES MEDAL AWARD WINNERS AT IBG
1929 Dauntless 1971 Debby Rairdon
1932 Rameses 1973 New Moon
1933 Coralie 1974 Shipshape
1938 Copper Lustre 1975 Pink Taffeta
1939 Rosy Wings 1978 Bride’s Halo
1940 Wabash 1980 Mystique
1941 The Red Douglas 1986 Son of Norway
1942 Great Lakes 1988 Titan’s Glory
1947 Chivalry 1992 Dusky Challenger
1948 Ola Kala 1993 Edith Wolford
1950 Blue Rhythm 1994 Silverado
1951 Cherie 1995 Honky Tonk Blues
1953 Truly Yours 1997 Thornbird
1956 First Violet 1998 Conjuration
1958 Blue Sapphire 2000 Stairway to Heaven
1963 Amethyst Flame 2001 Yaquina Blue
1964 Allegiance 2002 Mesmerizer
1965 Pacific Panorama
Tall bearded irises require well-drained soil and prefer somewhat sandy conditions. They do best when fed annually. When dividing irises, a clean, sharp knife can quickly cut away any signs of softness or rot to protect the health of the rhizomes. Irises like to be watered but hate to stand in water. Clumps should be divided and reset every 3 years.