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.
For more about the benefits of membership in the American Iris Society please explore the About AIS website navigation link on the left. AIS membership information is provided there or you may follow this direct link to the Membership area of the AIS website.
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