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Membership Has Its Privileges

Once you become a committed irisarian you may find yourself searching for more in-depth information. There are numerous organizations that offer tremendous resources plus the opportunity to engage with other iris enthusiasts through private chat rooms.

I’d like to introduce you to a number of iris-related groups you can join, should you choose. I’ve copied each organization’s stated purpose from their individual website (in italics).

American Iris Society (AIS)

“The American Iris Society is a nonprofit institution incorporated February 2, 1927, in the County of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania. By the terms of the Charter, the Corporation has no stockholders and exists for the sole purpose of promoting the culture and improvement of the Iris. The AIS encourages the cultivation, appreciation, and improvement of this lovely and diverse group of plants through education, exhibitions, field explorations, and gardening activities featuring irises.”

The story of the founding of the American Iris Society is an interesting one. You can read it here:

Tall Bearded Iris Society (TBIS)

The Tall Bearded Iris Society (TBIS) was founded to promote the distribution, cultivation, hybridization, and development of Tall Bearded irises as hardy garden perennials. TBIS is committed to educating and disseminating information about Tall Bearded irises to the gardeners of North America, and to promote activities that encourage garden planting and garden visitations.

TBIS publish its own magazine, ‘Tall Talk’, mailed to members every March and September.

Historic Iris Preservantion Society (HIPS)

“The Society was created to help preserve our iris heritage by locating at risk irises and bringing them together with irisarians who want to grow and perpetuate them. Of equal importance is the establishment of an extensive collection of reference material relating to early iris history. HIPS is the common thread that binds together irisarians everywhere.”

An iris cultivar is considered historic thirty years after its introduction. HIPS publishes ‘Roots’, a magazine devoted to historic irises, twice a year.

Reblooming Iris Society

“The RIS was organized in 1967 and is a section of the American Iris Society devoted to promoting interest and development of all iris types having more than one bloom season per year.”

Reblooming is not an exact science. It depends on which climate zone you live in and it depends on that year’s weather conditions. But, hybridizers are working to create more reblooming cultivars and to “fix” the attribute more reliably.

Take Your Pick

You can join any, or several of these groups if you’re interested.

An extra bonus is that most of the websites offer back issues of their publications, accessible online. That, plus much more valuable information can keep you occupied and entertained through a long winter or two, maybe more…

Let me try to clarify how all these organizations align with each other.

At the top of the pyramid is The American Iris Society. AIS then sanctions other “Affiliated Societies” such as those I’ve listed above. Some are called “AIS Sections”, others are called “AIS Cooperating Societies”.

You can find a complete listing of those affiliates on the AIS website here:

Looking for Local Groups?

If you want to drill down even deeper you can find AIS Regions here:

When you get to that level you can find local iris clubs. These clubs offer you a chance to find local iris gardens you can visit. You can also learn about any activities offered by that club. Just click on the link on that page of the AIS website for your state. You’ll find a listing of all the local iris clubs in your region.

Irisarians are a friendly group willing to share information and, often, willing to share rhizomes. After all, we have to lift and divide our iris clumps every few years. What better way to make friends than sharing the bounty?

As they say, membership has its privileges.

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