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   The Keith Keppel Events


The Keith Keppel Events

Our colorful guest speaker, Keith Keppel at the RBG event.The Keith Keppel Events were held in late September 2002. This was the program schedule:

Thursday, September 26, 2002 – Keith Keppel traveled from his home in the state of Oregon to Buffalo, NY. 

Friday, September 27, 2002 - Meet the Hybridizer Keith Keppel. Dinner and program with Western New York Iris Society (WNYIS) -- and Canadian Iris Society (CIS) folks as well! A Potluck dinner took place at the home of one of our WNYIS members...  featuring authentic Buffalo chicken wings and roast beef on kimmelweck, two specialties of the Buffalo, NY area. 

Saturday, September 28, 2002Luncheon and program with CIS and WNYIS at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. This was in conjunction with the CIS AGM. Keppel spoke on the following topic:  “From Australia to Oregon”, which is in Keith's words, “....this would give a little information on Barry Blyth (Tempo Two Nursery) and Graeme Grosvenor (Rainbow Ridge) and their irises, then on to Oregon and what I'm doing there...”. Quite interesting.

Photo above: Our colorful speaker Keith Keppel at the RBG event. (digital photo by Chris Hollinshead)

Sunday, September 29, 2002Judges training session with Keppel in Buffalo, NY area.
Topic for Judges training was: "Take Your Plic", a two-hour training on judging the plicatas, including history and genetics and a discussion of glaciatas and luminatas, with slides. AIS Judges training credit 2 hours was obtained by those attending and writing the required small test.

Sunday, September 29, 2002 – Keppel to returned to Oregon. 

...and who is Keith Keppel?
Gold Medal Award to Keith Keppel
By Bennett Jones, Oregon

The gold medal is the highest award of the American Iris Society. It is given in recognition of continuous, dedicated service to the Society. This is certainly an accurate account of Keith's commitment over the past many years.

Keith became interested in irises in 1953 upon discovering a planting of them in a neighboring garden. Soon afterwards he began to grow them in his garden, with SNOW FLURRY (Rees '39) among his most notable acquisitions. In 1957, from an ad in a gardening magazine, he learned of the American Iris Society. He promptly sent in his membership fee along with an inquiry, “How do I become a judge?”. In due time he learned of and fulfilled those requirements, becoming among the most discerning in that area.

A graduate of Cal State Polly-Tech College, San Luis Obispo, with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and an interest in plant breeding, Keith experienced early success when one of his early introductions, BABBLING BROOK, was awarded the Dykes Medal in 1972. He was the first editor of Flight Lines when that feature was added to the AIS Bulletin, and he served a term as vice president of the Median Iris Society. He was a contributing writer for The World of Irises, and a number of his articles may be found in our AIS Bulletins. He was appointed to a part term on the Board of Directors (1976-1977), then was elected to a full term ending in 1980. In 1982 Keith assumed the editorship of the AIS Bulletin, a position he held for five years, providing some of our most informative publications.

With a penchant for proofing copy and diagramming pedigrees, Keith served for a number of years on the registration committee assisting Kay Nelson in her position as Registrar and Advertising editor. Upon their marriage in 1992 the office was moved to California and later to Oregon. Following Kay's untimely death in 1994, Keith continued as Registrar, recording registrations and introductions of irises world wide. He is responsible for compiling and publishing the booklet of Registrations and Introductions, and at the end of the decade, the Iris Checklist.

Keith's other awards include the Foster Memorial Plaque, the highest award of the British Iris Society, the aforementioned Dykes Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Hybridizer's Medal. Trophies from home and abroad are too numerous to mention, and now, most deservedly, Keith is the recipient of the AIS Gold Medal.