Keith Keppel Events
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,
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, 2002 – Luncheon 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
Photo above: Our colorful speaker Keith Keppel
at the RBG event. (digital photo by
Sunday, September 29, 2002 – Judges 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
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
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
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.