Spring Fever Symposium

Kevin Vaughn

Morning Talk - "Not your Grandmother's Irises"
Afternoon Talk - "Hybridizer on the Loose"

A native of Massachusetts, Kevin Vaughn started hybridizing at age 9 and quickly had success, introducing the Sempervivums 'Silvertone', Emerald Spring' and 'Greenwich Time' from his first crosses. Nearly 80 Sempervivum hybrids of his creation have been introduced with 'Lipstick' and 'Jungle Shadows' winning awards from the Royal Horticultural Society. Iris hybridizing started shortly thereafter and his first iris introduction, 'Soothsayer' was in 1974. Several Miniature Tall Bearded iris followed, the hybrids 'Little Bluebeard' and 'Real Jazzy' were both award winners with American Iris Society. Hosta pioneer Frances Williams gave Kevin a number of very choice hosta with the advice "it would be really good if you started crossing these". He did and produced many award-winning cultivars. From this work, Kevin was awarded the Eunice Fisher Hybridizing and Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award.

Kevin's interest in the inheritance of variegation lead to a PhD in botany from Miami of Ohio and a career with the USDA in Mississippi, investigating weeds. In Mississippi, Kevin started to work on Louisiana and spuria irises as well as daylilies. All of these programs have been successful, with 20 Louisiana irises, 3 spuria irises and 9 daylilies finding their way to the market. Kevin's first Louisiana iris cross gave the highly popular 'Red Velvet Elvis' that went on to win the DeBaillon Medal, Caillet Cup and Charles Arny Award. Kevin became president of the Society for Louisiana Irises and won both their Service and Distinguished Merit Awards. During this time, Kevin co-wrote the book "Louisiana Irises: Taming of a Native American Wildflower". Besides these horticultural efforts, Kevin produced 18 Tradescantia hybrids, 3 border bearded irises and started programs in hellebores and daffodils.

Retirement in 2010 saw a move to a nice piece of property in Salem, Oregon where the climate is perfect for growing all sorts of plants. Besides the projects started in Mississippi, the Sempervivum breeding has resumed at a rapid pace and the hybridizing of iris of all types, daylilies and daffodils increased ten-fold. Pulmonaria, heleniums, asters and penstemon are recent additions to the hybridizing program. Despite this recent move, Kevin's Garden has been on the Pacific Regional daylily tour, the Tall Bearded Iris Society tour and the American Iris Society National Convention. 2015 saw the publication of his book, "Beardless Irises: a Plant for Every Garden Situation" that has drawn high praise in reviews. A book on Sempervivum is currently being written and scheduled for publication in early 2017.

There will be irises and other unique plants for sale during the symposium. Lunch is included in the symposium price.

Registration Early Bird (before 3/18/16)
Registration After March 18
Iowa Arboretum Membership

We would also like to give you an opportunity to become a member of the Iowa Arboretum or to renew your existing membership. Take advantage of the reduced registration fees for members. Memberships are for one year and may begin at any time. Members receive reduced rates for workshops and events, the quarterly Arboretum newsletter, a 10% discount in the gift shop and reciprocal admission privileges at many other botanical gardens and aboreta.

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