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Who was Jean Stevens?

The Famous New Zealand Iris

From Schreiner’s Iris Lover’s catalog for 1952. A copy of the text follows below.

The famous New Zealand Iris.

Hybridized by Mrs. Stevens and introduced to the U.S.A. by Schreiner’s.

Interest in Iris penetrates to the very extremes of the globe. In far away New Zealand, south of the tropics, there not only is interest in Iris but in the town of Wanganui we find one of the most interesting spots on earth, an Iris hybridizer’s workshop here, though removed from other hybridists by 5000 miles, Mrs. Jean Stevens has been diligently pursuing that most interesting field of plant development, plant hybridizing and production of new varieties.

In the Southern hemisphere where winter holds forth at the time we have summer, the dissimilarity of seasons only served to further stimulate this breeder. The first variety we obtained was the variety Destiny (put out under her maiden name of Burgess). This was followed shortly by Inspiration, still one of the outstanding Iris. In 1951 Mrs. Stevens’ sensational variety Pinnacle was voted the American Iris Society’s Award of Merit by an impressive vote. And it placed 35th in the list of 100 Favorite Iris of the AIS, the highest of all newcomers into this select group. These fine testimonials reflect the value placed upon this hybrist’s creations. We picture below a reproduction of the very attractive award Pinnacle has received… a fine achievement for one of the most interesting personalities it has been our privilege to know.

Many thanks to the Historic Iris Preservation Society for allowing us to reprint this article.

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