South Central Region 2020 Report
Suzanne Butler, Chillicothe, TX
As I became more acquainted with the HIPS website, the Guardian Garden pages and the GG Forum, I reached out to my ‘local’ iris club, the Benson Iris Society, Wichita Falls, TX. They are 65 miles east of me. I started a Breeders Collection for Z.G.Benson varieties. The club is named for him and his granddaughter is past president.  Sadly she only has a few but the search is on! I made a request to the members to search their records and iris beds for his varieties and have been rewarded with 3 varieties so far.
I also obtained an additional Four GG varieties and six Historical varieties that I did not have previously. I expect more in 2021.
Another result of the request was learning of a second ‘local’ breeder, L. Brooks of Iowa Park, TX.  The search is now on for his varieties. I have two ‘on order’ from members.
During my research into Z. Benson and L. Brooks varieties, I sent a message to Mr. Phil Edinger to see if he grew “My Lady” (he had the photo credit).
We discovered an error in the AIS WIKI database. The variety credited to Z. Benson was actually bred by E. P. McKinney 1924.  Benson’s “My Lady” was never registered. Mr. Edinger and Mary Rhoades, granddaughter of Mr. Benson, both confirmed this.  Unfortunately, Mr. Benson did not describe it either. So it is truly lost unless a local member finds it growing in her yard . The error was reported to AIS WIKI administrators.
Before the annual iris show was cancelled due to Covid 19 restrictions, I made two large display posters explaining and demonstrating Purple Base Foliage. 2021’s iris show is in the planning stage just in case restrictions are lifted. Hopefully the PBF demo will open another aspect of growing iris and encourage participation in the survey.
Last fall, heavy maintenance was made in the HIPS Display Garden, Chillicothe.  Beds were re-dug, amendments added, iris divided & replanted.
Labels were re-glued or replaced. The iris were fertilized and pathways sprayed for fall weeds.
Many of the divisions were given away to local citizens. Grab-bags were placed at a couple of businesses as free gifts from “Chillicothe, The Iris Village” to tourists stopping in our town.
I wrote a short article for ROOTS about the NOIDs in the HIPS Display Garden of Chillicothe, TX.

North Central Regional Director’s Report 2020
Where to begin? It was an unprecedented year! Hate that phrase! Wonderful to be in the garden and thoroughly enjoyed this years iris bloom! Almost the only thing resembling normalcy this year.
The big thing we did was an iris dispersion. Tammy Skahan (HIPS Preservation Chairperson) refereed Michele McElmeel from WI to us. She sent a good sized batch of historic iris as she downsized and we sold them off the HIPS Facebook pages. It was fast and furious. The bottom line was we netted $650 after shipping costs. We also had a batch of little rhizomes deemed to small for sale which were planted and will be inserted into a future (hopefully there will be more) sale to benefit HIPS. A great success!
We also helped promote the Mahan book sales on various Facebook pages. That was fun sparking interest in our beloved old iris.
At home in our Eagle Ridge Iris Garden’s we added 1346 varieties for a approximate total of 5,000 varieties grown. Who’s the iris craziest of all? We also have been very busy mapping and working on getting the historics reported to the Data Bank. We have crossed our list with the Guardian Gardens list to see what’s rare. We are increasing our iris for future sales back to the public @ Making sure that the old iris don’t disappear. We also anticipate receiving the start of one of the National Collections of MTBS from Nancy McDonald. If all that was not enough we have also begun to hybridize. We have quite a few bee pods from very fertile historics and are very anxious to see what comes from them. There will be Langton/Tibbs iris in your future.

       Respectfully submitted, Delane H Langton

2020 Membership Report
We have:   668 Domestic, 26 Canadian, 27  International, and 36 E-members for a total of 750 members, at the time of the ROOTS mailing.

  • 4 Complimentary members
  • 246 Single annual
  • 18 Dual annual
  • 108 Life of which 4 are still unconfirmed.
  • 20 Dual life
  • 286 Single triennial
  • 32 Dual triennial
  • 36 Ememberships

I have started the process of entering the members that have joined since the work began on the website update.  It will be a slow process, but a good opportunity to double check some addresses, etc.
Laetitia has been amazing thru the whole process of getting the data ready for website import, etc.
Lori Vandette
Membership Chair

Orders received through the HIPS shop for 2020 showed activity in all categories.  The most orders were received for books listed on the site and by far the greatest number of book orders were for the new acquisition “Classic Irises” by Clarence Mahan.   Other requests were sparser, but similar to the last several years.
Summary of Major Shop Activity 2020:

  • George H. Edmonds, author of “Dream Gardener”, contacted me and sent us an additional 24 copies of his book free of cost. It is again listed on our site.
  • In October we purchased 480 copies of the Mahan book for $3.00 a copy plus shipping. I listed it for $30.00 and we have already sold more than half of them.
  • Iris Chronicles, total of 32 products, were scanned by Cathy Egerer and were converted to digital products. An offering for all of them via a flash drive was also added to the inventory.
  • AIS bulletins previously listed were deleted for sale since these products are now freely accessible on the WiKi Iris Encyclopedia.
  • Two other digital products were also added to the storefront: US Dept of Agriculture Bulletin #1406 and Louisville Hybridizers of the Past by Robert Strohman.

A SPECIAL NOTE:  In August we received a challenging order.  It was for a Bliss book, an Edmond’s book as well as a copy of every single AIS Bulletin and Iris Chronicle.  A payment of $375 was sent for this purchase.   I quickly realized that I could not copy the documents for this request on my own machine and that having each of these 58 publications reprinted would be monumentally expensive.
I called and spoke to the buyer and explained the situation.   I told him I could immediately send him the books and a few AIS Bulletins that I already had copies of, but that the rest of the order were originals and having all of them recopied was beyond our capacity.    I also told him that in the future we were hoping to have them digitized because as they stood, their legibility was very challenging.
I explained that I would be refund most of his money, but he stopped me in mid-sentence and graciously donated the entire amount to us instead.
In the meantime Cathy Egerer was busily scanning catalogues.  I contacted her about the decision I had made and that is when she offered to also scan the Iris Chronicles.   After the scanning was completed this Fall, Cathy sent our donor a flash drive that included all the Iris Chronicles.
Sales Detail for 2020:AIS Bulletins: 3

  1. Bliss book: 8
  2. Cornell Bulletin: 3
  3. Dream Gardener book: 4
  4. Flash Drives: 2
  5. Iris Chronicles: 5
  6. Mahan book:   244 copies as of January 10, 2021
  7. Note cards: 3
  8. ROOTS back copies: 8
  9. Wallace and Company Catalogue: 3

Review of Expenses:  (Excel Spreadsheet available on request)

  • Shipping: I requested a total of $475.00 from the Treasurer in 2020. This included purchase for shipping envelopes and a few reprinting of AIS Bulletins that I could not do on my own copier.  The bulk of the expense was for shipping the Mahan book to domestic customers.
  • Purchase of Mahan Book: $1440 for 480 copies plus $750 shipping via media mail.  But this payment of expense was managed by the Treasurer.
  • The Mahan book was shipped free to US locations and overseas buyers paid for flat rate Priority Mail to their location. We were unable to use Woo Commerce for overseas purchases and some of the Woo Commerce updates caused other ordering problems.  (Some buyers were allowed to purchase the Mahan book C.O.D.)
  • We used $25.00 as a stipend for a submitted article for the Fall 2020 issue of ROOTS.

As of today, I have a reserve of $57.00.Suggestion:  Since several issues surfaced this year, our continued use of  WooCommerce for our Store front should be critically reviewed. I continued to update the Book of Business for the Publication Sales Chair position to reflect any changes that occur.
Respectfully submitted  Jan 10, 2021
Susan A. Flow
Publication Sales Chair

2020 Annual Report of HIPS Preservation Projects
Having taken on the role in June of 2020, there have been 4 preservation opportunities that
came in. Out of the 4, only 1 became a project, which was a downsizing of a members historic
collection in Wisconsin. The irises went to the North Central regional lead and proceeds went to
HIPS. The details can be found in the 2020 annual report for that region.
Of the other 3 opportunities, two were not interested. And the last one, in Arkansas, will have a
follow-up in early Spring with the contact, with hopes to be able to report more on this in 2021.
With that said, there are a couple of proactive ideas to find projects that will start taking shape in
2021. First, reaching out to HIPS members for downsizing opportunities and ensuring they
know how to contact HIPS Preservation Projects for help. The second idea is to reach out to
Iris businesses and memorials to raise their awareness of HIPS Preservation Projects. The idea
here is to be top of mind when they decide to either reduce stock, split up clumps, or
discontinue any Iris varieties.
Looking forward to the new year and more projects to preserve precious Irises!
Tammy Skahan
HIPS Preservation Projects Chair

2020 Display Gardens Report
Still finding my way with this role. I have gone thru the Display Garden listings from my spreadsheet and have found I have some listed that are not on the website – and the website has some listed that are no longer on my sheet. So my next ‘project’ is to contact each one individually to find out their status so our information can be updated.
Right now, I show 17 that are not listed on the website.  20 are listed on both the website and my spreadsheet, for a total of 37 ‘potential’ Display Gardens!
Since the Display Gardens really do promote HIPS, I propose we replace the signs at no charge every so often, maybe upon request.  It only costs HIPS a few dollars to mail them, because they fit in a flat padded mailer. They are on sale right now for $6 -7 each if we order 25, and the price drops if we order more than that.  With 37 potential Display Gardens requiring signs, I think we should order a minimum of 50.  That would cover free replacements and still have a few for additional requests.  That number may be low – I don’t know.  Since the info on the signs doesn’t change from year to year, maybe we should look at an order of 100?
Lori Vandette
Display Gardens

HIPS Outreach 2020
Cathy Egerer, Outreach Chair
Our Outreach program was severely curtailed in 2020 due to the COVID outbreak and the subsequent cancellation of iris meetings and events. Demand for HIPS materials dropped off as there was no place to distribute them, not even public libraries.
However, there were a few bright spots. We welcomed Ellen Rusten to our Outreach team, loaded her up with materials to send on request, and then everything shut down. Ellen took it in stride and is well-equipped to supply materials to HIPS members as spring approaches. You can contact her at elru… to request what you need. She has sample copies of ROOTS, brochures and flyers describing our Guardian Gardens and Breeder Collections programs, and flyers with information on becoming a Display Garden.  We even have a HIPS banner we can send (you will need to send it back).
We arranged a shipment of irises to England, since the postal systems were running. We rounded up about 20 cultivars that were needed to fill holes in several collections held by our friends across the pond, and it was a satisfying feeling to help and do something positive.
Social media was our friend in 2020, and our HIPS Facebook page was active with postings of irises and discussion of various iris-related topics such as fertilization, dealing with problem soil, raising and overwintering irises in pots, upsizing and downsizing collections, and that evil iris fiend, the borer.  As of this writing, we have 4,850 followers.  Our HIPS Webmaster, Laetitia Munro, started a new Facebook page called “HIPS Iris ID Help” to assist those looking for hints on identity. It is very popular!  The British Iris Society partnered with us to cross-promote memberships in both organizations, and we welcomed several new members from Great Britain.
To cap off the year, we started using a new format for our member e-newsletter using MailChimp. We can now include photos and a one-click Unsubscribe for those who don’t wish to receive it. We plan to send it out 1-2 times per month as needed. If you want to get the newsletter and aren’t already seeing it, we don’t have your correct e-mail address. Contact Cathy Egerer at outr… to get on the list.

HIPS Archives Committee Report for 2020
Laetitia Munro, HIPS website manager
In line with our mission of educating the public about irises and their history, HIPS has established a long-term goal of digitizing our archival materials and posting them online for the public to view. We accomplished a great deal during the early months of 2020. I sorted the HIPS catalog collection according to their need for scanning, based on the catalogs already available online in the AIS Encyclopedia. I also compared our catalogs to the master list held by the AIS Library, and identified the catalogs they needed to fill in gaps in their collection once they were scanned.
Approximately 100 catalogs were deemed too fragile or rare to be scanned in-house, based on their age and whether the AIS already had a copy (scanned or not).  These were sent to IMR Digital in Pennsylvania for professional flatbed scanning. The catalogs were shipped in February, but due to the COVID-19 shutdown, we did not get them back until summer.
Post-scanning, about 50 catalogs were sent to Dave Silverberg, the AIS Librarian, for placement in the AIS Library collection. More will be sent after they are uploaded into the Wiki.
HIPS members Sarah Cornwell, Mary Reis, and Linda Wilkie helped upload scanned catalogs unto the AIS Wiki. We also uploaded old issues of the Dwarf Iris Society ‘Portfolio’ and the Median Iris Society ‘Medianite’ bulletins, with the permission of those societies.  In all, over 400 catalogs and other documents were added to the Wiki in 2020.
The scanning and uploading will continue in 2021.  The rest of the HIPS catalog collection will be scanned in-house using a Fujitsu Scanjet duplex scanner.  Additional HIPS members are needed to help with uploading and volunteers are welcome! Please contact me at [email protected].

Laetitia Munro, Website manager
As most of you know we have been involved most of 2020 in a project to upgrade our Membership plugin. The goal was to have one unified membership database on the website which was not the case before the project was started. Second goal, to improve the process of join and renew for our members, as we got plenty of negative feedback on that.
What was a simple project turned into a much longer one as we updated all our infrastructure, which was years out of date.  Memberpress is installed and working well since the middle of January.  It is much more robust, and is considered the industry leader for WordPress Membership plugins , and we are learning  about the additional features we might be able to leverage.
There is still cleanup work to be done, i.e. duplicates in the system, basic members who should either be removed or their emails copied to real member profiles, etc. We have 161 members with no email in the database. We should reach out to them via postal mail to ask for emails we can enter into our database for them.
This leads me to a larger issue of what we can do to continue to grow our website in the best possible way.  I don’t want to see it develop in a disjointed manner.  For instance, I would like to see us explore the option of leveraging cloud storage so as not to overload an already large website with ‘static’ information.  Coincidentally  the AIS Website committee reached out to me recently inquiring about our experience with WP Member as they are going to be deploying it as well.
I would like to suggest that policies be created that would deal with ‘what goes on our site’ and ‘how it goes on our site’.  I would like to accept Nancy’s offer to work on the Policy and Procedures Committee specifically to delve into this,  and as the webmaster contribute my knowledge and experience to create and implement such policies. While Memberpress was this year’s project, we should be determining the next steps for the site. We should not have to do all the upgrading only at the point where things such as the Forum were breaking down. We need a proactive plan in maintaining our site. Basically what I am talking about is a budget should be set aside yearly for separate Operations and Maintenance, just to keep our website technically up to date.  New Projects are a separate budget item, and should be considered to keep our site relevant and fresh.
As for new projects for the website this year, I would like to upgrade the Gallery with more robust search features, as well as tackle the library, and making it a friendly place for visitors. I would also like to put a few more attributes on all our gallery pictures such as a field for pbf and a field for ‘endangeredness’. I could use some volunteers to populate these new fields. Not sure if the forum needs help right now as I see whatever we upgraded has fixed at least one forum issue.
One final thing I would like to bring up because it does touch on website content. We had an unfortunate experience a month or so ago where a disgruntled new member was upset because he said he was not getting anything out of HIPS, mentioned he did not even know what HIPS is,  and wanted a refund. His primary concern was what he was getting from the organization but I believe we are an organization where its not ‘what I can get’ but of ‘what can I give’. Nowhere on the site is a description of who we are and what we do. So I created a little summary on that topic.
We know who we are, we take it for granted sometimes, but does the public who is cruising the internet know? By posting on the website we can tell them what we are about. No false expectations. I have put something together, I would like to share with you, I solicit your feedback so we can be straight out front with every wandering eye on the net.