by Thura Truax, PA
Shortly after the turn of this century two of the Sass brothers, Hans and Jacob, in leisure hours turned to the hybridizing of peonies and irises. Lovers of flowers, they had followed with much interest, the writings of the Rev. C. S. Harrison, another Nebraskan, who did so much to help popularize these plants in the midwest.
While Mr. Hans worked first with peonies, Mr. Jacob turned his attention to the irises. He purchased such varieties as were then obtainable, and in 1907 bloomed his first seedling. What a thrill of pride he must have felt when the buds unfurled to show the lovely blue flowers, knowing there was not another exactly like it. This seedling was to be used, not only in his own crosses but in those of his brother, Hans, who began to work with irises a year or two later. Each year catalogues were searched, and promising varieties purchased. By 1919, when the American Iris Society was organized, they had collections of all that gave promise of being useful to them. They became charter members of the Society and from its inception took deep interest in its objectives.
From the beginning careful records have been kept. While most of the named seedlings have resulted from studied planning, a few have come from bee pollinization. As the years passed, each bringing a widening scope of color, form and quality, long winter hours were spent. in studying these records, always with a thought for hardiness, as well as color. On the wind swept prairies, height is not always an asset. Mr. Jake felt that clear bright color, in a medium size flower, on a medium height stalk, was greatly to be preferred.
As in most hybridizers’ gardens at that time there was a preponderance of blue seedlings, it was particularly interesting when the ruffled blend-plicatas appeared in the Sass gardens. With the introduction in 1923 of Aksarben, Jubilee and Lona, to be followed shortly by Beau Ideal, King Karl and Mrs. A. S. Hoyt, iris gardens took on added gayety. Not tall, but of varied color, they were a decided addition to the garden picture. Having introduced Matilda in 1929, when Mr. Jake wrote in 1930, saying: “I am introducing Chestnut to complete the set” it seemed he felt his work with this particular type of plicata was ended. For some years he had been using them, trying for added height, while hoping to retain the typical plicata marking. Most of the progeny were blends.
So much had been heard of the hybridizing being done by these two brothers, Mr. Wister felt the gardens should be visited and a report of the seedlings be given. In the winter of 1926 he suggested that Mr. Connell and I go to Omaha the following season. Toward the end of May Mr. Connell met Mrs. DuMont and me at Omaha and we spent two days in the two gardens, then covering about ten acres.
Those who have been privileged to visit the Jacob Sass family know the welcome we received upon our arrival. As so often happens, we expected to be taken at once to the seedling gardens. This was not done. Always so proud of his children, so pleased with their accomplishments, first we were shown the beautiful needlework of the daughters, and then the handicraft of the boys. During twenty years, rarely did I have a letter from Mr. Jake in which there was not mention of some of the boys. As the years passed they built the great barns, repaired the machinery, and took over more and more of the management of the farms, leaving their father free to carry on the iris work, in which he became more and more engrossed.
After a leisurely dinner, during which there was much iris talk, we visited the gardens. Here among the seedlings we found every type and color then to be had, quite a number seeming to duplicate many a high priced novelty. When an especially fine seedling was praised Mr. Jake would say “Wait ’til you see what Hans has.” It was not until later, when from Mr. Hans came praise for his brother ‘s seedlings, that we realized we had then heard the keynote of the close bond of comradeship between them. Each has shared equally the success of the other. Throughout the years it has always been — ” wait ’til you see. . . .” So closely have they collaborated, it is almost impossible to consider their hybridizing separately.
With just a short preview of the seedlings in the garden, but with the promise to give us more time the following day. Mr. Jake hurried us on to Mr. Hans.’ garden. After a chat with Mrs. Sass and Anna, we were led to a much larger planting, as Mr. Hans was doing no farming, working only with his flowers. He had been working primarily with the dwarfs and intermediates, hoping through the latter to develop brilliant, tall bearded yellows. Both brothers were working for yellows. Amongst the hundreds of tall bearded seedlings we were particularly interested in a tall, smoothly finished seedling, No. 122, which had received an HM at Omaha in 1926. This was named Balduin — later corrupted to Baldwin, through a typesetter s error. Mr. Connell considered it one of the finest irises he had ever seen. Across the way was another seedling of brilliant color — King Tut. These two irises were to produce Joycette which, in turn, combined with a seedling of Redwing X Cardinal, produced The Red Douglas. Here, too, was the group of small blends referred to as “golds,” one of which, named Old Gold, enters into the breeding of Prairie Sunset.
While making notes in the gardens the next day Mr. Connell said “Lady, they are going places.” How true a prophecy.
During early work Amas was used extensively because of its hardiness, a characteristic easily transmitted. Too, its hybrids increased rapidly. Dominion, itself, was used rarely — if ever — since it usually rotted before blooming. Of its derivatives Mr. Jake preferred to use Cardinal. By 1927 they had the sixth generation of their own seedlings in bloom, and were depending more and more on them to give the desired breaks. At this time they had bloomed more than 50,000 seedlings. In a desire to secure better branching trojana blood was being injected. Mr. Jake had begun his search for pinks and whites. Caroline E. Stringer had been crossed with Aphrodite. Mr. Hans had secured Trostringer from Caroline E. Stringer X trojana. In 1928 Mr. Jake bloomed forty pink seedlings from a Trostringer X Aphrodite cross. Of these several were exceptionally fine. Pink Satin was introduced in 1930. No. 28-12, a sister seedling, was sent to several gardens that his friends might see his progress toward pink. It grew so easily, bloomed so freely, and gave such a splendid garden effect, he was forced to introduce it, so insistent were his friends. It was named Pink Opal. In a letter dated February 23, 1927, he had said “I don’t believe we will ever have a real rose red, but I do believe we will get some much nearer red than we have now, as each year we are getting something better. Also in pink – we have some now more branched than Caroline E. Stringer and about the same color, Pale Rose Purple.”
In this same year, 1928, from a cross of Argentina X Conquistador, came a number of whites. Of these, No. 28-10 proved hardy in Nebraska and was named Wambliska. Since mesopotamica entered largely into its heritage, as it did in Purissima, there was a question whether it would be reliably hardy generally. It was sent on trial to widely separate sections prior to introduction. In many places it has not done well, but how fortunate the garden in which it does.
In 1929 between 6,000 and 7,000 seedlings bloomed. Amongst these were fine reds. Mr. Jake had been working for reds for some years, using Medrano as a possibility. The results from it were not satisfactory. Using Cardinal pollen on some of the best seedlings gave some fine, rich red toned seedlings, and a yellow bicolor. The cross of Baldwin X King Tut gave purple reds, but Redwing X Cardinal opened the red-brown field. The following year forty Redwing seedlings bloomed, most with better color than either Redwing or King Tut. Of these, No. 30-40 Redwing X King Tut, was the most brilliant and gave great promise. He used it freely in hybridizing and had high hopes for it, looking forward to its introduction. In 1932 the standards showed a tendency to flop, so it was withheld. It has a decided yellow undertone which places it on the yellow-brown side of red. It blazes across the garden and makes a wonderful clump. Some years the standards are quite well mannered. He gave it to many friends who have used it extensively in breeding.
Two hundred new pink seedlings bloomed in 1930 but he thought them no better than Pink Satin. It began to look as though the pinks he wanted would not come from the line he had been following, and he turned to another. By this time Rameses, Mr. Hans’ King Tut X Baldwin seedling, was being used extensively by both brothers, both as seed and pollen parent. Since in it the colors were so well broken, it might throw any way. Toward pink, possibly, and, with its yellow undertone, surely there were possibilities of yellows. The seedling to be introduced under the name of Joycette, had bloomed. It had rich color from its pollen parent, King Tut, while Baldwin gave it height and a flower of size and smooth finish. It was easily the center of interest that season and seemed a promising advance in the red-purples.
In 1931 the offspring from the pink Trostringer-Aphrodite seedlings began to bloom. Among them were a number of large, clear whites. Some from Wambliska, too, showed much promise. Several tall plicatas also bloomed, the result of a series of crosses between seedlings and Los Angeles and San Francisco. Of these plicatas the best seemed to be No. 31-54, which was introduced in 1936 under the name, Claribel. Grown in my garden for several years under number, it proved very reliable, made rapid increase, and was most floriferous.
Under date of Nov. 8, 1931, he writes “I always had quite a few of the oncocyclus irises. I crossed every bloom with either a pumila, intermediate, or a tall bearded. Out of about 800 seed only four germinated. Two of these were true pumila hybrids, and two were oncocyclus-pumila hybrids. They show both oncocyclus and pumila blood. Then in turn I used all the pollen of the oncocyclus flowers on pumilas. Of these crosses I got three seed. One has bloomed, and it. is the best of the three I have had in bloom. I can already see on the leaf and rhizome that the other two pumila X oncocyclus have both pumila and oncocyclus characteristics. This year I had quite a bit of seed from pumilas crossed with oncocyclus irises. At the date this letter was written the fall bloomers were in full flower in his garden. Thus we see his varied interest.
Of about 1,500 Wambliska seedlings to bloom in 1932, 25 were selected in the two gardens for observations. There were creams. blue whites, pink whites, and pure whites with yellow hafts and beards. Doré was one of these seedlings – the only yellow in time lot. Crystal Beauty was another. That season four irises were selected for introduction in 1933 – Golden Helmet, Blue Monarch, War Eagle and Spokan. Two were seedlings of 1930 and two of 1931. All were promising.
Mr. Jake was not interested in blends and had not previously kept any of this type appearing amongst his seedlings. With the developing interest in blends, and the many fine ones being selected in Mr. Hans’ garden, he decided he would have to work with them in order to keep pace with his brother.
In 1933 he named two exceptionally brilliant intermediates, Golden West and Red Orchid. They were introduced the following year. Both had been growing in my garden under number for several years and everyone who saw them wanted them. This year, too, saw the introduction of the five oncocyclus-pumila and pumila-oncocyclus hybrids. These I had grown in the rock garden where they increased well and bloomed freely. Since that time he has had a number of others, equally hardy.
Field mice having ruined about 70% of seed during the winter of 1931-32, there were not many new seedlings of the tall bearded in 1933. The Red Douglas and Maid of Astolat were two. Ozone, a seedling of 1932, proved most distinctive there that year, as it did in several other gardens where it had been sent under number for observation.
For several years Mr. Jake had been working for better dark irises. In the earlier years he had experimented with Louise Bel, Archeveque, and several others, using them in conjunction with their own seedlings. However, it was from a rich, dark purple seedling developed by Mr. Hans, together with Baldwin, Cardinal and Tenebrae, that he succeeded in getting the darkest of his seedlings of that time, The Black Douglas. Having been tested for two years and compared with named varieties in its class it was decided to introduce it the following year. Several other seedlings he had thought showed promise, did not measure up. So often this proves true of seedlings – the first bloom being the best. Again, others, viewed indifferently at the first blooming, turn out far superior when better established. The Sass brothers have always been careful with regard to introduction. Seedlings are bloomed two years at least – preferably longer – before they are introduced.
In 1934 Mr. Jake succeeded in getting a start on the tall, large flowered yellows. Doré, selfed, was giving deeper yellow. Too the yellow ground plicatas were appearing in both gardens. Reds, violets, and more whites appeared. Larger flowers, better substance, branching and height – all advancements which they had worked for in the 1920s were showing in the mid-1930s. Still he felt the very tall varieties, with stalks carrying many large flowers, were not the type for gardens in the open wind swept country. Though he had to keep pace with the trend, and cater to those wanting bigger and taller irises, he felt varieties having a stalk from 36 to 38 inches, with flowers in proportion, were the most satisfactory.
In 1935 when I again visited the gardens, I realized more fully what advances they had made. This time I had a week, instead of two days, in which to study the seedlings. It was too short a time. The high quality in both gardens was very noticeable. While Mr. Hans had that amazing series of yellow ground plicatas, Mr. Jake had whites, rich and brilliant red-browns, violets and black purples. Both had some excellent yellows. Though they had not reached, in all instances, the standard they had set for substance and form of flowers, they did have clarity and depth of color. No. 35-15 looked promising in bud and, fearing a storm, the first bloom was cut. Opening indoors we thought it very fine. Later it was named Casque d ‘Or.
The drought of 1935 and 1936 was most disastrous, causing a loss yearly of about 75% of the seedlings. In 1937 Mr. Jake wrote ‘Nothing outstanding appeared in the seed beds this year.” Though discouraged by the losses, he was hopeful for 1938, when the first seedlings from The Red Douglas should bloom. That Lilamani, a seedling of 1935, was proving its worth, was consoling. Too, there were several fine yellows. Another generation should see the yellows they were working for, and which the dry years had delayed. Few of the 1936 numbered seedlings bloomed in 1937. The following season was one of the best in years, with Camelina, Golden Age, Prairie Sunset, Elsa Sass, and several of the yellow plicatas taking precedence over all others.
In 1939 the season was bad, bloom erratic, but germination was good. During one week in June over 9,000 seedlings were set out, 600 being from Prairie Sunset. The 1938 and 1939 seedlings were set out close together, with space left nearby for the 1940s, with the hope that in 1940 there would be a good season. In 1940 Mr. Jake wrote that the 600 Prairie Sunset seedlings gave the best things, – many blends, of many colors; some coming nearer to pink – not true pink, but an advance. Also some were coming nearer to red, one being Brick red. Fine large whites and yellows, and two so dark, black being about the only color describing them. This was the year Flora Zenor bloomed. Mr. Jake wrote “Perhaps the flower is too small to name, but good to breed from.” When this seedling bloomed in my garden the following year, I thought it a decided color break, and later was glad he had been induced to name and introduce it – thus making it available to those hybridizers working for pinks. Let us not criticize its introduction – rather let us realize it was done solely for its breeding possibilities. A good deed done by a kindly man. In this same letter he said “We are still crossing for all colors, but are working mostly for pinks from the blends. We are coming nearer every year but think it will take a number of years yet before we have a real pink.” Seven thousand new seedlings were set out that year. On Nov. 11, 1940, the temperature took a sudden drop from 80 degrees at noon to 5 degrees at midnight. Many of the irises were lost, including some finer named varieties, but they were fortunate in saving the 1940 seedlings. The bloom stems of about 80% were frozen.
In 1941 two of his sons entered the army. Young Henry, who had been taking over the greater part of the hybridizing for a number of years, now had to put aside much of it, to devote more time to the farms. Failing health curtailed Mr. Jake ‘s activities. In that year only Starless Night was introduced, but they listed for the first time Golden Fleece, introduced in 1940 by Mrs. Whiting. This iris has received high praise from many regions. Since then there have been twelve seedlings introduced. Of these, Ola Kala, Moonlight Madonna, and Sunset Serenade, have received AM. awards, and much favorable comment. Alba Superba and Miss Bishop are fine whites, while Lake Huron is being hailed as a splendid blue. This blue I have not seen, nor have I seen Solid Mahogany, the latest introduction.
In his hybridizing Mr. Jake covered the range of bearded irises, giving us varieties of uniformly high quality, both in color and hardiness. Though twenty years have passed since their introduction, who would wish to be without some of the low growing ruffled plicata-blends, so useful in tying to earth some lanky iris. Or forego having Golden Harvest, Challenger and Red Orchid to give the needed fillip to some lilac and tulip combination. I would not be without Pink Opal, so freeblooming, so lovely when combined with a blue such as Castalia, with Venus de Milo close by. When Lake Huron comes to my garden I shall wish to try them together, using Crystal Beauty, or perhaps Matterhorn as the white. In some of the introductions the flowers are too closely crowded on the stalks. We know that Mr. Jake realized this full well, being one of the first to criticize this fault in those irises. We know, too, that the same fault could be found with many another hybridizer ‘s offerings. Gardeners wanted color, and freely it flowed from the Sass gardens.
During all these years the first letters received following a blooming season, while telling of his own seedlings, were filled with greater praise for those of his brother. I recall only once having him say “I have Hans beat.” And always there was unstinted praise for other hybridizers’ worthy seedlings then blooming for the first time in his garden.
Jacob Sass received all the honors a grateful iris world could bestow – the Dykes Medal from The Iris Society in 1941, and in 1942 the Achievement in Hybridizing Medal from our own Society. His HM and AM awards were numerous. These honors were richly deserved. His name is etched deeply in the garden book of fame.
Learn more about the author of this piece Thura Truax Hires here.
AKSARBEN, IB (1923).
ALBA SUPERBA, TB (1943). No. 40-169, (Snowking) X ( (YIB seed. X ___) x Happy Days), HM 1943.
ALEPPO PLAIN, TB (1943). No. 40-219, (Orloff X Y. plicata No. 44-36).
ARUNA IMB (1939). No. OP 35-0, (RC Eunice) X (Trostringer x Aphrodite).
BALROUDOUR. IMB (1933). No. OP 32-1, (yellow DB X RC Beatrix).
BEAU IDEAL, TB (1924). E. No. 148.
BERTHA GERSDORFF, TB (1942). No. 40-163, (from yellow plicata seedlings).
BIRD OF DAWNING, TB. No. 42-40, (Camelina x Snowking) X (Snowking x large white seedling).
BLACKAMOOR, TB (1932). No. 29-36, (Beau Ideal x Archeveque) X (Baldwin), HM 1931.
BLUE MONARCH, TB (1933). No. 31-83, (Wambliska X Matilda), HM 1936.
BLUE SHIMMER, TB (1942). No. 40-180, (H. P. Sass seed. 65-35) X (Blue Monarch X BlueHill), HM 1942. AM 1944.
BLUE TOPAZ. IMB (1933). No. OP 2, (RC Beatrix X yellow dwarf).
BONANZA, TB (1939). No. 36-48, (El Tovar) X (Jumbo X King Tut).
CAMELINA, TB (1939). No. 37-42, (Wambliska X Rameses) X sdlg
CAROLINE E. STRINGER, TB (1924), No. 1-26, (11cr Majesty X — ).
CASQUE D’OR, TB (1937). No. 35-15, (El Tovar X Golden Helmet), HM 1937.
CHALLENGER, IB (1930). No. I 27-1, HM 1933.
CHESTNUT, IB (1930). No. 28-1.
CHIEF, IB (1926). No. 200.
CLARIBEL, TB (1936). No. 31-54, (San Francisco X b. plicata seedling), HM 1936.
CRYSTAL BEAUTY, TB (1935). No. 32-48, (Trostringer X Aphrodite) X (Wambliska), HM 1936.
Doré, TB (1935). No. 32-50, (Wambliska X Rameses).
DOUGLAS, TB (1932). No. 29-20, (seed.) X (Cardinal X Sister seed. to Redwing).
ELECTRA, TB (1935). No. 32-1, (from a Conquistador seedling).
FLORA ZENOR, TB (1942). No. 40-318), (Doré X [lost label] ), HC 1941, HM 1942, AM 1944.
GOLDEN AGE, TB (1939). No. 37-30, (seedling X Doré).
GOLDEN FLEECE, TB (1940). No. 38-55, (Siegfried X Doré), HM 1940, AM 1942.
GOLDEN HARVEST, IB (1929), Never numbered. Fall blooming.
GOLDEN. HELMET, TB (1933), No. 31-58, (Redwing X Cardinal) X (King Tut).
GOLDEN WEST, IB (1934). No. I 30-3, (y. dwarf x ____) X (TB seedling), HM 1936.
GOODWILL, TB, Introduced by Crawford.
GRAY CLOUD. DMB (1933), No. PO 32-2, (pumila x ____) X RC Beatrix).
HELEN FIELD FISCHER, TB (1939), (Trostringer X Aphrodite).
JAKE, TB (1943). No. 39-177, (Tiffany X Maid of Astolat).
JOYCETTE, TB (1932). No. 29-27, (Baldwin X King Tnt), HM 1932. AM 1936.
JUBILEE, IB (1923). No. 3-48, (Her Majesty X mixed pollen).
JUMBO, IB (1927). No. E. 23.
KING KARL, IB (1925). No. 2-59, (Midwest X variegata). AM 1927.
LAKE HURON, TB (1942). No. 39-158, (Sir Turquoise x Blue Monarch).
LILAMANI, TB (1938). No. 35-40, (seedling X The Black Douglas).
LITTLE JEWEL, DB (1939).
LONA, TB (1923). No. E. 20.
MAID OF ASTOLAT, TB (1936). No. 33-8, (mixed plicata seed).
MANVUSA, TBM 1946), (Noweta X ____).
MARISHA, TB (1939), (Amitola X ____).
MATILDA, TB (1929). No. 25-72, (from 2 white seedlings).
MATTERHORN, TB (1938). No. 35-8, (San Francisco X seedling) HM 1938. AM 1940.
Miss BISHOP, TB (1942). No. 39-155, (Tiffany’ X Maid of Astolat).
Miss DULUTH. Sib, (1933).
MOONLIGHT MADONNA, TB (1943). No. 40-226, (yellow seedling X Elsa Sass), HM 1943.
MOONLIT SEA, TB (1943). No. 41-10 (parentage lost). HC 1942. HM 1943.
MRS. A. S. HOYT, IB (1927). No. 4-72. HM 1927.
MRS. WILLARD JACQUES, TB (1938). No. 35-39, (Rameses X seed).
NEHAWKA, IB (1929). No. 28-25.
NEOLA, DB (1932). No. P30-101.
OKLAHOMA CITY, TB (yellow seedling X Happy Days).
OKOBOJI, TB (1932) No. 28-7.
OLA KALA, TB (1943). No. 41-7, (Amitola seedling X Prairie Sunset) X (Golden Age X [label lost] ). HC 1942. HM 1943. AM 1945, DM 1948.
OWAISSA, DB (1934).
OZONE, TB (1935). No. 32-65, (Baldwin X King Tut) X (Douglas), AM 1938.
PADUSOY, TB (1929), HM 1928.
PINK DEMOISELLE, TB (1938), (Trostringer X Aphrodite), Named in England.
PINK OPAL, TB (1934). No. 28-12, (Trostringer X Aphrodite).
PINK SATIN, TB (1930). No. 28-16, (Trostringer X Aphrodite).
QUIVERA, TB (1932). No. 29-60, HM 1931.
RAINBOW ROOM, TB. No. 40-311, (H. P. Sass seedling 50-36 X Matula), HC 1945.
RED ORCHID, IB (1934). No. I 30-7, (pumila X ) X DB seedling X TB seedling).
ROSE OF CUBA, TB (1930). No. 28-31, (Aphrodite X Jacimito).
SALMONETTE, TB (1946). No. 40-39, (J. Sass 40-166: (Doré X Matula)) X J. Sass 40-263:((J. Sass 31-43: (Beau Ideal x Rameses) x (Amitola)) x (Miss California)), HC 1945.
SANGREAL, IB (1935), (pumila x ____) X (Cardinal x Autumn King).
SIR LAUNCELOT TB (1935). No. 32-18, (Red Wing X Cardinal) X (King Tut), HM 1937.
SOLID MAHOGANY, TB (1944). No. 41-43, (City of Lincoln X 38-13), HC 1943. HM 1944.
SOUND MONEY, DB (1935). No. P 30-107, HM 1936.
SPOKAN, TB (1933). No. 30-91, (Redwing X King Tut), HM 1936.
STARLESS NIGHT, TB (1941). No. 40-62, (The Red Douglas x red seedling) (F. 2), HM1943.
STORMY DAWN. IMB (1933). No. P0 31-1, (y. pumila seedling x ____ ) X (RC Beatrix).
SUNSET SERENADE, TB (1943). No. 40-309, (Golden Age X Prairie Sunset). IT. C. 1942. HM 1943.
THE BLACK DOUGLAS, TB (1934). No. 32-26, (d. purple seed. X Baldwin) X (d. purple seed. X Cardinal) X (Tenebrae), HM 1936.
THE MOENCH, TB (1938). No. 34-11, (Quivera X Wambliska).
THE RED DOUGLAS, TB (1937). No. 33-13, (Cardinal x sister seed. to Redwing) X (Joycette), HM 1936, AM 1939, DM 1941.
VAGABOND PRINCE, TB (1940). No. 37-16, (seedling X The Black Douglas).
VELVO. DMB (1933). No. OP 1, (RC Beatrix) X (y. seed. pumila x ____ ).
WAMBLISKA, TB (1930). No. 28-10, (Argentina X Conquistador), HM 1931.
WAR EAGLE, TB (1933). No. 30-53, (Redwing X red seed).
Jacob Sass 1872-1945
“THEY never quite leave us, our friends who have passed through the door left open, to the sunlight above.”
In the passing of Jacob Sass on December 10, 1945, the American Iris Society lost a charter member, and one of its most loyal supporters. The iris world has suffered an irreparable loss.
Coming to Nebraska as a small boy, he learned to know the flowers of the prairie, and the beauty of the native blue flag, I. versicolor. Who knows but that a boy’s pleasure in its slender grace led him later to his hybridizing of irises. Of such dreams are realities woven. Mr. Jake was a kindly man, generous to a fault. His the happy faculty of making friends easily, and keeping them. His boundless enthusiasm, his joy in life, his desire to share with all that which he found beautiful, could not but leave a lasting impression on those who knew him.
Freely he gave to others of the iris knowledge gained from years of experience. Equally generous with gifts from his garden, many present day hybridizers owe their ability to keep pace with color breaks developed in the Sass gardens to his gifts of promising seedlings long in advance of their introduction.
The boy lived eternal in Jacob Sass. Passing years, leaving the inevitable changes and sorrows that come to all, could not submerge this quality which so endeared him to his friends. He followed the rainbow of his boyhood’s dream to its end, secure in the knowledge that his loved work would be carried on ably by his son, Henry.
With each returning spring, with the passing to rest of the flowers in the fall — the beauty of the irises will bring to us memories of Mr. Jake. The gardens of the world are richer from his perception of beauty — our lives enriched by the gifts of his friendship.
Jacob Sass, the man, has passed beyond our ken, but his memory will live on in the hearts of his friends. — Thura Truax Hires.