Monday, August 27, 2012



New Zealand iris breeder Ron Busch passed away peacefully on the 21 August 2012 at the age of 77.

Earlier this year he was awarded the Dykes Medal, the highest iris hybridising accolade, for his 2008 introduction 'Norma of Irwell' named after his lovely wife, Norma.

Ron worked at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) at Lincoln, Christchurch, improving potatoes and other vegetables. As a passionate plantsman, Ron's interest extended from plant breeding at the DSIR to his efforts at home. He first started breeding irises in 1958, after reading the chapter “Breeding Bearded Irises” in Jean Stevens’ “Iris and its Culture”. He thought 'I could do that' and there is no doubt he did. He registered his first Iris in 1969 a Tall Bearded he named 'Open Country'.

Ron joined the Christchurch Iris Circle (CIC) in 1964 and held office at various times. He was always very happy to give advice on hybridising and the group were most pleased to have a quality hybridiser among their membership. His breeding interests covered Siberians, Cal-sibs, Standard Dwarf Bearded and Tall Beardeds He also imported Arilbred and oncobred irises in the sixties and his garden at that time contained many Aril and Arilbred varieties and seedlings.

His aim was to improve colour, form and substance in the irises he bred. Never secretive with his breeding program, always planning ahead, he delighted in experiment, and passionately wanted everyone to join with him in the iris breeding journey. He contributed much to the iris world, leaving behind a substantial and rich legacy of 188 registered varieties including some yet to be introduced and more potential registrations to be selected from the many recent seedlings.

His late home and garden located at Irwell Village in Canterbury had a kindly climate coupled with great soil that allowed the irises he loved so much to grow under ideal conditions.

Ron left this world as a hybridiser should - at the beginning of spring, just as nature prepares the garden for new bloom. So each year when Spring awakens the earth he loved so much, his colourful and vibrant flowers will once again burst into bloom, and somehow I don't think he will be too far away.

I will miss our chats.
Rest peacefully Ron.


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