National Awards

The Australian Dykes Medal and ISA Medal

In 1987, the Iris Societies of Australia and New Zealand, in consultation with the British Iris Society instituted an Australasian Dykes Medal, which in 1995, was replaced by separate Dykes Medals for Australia and New Zealand.

The competition for the Australian Dykes Medal involves 8 dedicated test gardens across the country, with each eligible cultivar entered into all gardens simultaneously. This enables new varieties’ performance in a range of different growing conditions to be assessed by a number of experienced iris judges. Cultivars in the Dykes Medal test gardens are grown under their registered name (registration is a condition of entry).

The cultivar receiving the highest average score in the test gardens is awarded the Australian Dykes Medal. Since the Australian Dykes Medal gardens feature both bearded and beardless irises, the Iris Society of Australia (ISA) Medal is awarded annually for the top-scoring iris of a different type to that which has received the Dykes Medal, e.g. if the Dykes Medal winner is a bearded cultivar, then the highest-scoring beardless cultivar receives the ISA Medal, and vice versa.

The Australian Dykes Medal is awarded annually by the British Iris Society, whose founder, William Rickatson Dykes, it is named after. Dykes Medals are also awarded annually in the United Kingdom, North America and New Zealand.