April 2, 2016 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
$50 for members, $60 for non-members


A native of Massachusetts, Kevin Vaughn started hybridizing at age 9 and quickly had success, introducing the Sempervivums ‘Silvertone’, Emerald Spring’ and ‘Greenwich Time’ from his first crosses.  Nearly 80 Sempervivum hybrids of his creation have been introduced with ‘Lipstick’ and ‘Jungle Shadows’ winning awards from the Royal Horticultural Society.  Iris hybridizing started shortly thereafter and his first iris introduction, ‘Soothsayer’ was in 1974.  Several Miniature Tall Bearded iris followed, the hybrids ‘Little Bluebeard’ and ‘Real Jazzy’ were both award winners with American Iris Society.  Hosta pioneer Frances Williams gave Kevin a number of very choice hosta with the advice “it would be really good if you started crossing these”. He did and produced many award-winning cultivars.  From this work, Kevin was awarded the Eunice Fisher Hybridizing and Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award.

Kevin’s interest in the inheritance of variegation lead to a PhD in botany from Miami of Ohio and a career with the USDA in Mississippi, investigating weeds.  In Mississippi, Kevin started to work on Louisiana and spuria irises as well as daylilies.  All of these programs have been successful, with 20 Louisiana irises, 3 spuria irises and 9 daylilies finding their way to the market. Kevin’s first Louisiana iris cross gave the highly popular ‘Red Velvet Elvis’ that went on to win the DeBaillon Medal, Caillet Cup and Charles Arny Award.  Kevin became president of the Society for Louisiana Irises and won both their Service and Distinguished Merit Awards.  During this time, Kevin co-wrote the book “Louisiana Irises: Taming of a Native American Wildflower”.  Besides these horticultural efforts, Kevin produced 18 Tradescantia hybrids, 3 border bearded irises and started programs in hellebores and daffodils.
Retirement in 2010 saw a move to a nice piece of property in Salem, Oregon where the climate is perfect for growing all sorts of plants. Besides the projects started in Mississippi, the Sempervivum breeding has resumed at a rapid pace and the hybridizing of iris of all types, daylilies and daffodils increased ten-fold.  Pulmonaria, heleniums, asters and penstemon are recent additions to the hybridizing program.   Despite this recent move, Kevin’s Garden has been on the Pacific Regional daylily tour, the Tall Bearded Iris Society tour and the American Iris Society National Convention. 2015 saw the publication of his book, “Beardless Irises: a Plant for Every Garden Situation” that has drawn high praise in reviews. A book on Sempervivum is currently being written and scheduled for publication in early 2017.

Morning Talk:  “Not Your Grandmother’s Iris”

Irises have been a staple of the perennial garden for years. However, many gardeners are unaware of the tremendous variety of irises available.  They may be grown in almost every garden situation from dry and sunny to wet and shaded. Plants can range in height from 2″ to 6′.  In this program, Kevin will describe his efforts to create new hybrids from various types of irises and you will get to see some of the newest hybrids that will reach the market in a year or two plus some of Kevin’s favorites.  After this talk, you will be adding some of these beauties to your garden in the near future.


Afternoon Talk:  “Hybridizer on the Loose”

Have you ever wondered how new plants are created?  Kevin Vaughn has been hybridizing plants since he was 9 years old, a 52 year career in plant breeding and has won awards for these plants. In this talk, Kevin will describe how he has developed the hundreds of new varieties he has introduced to the market as well as some new projects that have yet to see the market.  Included in this talk are recent developments in daffodils, Sempervivum, Pulmonaria, daylilies, and several other surprise genera.  You are guaranteed to be awed by some of these developments and add many things to your want lists.


There will be irises and other unique plants for sale during the symposium.  Lunch is included in the symposium price.

Early Bird:

$50 for members (before 3/18/16)

$60 for non-members (before 3/18/16)

After March 18:

$60 for members

$70 for non-members


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