Convention Book Online

While it cannot convey all the excitement of the Convention, the Convention Book is very useful before, during, and after the Convention.  This is the AIS 2017 Convention Book (PDF) for your use and reference.  Do you have some ways you use/will use this?  We would love to hear them!  Whether you were able to attend or not, please enjoy!

Thank you again to Judy Keisling for preparing the book and for keeping our contributions on track.  She is amazing!


Things to Know Before You Visit Des Moines

Simulated Iris Show

A Simulated Iris Show is scheduled on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. This is a hands-on training opportunity for Apprentice Judges to receive exhibition judges training. The following is what you need to do to participate:

  • Secure an approved AIS Judge for 2 hours to conduct your exhibition training. The judge cannot be a family member. The Convention Committee will not secure judges for the training. It is the responsibility of each apprentice judge to make arrangements with an accredited judge for training.
  • Bring with your AIS Judges Handbook
  • Bring your Evaluation Form and a self-addressed, stamped envelope addressed to your Regional Judges Training Chairperson to give to the judge training you. S/he will complete and mail to your Regional Judges Training Chairperson.

Parking at the Hotel

The Des Moines Downtown Marriot valet parking is $24 for over 8 hours and $12 for up to 8 hours, plus tax. There are several city ramps available downtown, including one just west of the Des Moines Marriott at 8th & Locust Streets. For more information about parking and a map of public parking garages around the city, visit:

Internet Access

Wireless internet is free throughout the hotel, including public areas and guest rooms.

Accessibility & Guest Services

The Des Moines Downtown Marriott is a accessible facility to persons of all abilities, including 32-inch wide openings to guest rooms. Fitness center, meeting spaces, pool entrances, restaurants, main entrance and registration are all accessible. For more information about accessibility, please visit: For general guest and concierge services information, visit

Restaurants, Pharmacies, Retail, etc.

A full list of the hundreds of restaurants throughout the Des Moines metro is located at:

Friday Night Dining Options

The AIS Geek Dinner is a fond tradition, hosted this year in the Windows on 7th Dining Room in the first floor of the Des Moines Downtown Marriott. The proceeds from the Geek Dinner Auction supports the AIS Electronic Services Fund. Attendees can bid on iris introductions, gift certificates from commercial iris growers, and iris themed items. Reservations for the Geek Dinner are not included in the convention registration fees. Please contact Joanne Prass Jones ( or see convention website for more information. Cost is $35.00.

Also available on Friday night is a Dine-A-Round, a unique opportunity to experience some of Des Moines’ award-winning and innovative restaurants. The convention committee has arranged for group reservations for 25 people each at three downtown restaurants. The restaurant options feature a variety of menu choices. Attendees interested in participating in the Dine-A-Round may sign-up for reservation spots when they register at the hotel. Registration is first come, first serve and final commitments are required by Wednesday evening. Registrants are responsible for their individual tabs. The Dine-A-Round is a great way to meet new people, experience great local cuisine while someone else takes care of the reservation. More information on restaurants and menus is available on the convention website.

If you’d rather explore the dining scene on your own, a complete list of the hundreds of restaurants throughout the Des Moines metro is located at:

Things to Do in Des Moines

Des Moines is a vibrant, mid-sized Midwestern capital with amenities and attractions for all ages. It’s a particularly art-centric city, with numerous public art installations including the award-winning John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. It’s also a pedestrian friendly city with numerous biking and foot trails. For more information about top things to do in Des Moines during your visit, check out

2017 Silent Auction Request

One of the features of the AIS Conventions is the Silent Auction.  Nick Stewart and Debbie Strauss are already planning for this year’s event.  The Fall 2016 Irises Bulletin has their request for donations on page 16.  You can see the request silent auction 2017 (PDF) online as well.  Please consider donating items and hybridizers please consider donating irises to this super AIS fundraiser.

Debbie Strauss adds this note: Hey all you local societies, have you started collecting items from your area to give to your RVP for your Region’s Raisin’ Region basket for the Iowa AIS National Convention? The silent auction really needs and appreciates your participation and so do our shoppers. Contact your RVP about where to send your donations! Thank you.

You can reach Debbie at with questions or to let her know about your planned donations.

Registration and Schedule Pages

Two pages to help you plan your Convention experience are the Registration page and the Schedule page.  Both can be found just below the Rhythm of the Prairie logo above.  They are just what they sound like.  Information for registering for the Convention, reserving rooms, and for the Geek Dinner reservations is on the Registration page.  The Schedule page has the latest schedule for the Convention and is where to check for updated schedules.  We will have the dates the latest schedule was posted so you know if there have been changes; right now you can see the schedule as of December 1st.

What You Won’t See at the Convention

What you will see are many, many gorgeous irises!  And some of them have been  reblooming this Fall.  Reblooming is what you won’t see during the Convention.  So we’re sharing these here for your inspiration.  Come and see them in bloom again at the 2017 AIS Convention!


‘Rust Never Sleeps’ is an IB by Larry Lauer (2013) that has rebloomed in at least two of the host gardens.  I saw it in rebloom August 9 in one of the gardens and in another it was been in rebloom almost continuously from August 14 through September 3 followed by additional stalks and blooms into October.

‘Echo Of Spring’ TB by Nancy Price (2013) rebloomed August 17.

Three guest irises by Mike Lockatell have been reblooming in the host gardens.  ‘Double Dare’ is a Border Bearded (2014) which rebloomed in two of the host gardens.  The TB ‘Metro Blue’ (2015) was seen to rebloom in three host gardens and the TB ‘Soda Fountain Shuffle’ (2015) in two host gardens.

A seedling by Linda Mann was reblooming in one of the guest gardens on October 11.

Another Larry Lauer TB ‘Free Will’ (2015) rebloomed in a guest garden in October.


‘Mulligan’ is an IB by Mike Sutton (2015) which was reblooming November 4.

You can expect to see these and many more during the regular bloom season next year at the Convention!  Join us May 23-27, 2017 in Des Moines.  Details of registration can be found here.


Request for Guest Bearded Irises – 2017 AIS Convention

Request for Guest Bearded Irises

2017 AIS Convention

Des Moines, Iowa

Region 21 will host The American Iris Society National Convention May 23-27, 2017 (please note date change from earlier notices). Convention attendees will tour at six Des Moines area gardens, including two public gardens. Hybridizers of bearded varieties are invited to send rhizomes of recent introductions and seedlings under consideration for introduction. Please observe the following guidelines when sending guest irises as only officially submitted guest irises will appear in the convention booklet.

Up to four rhizomes of each variety will be accepted from July 27 through August 17, 2015.

Please submit plants to Pam and Wayne Messer, guest iris chairs.

Shipping address:
Pam and Wayne Messer/AIS 2017
1007 Timberlane Drive
Huxley, IA 50124

Mailing address:
Pam and Wayne Messer/AIS 2017
P.O. Box 64
Huxley, IA 50124

The name of the variety or seedling number should be clearly marked on each rhizome. In addition, the following information should accompany each variety on a separate packing list:

  • Hybridizer’s name and address

  • Name or seedling number of the variety

  • Type of iris (Tall Bearded, Border Bearded, etc.)

  • Height, color, distinguishing features

  • Year of introduction (if applicable)

The packing list should include the contributors email address to receive an electronic receipt. Contributors who do not provide an email will receive a confirmation via mail.

If a guest seedling is later named, it will be the responsibility of the hybridizer to notify the Guest Iris Chair of change. Updates should include name and corresponding seedling number. Please send updates or direct inquiries about guest irises to Pam and Wayne Messer (

Shortly before the convention, contributors will be asked for instructions regarding disposition of the plants. Failure to reply by April 1, 2017 will be interpreted as permission to destroy all seedlings, and distribute named varieties, one to each host garden and the rest as determined by the Convention Committee. No rhizomes will be offered for sale on the internet or other means which compete with sales by the contributors. Guest irises returned will be sent freight paid, except for foreign addresses.

The Convention Committee and the owners of the host gardens will strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics as printed in the AIS Convention Handbook. The Convention Committee and host gardens will not be responsible for losses beyond their control.

Welcome – Follow Us to Des Moines in 2017

Region 21 of the American Iris Society is hosting the 2017 AIS Convention in Des Moines, Iowa. We hope you will follow us on this website (blog) to learn about how we get to 2017 and then come to the Convention!  Mark your calendars for May 22-26, 2017.  Update:  The dates are now May 23-27, 2017.

One of our experiments for the Convention is this type of website.  By showing what is happening as we prepare, hopefully it will help you think about hosting a future Convention as well.  It may give you some ideas what to expect, what you might do, and possibly what not to do.  Let us know what would be helpful for you to find here.  You can leave comments on any posting or use our email addresses.  You are welcome to contact for website or other questions as well.

The AIS Conventions page lists our Co-Chairs contact information.

AIS 2017 Convention May 22-26 Des Moines, Iowa
2017 Convention Chair: Kelly Norris
1101 25th St. Apt. 9, Des Moines, IA 50311
phone: (515) 323-6299 | e-mail:

2017 Convention Co-Chair: Gary White
701 Old Cheney Road, Lincoln, NE 68512
phone: (402) 421-6394 | e-mail: