The American Iris Society Region 4


Susan M. Grigg, North Carolina

The Eastern North Carolina Iris Chapter (now Society) had its beginnings in 1962 with John Wilson of Greensboro as Chapter Chairman, but was not formally organized with additional officers at that time. Claude C. O’Brien of Greensboro, who was appointed Chapter Chairman for one year by Region 4 RVP Rena Frantz, wrote to members of the North Carolina Area of the American Iris Society and the North Carolina Iris Society to invite them to an organizational meeting on November 28, 1965. Officers elected at that meeting were: Mrs. Hubert Johnston, Vice Chairman; Mrs. H. L. Ledbetter, Secretary; Mrs. Joe Weir, Treasurer.

The assigned territory for the Chapter at that time was from the Greensboro area east to the coast of North Carolina. AIS had wisely determined that some states needed to be divided into manageable sections, so that travel times to meetings could be lessened.

A list of the 76 charter members includes Alice Bouldin, Roy Epperson, Nannie Paquet, Lolita Powell, W. G. Avent, and Mr. and Mrs. John Dughi. In memory of Alice, ENCIS provides and Region 4 awards the Alice Bouldin Cup each year to the best seedling in the spring Region 4 convention tour gardens; Alice served as Chairman of the Chapter and was a hybridizer. Dr. E. Roy Epperson served the Chapter as Chairman, President, Treasurer, Auction Chairman and Show Chairman. He served the Region as RVP, editor of Newscast, the newsletter of Region 4, and in many other roles. Roy served on the AIS Board of Directors as Judges’ Training Chairman, 2nd Vice President, 1st Vice President, and President. Region 4 awards the Epperson Service Award annually to a deserving member of the Region. Nannie Paquet was the first editor of Newscast. W. G. Avent was a relative of current member, Tony Avent, owner of the Plant Delights Nursery. John and Evelyn Dughi served as officers in ENCIS and visited us in 1971 to invite us to join ENCIS and AIS.

Activities during the early years were much as they are today: meetings with programs on iris, auctions of iris, iris shows, hosting a regional convention, and judges’ training. There were visits to the gardens of members, robins, picnics and dinners. The new chapter was eager to be of service to Region 4, hosting the regional convention in May 1966 and again in May 1972. ENCIS will again be the hosts for the annual spring regional meeting in 2021, postponed from 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our auctions were held among the members of ENCIS until 2006, when we decided to conduct a public sale of iris. This decision has been a boost to our treasury and we have added a sale of beardless iris in the fall.

Over the years several different meeting places have been used. In order to enjoy iris gardens, meetings in the spring were scheduled at the homes of some members. These meetings were opportunities for everyone to bring a favorite lunch dish to be shared, so attendance was always good. In the summer a picnic in the shade of the backyard of a member was a popular place for the iris auction in July, if weather permitted. The Colonial Inn in Hillsborough was a favorite destination for lunch, followed by the meeting and program. Currently, ENCIS meets at the J. C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh.

Members of ENCIS have served as officers of the local affiliate, Region 4, and the AIS. The following have served as Chairman/President of the Chapter/Society: John Wilson, Claude C. O’Brien, John Dughi, Roy Epperson, Marge Parham, Glenn Grigg, Jr., Susan Grigg, Polly Price Irby, Alice Bouldin, J. D. Stadler, Sharon Yarbrough, Burt Pearson, Roslyn Mitchell, Margaret Pearson, Bonita Masteller, and Diana D. Richards. Those who have served Region 4 as Officers are Claude C. O’Brien, Roy Epperson, Glenn Grigg, Jr., Susan Grigg, Lloyd Zurbrigg, and Diana Richards. Mr. O’Brien served on the AIS Board, as did Dr. Epperson, Robert Pries and Susan Grigg. Recipients of the AIS Distinguished Service Medal were Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Pries, who also received the Gold Medal.

In 2020 ENCIS has 43 members and is looking forward to many years of growing iris, fellowship, and service to AIS and Region 4.