Saturday, June 17, 2023

2023 ADS Region One Service Award Winner Phil Fass


Susie Poulton, Ginny Geetings, and Phil Fass in Ginny's garden (pic courtesy of Troy Hugen)

Phil Fass of Cedar Falls, Iowa, received the 2023 American Daylily Society (ADS) Region One Service Award during the 2023 ADS National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Phil has significantly contributed his time, knowledge, and skills as well as donated numerous daylilies to Region One since he joined ADS in 2001. Phil became a Garden Judge in 2005 and a Garden Judge Instructor in 2012. Phil freely shares his expertise in garden judging to help others learn how to consistently evaluate daylilies. 

Phil instructed Garden Judges Workshops 1 and 2 during the 2013 ADS National Convention hosted by the Daylily Society of Minnesota in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He chaired and instructed Garden Judges Workshop 2 (GJW2) during the 2019 ADS Region One Meeting hosted by the Nebraska Daylily Society in Omaha. Phil became ADS Region One Garden Judges Liaison in 2021. During July 2021 Phil collaborated with three other Region One Garden Judge Instructors to enable us to offer GJW2 to our members in three different states (Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska) within our geographically widespread region when we were forced to cancel our regional meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the derecho that decimated Iowa gardens. 

Phil is a long-time active member of two Iowa daylily clubs: the Central Iowa Daylily Society (CIDS) in Marshalltown and the Cedar Valley Iris and Daylily Society (CVIDS) in eastern Iowa. 

Phil is a talented daylily hybridizer. He and Debbie Deemer grow their large daylily collection and Phil’s daylily seedlings and cultivars on their beautiful acreage garden in Parkersburg, Iowa. Phil is a gifted speaker who presented his daylily program at Lilyhemmer in 2019 and as banquet speaker for CVIDS in 2021. Phil has also presented his daylily program during the annual CIDS-hosted Pollen Dabbers as well as annual Region One Hybridizers Slide Presentations. 

Phil and Debbie’s Parkersburg garden has been the site for GJW2 whenever CIDS hosts an ADS regional meeting (approximately once every five years). That included hosting GJW2 during July 2022 in their Parkersburg garden while Phil simultaneously chaired the 2022 ADS Region One Meeting “Back in the Saddle” hosted by CIDS. 

Phil generously hybridized and donated the beautiful daylily ‘Swiss Vanilla Cream' (Phil Fass, 2022) as a registration gift plant to each 2022 ADS Region One Meeting attendee. Phil also hybridized and donated the lovely bus plant daylily ‘Chasing the Dragon’ (Phil Fass, 2014) when CIDS hosted the 2015 ADS Region One Meeting. 

Phil coordinates the Region One Hybridizers Slide Presentations whenever CIDS hosts the ADS Region One Meeting. For many years Phil has co-chaired the annual Pollen Dabbers event hosted by CIDS, bringing in outstanding hybridizers from across the U. S. and Canada to speak to our region’s members. Phil runs the laptop and projector during these events, taking care of technology to ensure speakers’ daylily presentations are smooth and flawless. Phil’s background as a college professor makes him a valued mentor—his intelligence, energy, and sense of humor are contagious!  

Whenever a need arises, Phil steps up and gives 100%. This was most notable when CIDS hosted the 2022 ADS Region One Meeting, the first in our region since 2019. Because of pandemic complications and limitations, Phil chaired, organized, and kept tabs on every aspect of the 2022 regional meeting. Phil became the liaison to the hotel and meeting venues, oversaw meals, hosted our speakers, and designed and produced the meeting handbook. Phil and Debbie even served as tour bus captains—Phil captained one bus, while Debbie captained the other bus. 

Kathy and Mary have known Phil for many years. Nancy first met Phil in 2011 at Pollen Dabbers in Marshalltown. During Phil’s daylily presentation, he mentioned he was looking for daylily names. She and Phil collaborated on naming the daylily he registered as ‘Lemon Sorbet’ (Phil Fass, 2016). Phil helped Nancy understand the complicated process of naming a daylily and registering it with ADS. After Phil introduced ‘Lemon Sorbet’, he generously contributed a large clump to CVIDS. 

Phil frequently contributes many high-quality daylilies for annual ADS regional auctions. He has used some cutting-edge cultivars with the intent of improving his own amazing hybridizing efforts. When CVIDS hosted the 2013 ADS Region One Meeting, Phil generously donated over 40 daylily plants for the auction. Eastern Iowa had been hard hit with a drought and this helped greatly with that auction. A 13-year-old club member helped dig those daylilies for the auction. Phil contributed several different daylilies to the teen so she could increase her own personal collection of award-winning cultivars. 

Phil’s knowledge, generosity, and enthusiasm for Region One and promoting daylilies make him a terrific leader. The depth and breadth of his strong service and dedication to Region One make him a worthy recipient of the ADS Region One Service Award.

Congratulations, Phil, and thanks for all you've done and continue to do for our region!


Kathy Larson, ADS Region One Historian and Central Iowa Daylily Society Vice President;

Nancy Carlisle, Cedar Valley Iris and Daylily Society Past President; and

Mary Baker, past ADS Region One Garden Judges Liaison and Nebraska Daylily Society member


  1. Congratulations Phil!

  2. Congratulations Phil! Well deserved and earned

  3. Congratulations Phil!!