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Iris: Lost Forever?

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Page 2 of Iris: Lost?
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FRANCHEVILLE, 1927

By Ferdinand Cayeux, perhaps the greatest iris breeder of all time, this big, stately iris features pale, rippled standards of lilac and fawn over falls of deep, velvety maroon shading to violet. Our stock of this rarity is very limited, and it will be years before we can offer it again, so get it while you can! 38-46”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in spring 2015. We don’t expect to offer it again but could special order it for you.


FRANK ADAMS, 1937

With its exotic blend of parchment, bronze, rust, rose, and oxblood, this intriguing iris adds a note of “unusual warmth and vibrancy” (Schreiner’s, 1946) to the early summer garden. Bred in Elkhart, Indiana, it was named for the British head gardener who helped create one of the 20th century’s greatest gardens, Hidcote. 38-46”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2018. We hope to offer this variety again in 2020. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GERMANICA, 1500

This iconic flower could be called the original bearded iris. Fragrant and tough, it was grown in ancient Rome, carried east on the Silk Road, and by 1629 was so widely planted in England that Parkinson called it “the common purple flower-de-luce.” It’s also the iris immortalized by Van Gogh in his masterpiece Irises which sold in 1987 for a record-setting $54 million. 30-36”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2018 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GRACCHUS, 1884

At Wave Hill, the legendary Marco Polo Stufano championed hundreds of little-known but fabulous flowers, including this classic iris. Just two feet tall, it melds happily into perennial gardens where its luminous, pale gold standards over a lacework of raisin-purple give it a regal presence. Tough and floriferous, 20-24", zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2018 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


GREAT LAKES, 1938

There’s a lot more to this iris than a great name. It’s Canadian-bred, so you know it’s tough, its stems are tall and sturdy, and its profuse, handsome flowers seem to reflect the summer sky. Winner of the Dykes Medal, it was “unquestionably the finest of all blue iris” for decades (Wayside, 1954). With a fragrance that’s been compared to magnolias, 36-40”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2016 and we hope to offer again in 2022. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


HER MAJESTY, 1903

This pixie queen is an “exquisite shade of lilac-pink, almost old rose” (The Garden Magazine, 1917), but what really sets it apart is the rich tapestry of deeper rose that ornaments its falls. Plant it where you can enjoy that exquisite detailing up close, or pick lots of bouquets! Fragrant, 24-26”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2016. We offer a rotating selection of iris. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


HONORABILE, 1840

This tough little charmer, carried across the country by the pioneers, flourishes today in thousands of old gardens, cemeteries, and abandoned homesites from Bangor to Santa Barbara. Although our photo may make it look brassy or plain, in the garden here its small, cheery flowers of chestnut and gold have won it many fans. Some experts claim that, due to a mix-up 150 years ago, its real name is ‘San Souci’, but we’re unconvinced — and whatever you call it, this is a richly historic and rewarding iris. 20-24 inches, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in 2018 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


LAVANDULACEA, 1854

Subtle and small-flowered, this rarely offered beauty will never be mistaken for a modern iris. It’s an intriguing blend of soft lavender shaded at the edges by even softer brown – yes, brown! – and brightened by a glow in the center that spills out on its golden beards. Due to limited space in our micro-farms, we’re offering it one time only, so get it while you can! Aka ‘Dove’, ‘Agnes Sorrel’, ‘Pluton’, ‘Rosamond’, and ‘Candicans’. 22-26”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2016 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MADAME CHEREAU, 1844

The most sought-after iris of the 19th century, ‘Mme. Chereau’ is tall, stately, and oh so lovely. Its elegantly long white petals are neatly stitched or feathered with purple along the edges in a pattern known as plicata. A truly landmark iris, it was bred by pioneering nurseryman Jean-Nicolas Lémon whose 150 dazzling introductions transformed iris from a wildflower into a garden superstar. Grape-scented, 36”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2013 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


MONSIGNOR, 1907

Introduced by Vilmorin-Andrieux et Cie, the famous French seed company, this sumptuous iris features violet standards over deep, velvety, claret purple falls with vivid white reticulations and an orange beard. But popularity and survival depend on more than good looks, and ‘Monsignor’ – like many cherished pass-along plants – grows with great vigor and blooms abundantly. Fragrant, 28-32”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in 2018 and we hope to offer again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


Page 2 of Iris: Lost?
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