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Iris: Lost Forever?

From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs
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Page 3 of Iris: Lost?
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MRS. GEORGE DARWIN, 1895

The perfect size for bouquets, and luminous in the garden, this elegant small iris is named for Maud du Puy, the Philadelphia-born wife of one of Darwin’s sons. Although often confused with its sister ‘Mrs. Horace Darwin’ (which we offered last year), it’s laced with gold and purple (not just purple) and blooms later (extending the sisterly season). 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.


NEGLECTA, 1813

Although named in 1813, this wild hybrid of I. pallida and I. variegata was probably grown in gardens long before that. Today several similar clones are grouped under this name, all short and small-flowered with pale lavender standards over jaunty little falls that are richly veined with purple – and as the Biltmore Nursery catalog noted in 1912, “most desirable.” Due to limited space in our micro-farms, we’re offering this wild jewel one time only, so get it while you can! 20-14”, 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.


OLA KALA, 1949

The deep, warm, radiant yellow of this Dykes Medal winner continues to astonish gardeners nearly 70 years after it was first introduced by Jacob Sass of Nebraska. Its beards are orange, its tall stalks never topple, and it multiplies vigorously. In short, as its Greek name declares, it’s “all good.” 36-38”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in 2013. We don’t expect to offer it again but could special order it for you.


PALLIDA DALMATICA, 1597Web-Only

This is the iris of my childhood, and maybe yours – tall, pale lavender, tough as nails, with a Concord grape fragrance that, as Elizabeth Lawrence wrote, “fills the borders and drifts into the house.” In his monumental Herbal of 1597, Gerard called it “the great Floure de-luce of Dalmatia” and praised its tall stalks, “faire large floures,” and “exceedingly sweet” scent. Even its leaves are beautiful! Stately but down-home, it’s a quintessential iris – and somehow makes everything around it look better. (See it farmed in Italy for making perfumes and gin.) 36-38”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from Ann Arbor. We hope to offer this variety again in 2021. If you’d like to be notified the next time we offer this treasure, sign up for an email alert.


PERFECTION, 1880

“Well named,” wrote Nebraska nurseryman Charles Harrison in 1916, “tall and queenly, with a profusion of bloom of radiant and glistening purple.” Nearly a century later, iris expert Mike Unser agrees, saying ‘Perfection’ is “true to its name . . . with exceptional color, flawless form, vigorous growth” and even “beautiful foliage.” Flaring falls and splashes of darker purple on its standards add to its appeal. Due to limited space in our micro-farms, we’re offering it one time only, so get it while you can! 28-34”, 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.


PINNACLE, 1949

“Fresh, cool, flawless in its purity, and absolutely unique,” to quote its breeder Jean Stevens, ‘Pinnacle’ was a ground-breaking iris, the first to combine white standards with yellow falls. It soon became immensely popular, too, and experts say it would have won the Dykes Medal – if only New Zealand-bred iris had been eligible for it. 36-40”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in 2018 and we don't expect to offer it again.


PLUMERI, 1888

This fragrant little iris is a fascinating mix of jewel-like colors that photos can only hint at. “Coppery rose” over “velvety claret” is how the legendary Bertrand Farr described it in 1920, while other have called it “rosy mauve with metallic sheen” over “red-violet, edged gold-brown.” Early and free flowering, it’s an iris we look forward to every year. (Please note: Recent research by Anner Whitehead has convinced us that ‘Plumeri’ dates to 1888, not 1830.) 28-32”, 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.


PRINZESS VIKTORIA LUISE, 1910

This radiant little iris won my heart long before I learned its name. A new neighbor rescued a single rhizome from the shade of overgrown shrubs, and before long it had multiplied into a big clump of one of the most beautiful iris I’d ever seen. Blooming abundantly, it has luminous, pale yellow standards over bright, rosy purple falls for an effect that’s absolutely scintillating. 20-24”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in 2017 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.


QUECHEE, 1947

This chocolate-shaded, maroon-red iris “is a common sight at the Chelsea Flower Show,” says the popular BBC magazine Gardeners’ World. And there’s more to it than dramatic color – it’s also graced with a delicate orange scent. Bred by the great Harold Knowlton, it’s named for the Quechee Gorge, “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon.” 30-34”, zones 3a-8a(10bWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in 2018 and we don't expect to offer it again.


QUEEN OF MAY, 1859

One of the first “pink” irises, this Victorian favorite isn’t really pink but a soft, luminous, rosy lavender that’s distinctly different from the many lavender-blues of iris season. It’s fragrant, free-flowering, and still – as Ella McKinney summed it up in her 1927 Iris in the Little Garden – “old, early, and good.” 28-32”, 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.


Page 3 of Iris: Lost?
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