Old House Gardens
From America’s Expert Source for Heirloom Flower Bulbs

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ENDURING PERENNIALS — Tough, beautiful, and diverse, heirloom iris thrive without care in old gardens and graveyards across America.

TO BLOOM THIS YEAR — Though iris are usually sold bare-root in summer and don’t bloom till the next, we ship freshly dug plants in April that, with good care and a bit of luck, may well bloom their first summer.

HISTORY & TIPS — Grown here since colonial days, iris became one of the “it” flowers of the Arts and Crafts era. They like full sun and well-drained soil. Learn more here.

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IMMORTAL IRIS        Sampler
Icons of the early summer garden, bearded iris are easy to grow and richly diverse. Give them full sun and average to well-drained soil and they’ll reward you for close to forever. We’ll send you 3 of our favorite heirlooms, all different, labeled, freshly dug, and great for zones 4a-8a(9aWC).

For 2, 3, or more of each, order additional samplers.

COS33Add to basket:1/$23.502/$453/$644/$835/$101
BLUE RHYTHM, 1945        New
Born in Mapleton, Iowa, this handsome farmboy went on to win the iris world’s highest honors, including the Dykes Medal in 1950. A silvery blue-purple that’s usually described as “cornflower,” it looks especially good with silver-leaved perennials such as lavender and Russian sage. And it’s deliciously lemon scented! 38-40”, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR04Add to basket:1/$93/$24.505/$3910/$7225/$162
CAPRICE, 1898
“‘I smell ripe grapes!’ cried a freckle-faced boy” in Ella McKinney’s 1927 Iris in the Little Garden — but it was actually this richly fragrant iris he smelled. It’s richly colored, too, a pure, deep, glowing rose that drew me like a beacon when I first saw it at our local Farmers Market many years ago. Just 24-26 inches tall, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Chart to compare.
IR18Add to basket:1/$93/$24.505/$3910/$7225/$162
CRIMSON KING, 1893        New
The deep, almost iridescent red-purple of this fragrant iris — which cameras fail to capture — dazzled the world when it was first introduced by the legendary Peter Barr. Its blooms are often the first of iris season, and in zone-6 and warmer gardens it often reblooms in the fall. In fact, it’s become “ubiquitous in coastal California,” writes Clarence Mahan in Classic Irises, “where its reblooming habit has given it a place in the hearts and flower beds of generations of gardeners.” Just 22-26” tall, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR07SOLD OUT1/$7.503/$20.505/$32.5010/$6025/$135
DAUNTLESS, 1929        New
With velvety petals of burgundy and rose, ‘Dauntless’ is one of the oldest and best of the so-called “red” irises. It was introduced by Nashville’s Clarence Connell in 1929, beating out ‘Indian Chief’ to win the Dykes Medal as the year’s finest iris. On “tall heavy stems,” its luxurious blooms “last over a long season” (Cooley’s, 1937). 34-38”, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR23Add to basket:1/$9.503/$265/$4110/$7625/$171
FLAVESCENS, 1813
Lauren Springer in Passionate Gardening tells of collecting a bit of this incredibly tough, moonlight yellow iris from “two shimmering clumps” at an abandoned homesite in Wyoming, way out in the middle of nowhere. “Perhaps someday,” she muses, “it will be all that remains of my house and garden.” (See a triumphant swath of it gone wild in Kansas.) Lemon fragrance, 30”, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR06Add to basket:1/$7.503/$20.505/$32.5010/$6025/$135
FLORENTINA, 1500
If I could grow only one iris, this might be it. Its color is a pale, luminous pewter — unique and ravishing. Its falls are long, like the ears of a basset hound. Its blooms kick off iris season. And its history is deep. Although modern scholars say it’s not the I. florentina or “white iris” of ancient times — now I. albicans — since at least the 1500s its rhizomes have been dried and sold as orris-root, a prized ingredient in herbal medicines and perfumery. Learn more here. Zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR10SOLD OUT1/$8.503/$23.505/$36.5010/$6825/$153
FRANK ADAMS, 1937        New
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR24Add to basket:1/$93/$24.505/$3910/$7225/$162Limit 25, please.
GRACCHUS, 1884        New
It’s back! At Wave Hill, the legendary Marco Polo 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, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart to compare.
IR01Add to basket:1/$8.503/$23.505/$36.5010/$6825/$153
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