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GERMANICA, 1500        New
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart & care.
IR-19
1/$9.50
3/$26
5/$41
10/$76
25/$171
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, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in spring 2015. We plan to offer it again in 2017. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
GREAT LAKES, 1938        New
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart & care.
IR-15
1/$8.50
3/$23.50
5/$36.50
10/$68
25/$153
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(10aWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in spring 2015. We plan to offer it again in 2017. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
INDIAN CHIEF, 1929        New
With velvety, wine-red falls and glowing standards of raspberry to bronze, this tall, striking, Jazz Age iris is one of the most colorful we grow. It’s exceptionally vigorous, too, thriving on neglect in old gardens everywhere and blooming even in part shade. By the good Dr. Wylie Ayres of Cincinnati, 32-36”, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Chart & care.
IR-12
1/$7.50
3/$20.50
5/$32.50
10/$60
25/$135
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(10aWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Chart & care.
IR-31
1/$9.50
3/$26
5/$41
10/$76
25/$171
MRS. GEORGE DARWIN, 1895        New
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart & care.
IR-25
1/$7.50
3/$20.50
5/$32.50
10/$60
25/$135
MRS. HORACE DARWIN, 1888        
The violet reticulations on this elegant, not-so-big iris make it even more beautiful up close — and great for bouquets. Named for the wife of one of Darwin’s sons, it’s an enduring survivor by Sir Michael Foster “whose name shines more luminously than any other in the early history of garden iris” (Mahan, Classic Iris). Fragrant, 24-26”, zones 3a-8a(10aWC), from our Ann Arbor micro-farms. Last offered in spring 2015. We plan to offer it again in 2017. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
PALLIDA DALMATICA, 1597        
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Chart & care.
IR-09
1/$10
3/$27.50
5/$43
10/$80
25/$180
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(10aWC), from Ann Arbor. Last offered in spring 2015. We plan to offer it again in 2017. For an alert, sign up for our email newsletter.
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