The Presby Memorial Iris Gardens were established in 1927 to honor Frank H. Presby, a founder of the American Iris Society. They are home to the largest public collection of irises in the United States. This year they are renovating their heirloom beds and are offering historic irises from these beds for sale. You can see (and order) the initial twelve historic irises they are offering at their shop on Etsy. Their iris varieties for sale will be updated as they continue to renovate their beds through July and August.
Our regional meetings are great events to learn more about irises and meet other enthusiastic iris lovers. They can also be a source of beautiful irises.
And the irisarians are also great for sharing their expertise and experience. At the 2011 Region 21 meeting, my wife was looking for some irises at the sale. One of the other attendees suggest everyone should have a ‘Wabash’ in their garden. So this was one of the irises she chose and we planted that summer.
In 2012 we learned how good the recommendation was! ‘Wabash’ bloomed and it was a brilliant amoena. Thank you Unknown Irisarian for your great suggestion!
Since then I’ve learned more about ‘Wabash’ from the Iris Encyclopedia. It was the American Dykes Medal Winner in 1940. There also can be confusion between it and ‘Bright Hour’, a hybrid from ‘Extravaganza’ and ‘Wabash’. The real ‘Wabash’ has purple based foliage, while ‘Bright Hour’ does not, a distinction I was not aware of when looking at the iris. From the purple near the bloom in this picture, I suspect this is the real ‘Wabash’. In any case, you can be sure I will be looking closely at the foliage as well this year!