Welcome to Iris City Gardens

Our History

In 1931 a group of iris growers and hybridizers formed the Nashville Iris Association to foster the planting and cultivation of irises, with the goal of having Nashville known as "The Iris City". It seems they succeeded, for by 1948 four Dykes medals, the top honor given annually to an iris, were won by Nashvillians. Those winners were DAUNTLESS (Connell in 1929), COPPER LUSTRE (Kirkland in 1934), MARY GEDDES (Stahlman-Washington in 1936) and CHIVALRY (Wills in 1945). Additionally, the American Iris Society held three of its annual conventions in Nashville in 1935, 1941 and 1948.

Macey's grandfather, Thomas A. Williams, was among the best known of those irisarians. In the 1930s and 40s he had a long-running local and CBS radio show on gardening and was known as the "Old Dirt Dobber." Mr. Williams wrote a book on gardening and published a catalog of iris under the name Iris City Garden. He was an avid hybridizer of tall bearded iris until his death in 1949. Our logo is the frame that held Mr. Williams' mailbox. We are pleased and honored to be able to carry on his garden name.

In 1993 we moved approximately 4,000 iris that had originated in his gardens to our farm. We continue to search for introductions by Mr. Williams and other family members.

Due largely to the efforts of the Nashville Iris Association, the Tennessee Legislature named the iris the state flower in 1933. Although no color or variety was specified, a purple tall bearded is usually depicted.