Wanda Lunn singled out and trimmed back several stems of an Amur maple clump tree (Acer ginnala) to create a canopy for these shade perennials at her Cedar Rapids home. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

By Cindy Hadish/for Iowa Gardener

New plant introductions grow in harmony alongside historic varieties throughout Wanda Lunn’s lush gardens in Cedar Rapids.

Lunn stays on top of the latest eye-catching plant releases, while maintaining a Historic Iris Preservation Society display garden, rich in iris varieties 30 years or older.

Related: “Awesome” lily is a winner

Wanda Lunn relaxes with her dogs on a bench in the yard of her Cedar Rapids home. The dogs help keep ravenous rabbits at bay. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

“If they’ve been around 30 years, they can grow in anyone’s yard,” Lunn said, pointing out plants dating to the 1920s and even older, such as the 1898 Caprice, a bearded, lavender-colored iris.

One iris, previously thought to have vanished, grows near a griffin statue in Lunn’s garden. The tri-colored ‘Romance’ iris was discovered next to a barn in Massachusetts and found its way to Lunn, who planted it in her Iowa garden, where it now thrives.

Lunn’s expertise goes beyond the 230 iris varieties she grows. Her half-acre yard also includes 296 varieties of lilies, 230 types of daylilies, 40 martagons, 32 peonies – including one grown by her great-grandmother – and 30 varieties of clematis, along with hosta and other perennials.

See more of this story and photos in the July/August 2017 edition of the Iowa Gardener magazine. Find extensive information on gardening in Iowa by subscribing to the Iowa Gardener.

Read about other great Iowa gardens:

Water garden in Cedar Rapids

Hosta heaven

Historic South Amana garden

“Raspberry Wine’ bee balm, (Monarda) at center, is surrounded by ‘Blushed Peach,’ a yellow Asiatic lily (Lilium ‘Blushed Peach’) and the orange ‘Pearl Justien’ lily, (Lilium ‘Pearl Justien’) in a garden bed at the home of Wanda Lunn. Her half-acre yard includes 296 varieties of lilies among other flowers. (photo/Cindy Hadish)