Irises introduced over 30 years ago are considered Historic Irises. Those that have survived this time period generally are the toughest of plants of their generation. Many Irisarians collect older Irises. Some look for plants to fill in gardens that match the time period of historic homes and are creating restoration gardens. Others are interested in the evolution of the modern Iris, while others simply prefer a simpler form and look of these antiques. Whatever your reasons you can enjoy the historic Irises even more by joining the Historic Iris Preservation Society (HIPS). You will find their website at http://www.hips-roots.com/
One drawback of many irisarians' focus on the "latest and greatest" varieties is that many older varieties tend to pass out of commerce fairly quickly, sometimes as soon as ten or fifteen years after their introduction. To those interested in the preservation of historic iris, this can create great difficulty later on, when these varieties become officially "historic." Thus, when thinking about preserving historic iris, it is also helpful to consider the preservation of these "not-quite-historic" varieties as well.
-- Main.RPries - 2009-11-01