IrisUmbria.it: who, what, where, why, how?

If you browse through the sections below, you’ll find an explanation of who we are, what we offer, where we are, why we picked irises and how we came to be doing this.  For other questions, consult our FAQs or contact us.

Who?  Casa Nova SRL

IrisUmbria.it is owned by Casa Nova SRL, which is a limited company (“Societ√† a Responsibilit√† Limitata”) and an “agriturismo” under Italian law.  Its full title is Societ√† Agricola Casa Nova SRL. (Partita IVA, Codice Fiscale and CCIAA inscription number: 01764240519; N. REA CCIAA di Arezzo 137529.)  The registered address for legal purposes (sede legale) and the location of the Casa Nova estate (sede operativa) is: loc S. Anna, Via Comunaglia 251, 06019  Umbertide, (PG), Italy.  See here for contact details.

Tom and Tricia

Introducing the people behind Casa Nova SRL:

Patricia Robertson

Dr Tom Henry

“I’m a lawyer who is also a passionate gardener.  My idea is for our nursery to make available an exceptional range of irises, some of them not easily found here in Italy, others born and bred here. Our display garden will provide pleasure and inspiration and with your help we can paint a rainbow of colour across the landscape.”

“After years as a gardening widower, I decided if you can’t beat them you’d better just join them.  So now I drive the tractor, when not working on my latest monograph on Signorelli or Raphael (each of whom, incidentally, painted irises).”

What?  Our iris collection: A Rainbow of Colour

The emphasis in our collection is on Tall Bearded Irises, including both historic types and modern selections, from England, France, the USA and Italy, many of them winners of prestigious prizes, such as the Dykes Medal or Fiorino d'oro (Golden Florin).  We have particularly sought out perfumed irises and those reputed to rebloom.  In addition to the Tall Bearded Irises, which typically exceed 70cm in height, we also have bearded irises in other sizes from Miniature Dwarf Bearded Irises, less than 20 cm tall, upward.  (Click here for a jargon buster and for advice on growing irises.)

You can place orders in our Online Store for delivery as bare root rhizomes in August-September when we lift and divide the irises. At the moment, about 200 varieties of irises are listed in the Online Store but we continue to add more, as our stocks of other varieties increase.  To view  our collection of bearded irises and see the full range of what we will be offering once stocks permit, check out our photo albums on Flickr.  Over time, we will be expanding our range to offer for sale a number of the other plants on view in our display garden: non-bearded irises, including Siberian irises, Japanese irises, species irises and water irises, and some perennials that make good companions for irises.

The big green button below takes you to the Online Store.  Once there, you can search for an iris by name, or browse the full listing name or size, or browse by one of the style categories.

All the other stuff we do:

We sell irises online via this site.  In addition to the plant nursery, our agriturismo produces olive oil and other fresh produce and offers holiday rentals in one of the most beautiful parts of Italy. On our other websites you can find out lots more about holidaying here and about the art and culture of Umbria.

We have three websites...

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IrisUmbria.it

UmbrianEden.it

CasaNovaUmbria.eu

This is the website for the nursery. Here you can browse the catalogue and order irises online for delivery bareroot in late summer/autumn.

This website is dedicated to our holiday rentals and provides a quick route to the key information about Il Casale (sleeps up to 16) and Casa dell’Ortolano (sleeps up to 9), with links to the main Casa Nova website for those who want more detail.

This is the main Casa Nova website.  You can find a wealth of information here about Casa Nova, holidaying in Umbria, and Renaissance artists in Umbria (Tom’s area of expertise).

Where?

We are in Umbria, just north of Perugia, in the Niccone valley, which runs between Umbertide, in the Upper Tiber Valley and the pass over to Cortona, in Tuscany. Please note that we are primarily an online nursery, supplying bare root plants during the lifting season in summer/autumn.  The nursery is not usually open to visitors.  However, you can visit during the published times when we open the garden during the iris flowering season (see here) and a limited range of irises in pots will be available for purchase at that time.  To find us using “What3Words” use lemonade.pond.teach or to find us using Google maps “plus code” 86CR+33 Umbertide, Province of Perugia.  Please see below for our location.

 

“Why irises?”

There are, of course, some utilitarian reasons for that choice: they grow well in our soil and climate, are little troubled by pests (so are suitable for organic methods of cultivation), can cope with dry summers and minimal care and can be dispatched as bare-root plants to a far wider market than could ever pass our door here.

But far more than all that, every garden needs some plants that are the opposite of utilitarian, plants that lift the spirit when in their moment of glory.  Irises offer an extraordinary range of colour, scent and beauty of form.  Their season spans the transition from the delicate beauties of Spring to the full blown splendors of early Summer. The very fact that their period of bloom is ephemeral makes it all the more an event to look forward to, marking the turning of the seasons.  Even the smallest garden has room for a clump of irises and even an inexperienced (or reluctant) gardener can manage their modest requirements and will be well rewarded. For some advice on growing them, see here.

We hope you enjoy browsing this site.

How? Our Story

Casa Nova

Casa Nova SRL is an Italian company owned by a British couple, Patricia Robertson and Dr Tom Henry (a Professor of Art History, whose specialism is what first brought us to this area).  In 2003 we bought a farmhouse and several hectares of long neglected land in the hills above the Niccone valley, in Northern Umbria.  Since then we have been gradually bringing it back into sustainable production as an “agriturismo” - a blend of agriculture and holiday rentals.  There are now two houses on the estate, each with their own pool and private gardens, which can be rented for holidays, separately or together.  They are surrounded by olive groves and orchards, run on organic principles, and guests can find fresh produce in the fruit and vegetable plots or (chickens permitting) fresh eggs in the chicken run.  In 2016 we established our specialist plant nursery on another part of the Casa Nova estate, realizing a long held dream. 

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