Peruvian Connection’s headquarters is situated on a family farm, amid the rolling hills and lush woodlands of Eastern Kansas. Here on Canaan Farm is where CEO, Annie Hurlbut, grew up, and co-founder, Biddy Hurlbut, gallivanted through her mother’s iris garden. Long before Peruvian Connection came into existence, their backyard was well-known for its exquisite flower garden.
Biddy’s mother, Corinne Miller, developed a passion for iris in the 1950’s. Charles Miller, Biddy’s father, was a pilot and flew her mother around the country to visit iris hybridizers. In Iowa, the Millers admired a burnt red iris named Pepperpot. When Charles asked if he could purchase it, he was told no, because there were just a couple of the experimental plants. But he persisted.
“She gave him a plant and charged him $125 for it,” Biddy Hurlbut said. The plants thrived in the Tonganoxie garden. As did many more.
Mrs. Miller tested new varieties every year in partnership with national iris hybridizers. At one time, the garden had approximately 2500 different varieties of iris and was a part of the National Iris Society’s tour.
Today, Mrs. Miller’s garden is less diverse than it once was, with several hundred iris varieties, but has been recently renovated and is as enchanting as ever. In addition to iris, there are loads of colorful poppies, peonies, columbine and other perennials. A popular site for painters, photographers and Peruvian Connection employees over their lunch hour, this time of year is the most special as the iris are in all their glory.