Nola's Iris Garden – San Jose, California - Atlas Obscura

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Nola's Iris Garden

Exquisite irises bloom every spring in this hillside garden. 


In the hills above San Jose, amongst twisty roads and the occasional grazing cow, a magnificent flower garden blooms every spring. Nola’s Iris Garden is a gorgeous place to visit while out on a drive, with a whole parking lot set up for visitors to gawk at gorgeous ruffled flowers in every color from brown to tangerine. But while it’s open to the public during the bloom, the garden is actually more of a working farm, where the owners Nola and Gary Prevost propagate thousands of Iris germanica plants for future sale. 

Walking amongst 2,500 varieties over five acres of hillside, placards identify the varieties: a Dodge City here, a Eugenia King there. There are also signs indicating which plots contain award-winning irises from the last few decades of breeding. The owners have even set up a large wooden porch for photographers, artists, and visitors to enjoy the view of flowers and, beyond them, the rolling foothills. 

Know Before You Go

The garden is open for visitors in April and May, during the bloom. The owners encourage potential visitors to email them at for info on peak bloom time. In the past, the garden has been open on Wednesdays, Fridays, and the weekend, but it may also be good to email and ask. 

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