January 2018

Siberian Iris in Brian’s Garden
For the first meeting of 2018 we welcomed Jill and Alan Whitehead to talk to us about “Iris for the natural garden”.

They began by describing how their garden at Aulden Farm had developed from a very run down property into the Informal country garden surrounding an old farmhouse, you find today. Three acres are planted with wildlife in mind. Irises thrive around a natural pond, shady beds and open borders. Their home made ice cream is very popular with visitors to the National Collection of Siberian Iris and plant nursery. In 2007 an old collection of Siberian Iris fell into neglect, they couldn't let the history just disappear so they acquired the remaining plants and re-established it, with many additions, as a new National Collection. It now has approximately 150 cultivars and proves to be a useful resource for photographers as well as artists.

They displayed pictures of the many different members of this family, from our native Iris foetidissima and pseudacorus to Siberian Irises, reticulata, bearded, Japanese and Pacific Iris. They also described the preferred growing conditions for each along with a selection of their favourites, while introducing us to some of the breeders who have been instrumental in the development of these much loved colourful garden plants.

Brian Skeys