Kent has experienced the warmest and driest April on record. The month of May has equally been very warm with little or no rain. The bearded iris at Iris of Sissinghurst have flowered much earlier than planned. A number of the intermediate and tall bearded varieties which flowered earlier also failed to hold their flowers for the time expected. This has proven really disappointing. A large number of the iris plants are held in polytunnel/solar tunnels here at Iris of Sissinghurst until mid May in order to control growth and flowering. The abnormal weather conditions forced the transfer of large number of iris plants out of the tunnels into cool areas in an attempt to slowdown the flowering process. This was partially successful but in the end 2011 has seen the bearded iris plants flowering 2-3 weeks earlier than expected.
The show season has been seriously affected by the above average tempertures and lack of rain. A number of the shows which would normally include a large number of intermediate bearded iris plants have included only tall bearded varieties. The feedback to Iris of Sissinghurst has still been very positive with a number of new varieties proven very popular. However the consequence of the weather has meant that Iris of Sissinghurst will NOT be able to attend the KENT GARDEN SHOW at DETLING over the MAY BANKHOLIDAY WEEKEND. This is the first occasion that Iris of Sissinghurst has missed this important show for many years. Sue Marshall, Owner of Iris of Sissinghurst, has expressed her disappointment at missing the Show but took the decision because the iris display would not have been of the standard expected by lovers of iris plants.
Attention has now turned to responding quickly to the orders that are being received via the on-line sales. The abnormal weather has not stopped sales to iris lovers. After all bearded iris love hot dry weather so these are good conditions to grow iris. IF the long hot summers continue into the future the iris plant will increase in popularity and demand as more plantlovers come to appreciate the wide range of colours now available. Remember Bearded Iris do NOT require watering to the scale that most other plants require in the garden!!!!.