It is impossible to talk about growing this year without making reference to the weather. In mid May very few of the Tall Bearded Iris being prepared for Chelsea were in flower. The Intermediate Iris were still in excellent condition at the nursery but the plants for Chelsea were showing no sign of flowering in time.Iris of Sissinghurst prepared plans to provide alternative plants for the Chelsea 2010 Show and discussions were taking place with exhibitors about those options. Of course all changed when the sun arrived and high day time temperatures were finally recorded. Some of the hottest May days for some years was all the Tall Bearded Iris required to open their buds to display their wonderful range of colours JUST in time for delivery to Chelsea 2010.
The Cayeux Stand in the grand marquee took two days to prepare for judging. Sue Marshall and Carol Hersey provided practical help and advice about how to best display the plants. Judging took place on Monday 24th May 2010. The reward for the effort was a Silver Gilt Medal – just short of the Gold that was the target. However given the difficult growing conditions this year Iris of Sissinghurst was satisfied with the result. A pleasant surprise at the Chelsea Show was that of the TOP 20 plants at Chelsea TWO were picked from the plants grown by Iris of Sissinghurst. This was a wonderful acknowledgement to this nursery.
In addition to the Cayeux stand Iris of Sissinghurst also supplied plants to the THRIVE CHARITY garden. This included an Iris named Jamie Roo which was being shown for the first time. This Iris was grown by Brian Hersey, a Kent breeder of Iris. This garden received a Gold Medal as well as being awarded Best in Category for an Urban garden. The garden designer, Jo Thompson, works closely with Sue Marshall and lives in the Marden area of Kent, near the Iris of Sissinghurst nursery.
Iris were also provided to the small garden created for the DYSLEXIA CHARITY. The garden designer Tim Fowler , comes from Cheshire. This garden worked to a small budget and was designed at very short notice for Chelsea 2010. The garden was impressively designed and received a Bronze medal. The Iris in this display Helen Dawn and Codicil looked paricularly good within the garden design.Finally plants were also supplied to the RHS BIO DIVERSITY display in the Grand Marquee.
The feedback from garden designers and visitors to Chelsea 2010 has been very positive. If you visited the Show and liked the iris please let us know and give us your feedback on your favourite varieties.