The local weather in this part of Kent during July 2010 continued to be warm and dry. The Iris of Sissinghurst nursery is located on wealden clay and the extended periods of hot days with very little rain has resulted in garden lawns becoming straw like in appearance and artificial watering of flower beds/borders becoming essential to avoid plant loss. Whilst bearded iris are tolerant to this weather sibiricas and ensatas have suffered. It has proven difficult to undertake any weeding of the stock beds during this dry period. Despite this weather the weeds still seem to survive and grow!!!!!!
The Kent Iris Society attended the Iris of Sissinghurst nursery for its annual visit. This co-incided with a meeting of the Kent Iris Society committee. All members of the society were invited to join in a communal lunch in the private garden of the nursery. Approximately 35 people were able to attend, including new members. It was a warm sunny day so it was perfect for eating outside. After lunch an auction of iris, donated by members of the society, was held with the proceeds going to the Society funds. Any lover of iris that lives in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex or Greater London may wish to join the society. For £5 per year (£7.50 of family membership) you can attend meetings/talks, receive a specialist magazine three times a year and invites to trips to view iris. Visit the website www.kentiris.org.uk for more information.
The month of July has been busy with orders from the on-line ordering facility. A number of the orders have been delayed because of the ground conditions which have been too dry for planting (certainly in the south east). August is, of course, the traditional time to start planting bearded iris although the changing climate has meant that planting can continue until much later in the year than before. Sue Marshall, owner of Iris of Sissinghurst, is currently evaluating which of the stock will be suitable for sale from the stock beds. It is anticipated that a number of new varieties will be available from late summer into 2011.
Finally we must mention a talk that Sue Marshall gave to Charlton & Blackheath Gardening Society in south east London. It was held at Charlton House, a beautiful listed building. Sue was made very welcome by the members, the talk was well received and members had the opportunity to buy some potted iris that was available as part of the presentation. The next talk planned is with the Brabourne Gardening Society on the 27th August.