It is now mid way through the summer of 2011. The dry period has continued with very litle rainfall in this part of Kent. This part of Kent is known as the Low Weald and the nursery sits on a clay soil. The ground is displaying signs of this dry period with large cracks in the soil on exposed sites. Unless gardeners have been watering flower beds in west Kent many plants would not survive unless in shaded parts of gardens. This local weather is obviously at odds with many other parts of the country where rainfall has been either typical or above average for this time of year.

The good news for this type of weather is that bearded iris will flourish provided all other growing conditions are met, ie the rhizome is exposed to direct sunlight etc etc and not overshadowed by other plants/shrubs. This should mean good flowering opportunities for next year. The nursery, Iris of Sissinghurst, has now started lifting and dividing bearded iris from its stock beds. New stock & display beds are being created for 2012. This is linked to making available a number of new bearded varieties for 2012. Mention has already been made in the previous news section that new Kent breed varieties will be announced soon. The British and American Iris Societies have registered the new varieties. Iris of Sissinghurst will be providing details & photographs of these new varieties over the next few weeks.

Iris lovers will know that August is the month best suited for dividing bearded iris on your garden and replanting. This gives the plant the best chance to settle into its new position whilst the bed is warm and the strength of the sun allows for growth. Sue Marshall, owner of Iris of Sissinghurst always recommends August as the best time for this work. Of course the changing climate does mean that September is now regarded by many, particularly in the south of the British Isles, as an extension of summer but there is always a risk of changeable weather conditions.

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