The Winter is finally over but Spring has displayed contrasting weather patterns. The second half of March experienced above average day time temperatures albeit with freezing temperatures over night. The Iris of Sissinghurst nursery has a large percentage of its plants kept under cover during the winter months. Sue Marshall, owner of the nursery, seriously considered moving a percentage of these plants to external areas in the Iris of Sissinghurst nursery because the plants were showing signs of early flowering. However the month of April has seen a marked change in the weather conditions in the south of England. The introduction of drought restrictions by the water authorities at the beginning of April coincided with prolonged periods of rain and lower day time temperatures. These weather conditions have continued throughout April todate.
There has been a great deal of concern that many varieties of plants will follow the pattern of 2011 with early flowering in advance of the traditional dates for the British Isles. Sue Marshall now believes that the bearded iris are displaying more typical growth levels in keeping for this time of year. Indeed the short bearded iris are now flowering in the external display beds at the nursery which follows the timing you would anticipate in the south of England.
This is good timing because the early garden fairs/shows have now started (see list of Shows that Iris of Sissinghurst representatives will attend in 2012) and short bearded iris for sale at these Shows are looking stunning.