The winter season in Kent continues to be very mild. The temperatures in this part of Kent have remained above average throughout November/December and the first part of January 2012. The rainfall has been very limited and in tandem with the summer drought almost certainly means that garden watering will be restricted in the coming summer of 2012. A hose pipe ban is now very likely unless the second half of this winter and spring sees above average rainfall. In comparison with last year when prelonged snowfall and freezing temperatures dominated Kent.
Iris of Sissinghurst nursery has concentrated a large number of its potted iris in its polytunnels to protect them from the winter conditions. This minimises the risk of any damage to the rhizomes from rot (often caused by excessive rain & waterlogged conditions). Plants are inspected daily and the mild conditions mean that the potted plants are in need of watering on a regular basis.
The abnormal weather conditions over the last year (Remember the lack of spring in 2011 when summer seemed to commence in April) has confused gardeners as well as nature. The gardens at Iris of Sissinghurst are now showing signs of spring activity amongst a range of plants and shrubs. This is typical across Kent and it may mean that bearded iris varieties will begin to flower much earlier than normal, if the pattern of weather mirrors last year.
Sue Marshall, owner of Iris of Sissinghurst, is naturally concerned that the Show calender for 2012 is not disrupted again as it was last year. The premier show, Chelsea, was seriously effected last year and very few gardens were able to display bearded iris. Iris of Sissinghurst is growing for individual gardens as well as within the main marquee this year. The iris for these displays are looking in good condition. Details of the gardens that will have Iris of Sissinghurst plants will be publicised in ealry spring. Watch this space.
The programme of talks to horticutural societies has already commenced for 2012. The first talk has taken place at Marden Horticultural Society on Tuesday 10th January 2012. This is the local society for iris of Sissinghurst. There was a very good attendance of in excess of 50 members and Sue Marshall provided a talk called " The English Love Affair with the Iris".The next talk will be at Hildenborough Horticultural Society on Monday 16th January 2012.