Irises – a quest begins

In my last blog I said there was a reason for getting an allotment and it is irises that are the reason. My interest in irises, whilst still fairly new, is growing at a pace and I have a couple of areas to explore that are now starting to take form into a real plan.

The first of which will be a more personal journey to attempt hybridizing my own irises. Before I can really get into this I need to build my own stock to hybridize from – I have about 70 different cultivars at the moment. Some of these will be for the purpose of creating my own irises but a large number are also for my other purpose which I will get to in a moment. There are still some irises I would like to collect in order to have what I hope will be a base to work from – both existing hybrids and also some of the species irises. The subject of hybridizing is very new to me still so I will be reading a lot and learning as I go along – it should prove a fun if slow experiment.

The second part of this which is the real quest is developing a collection of irises that are specific to Suffolk. There are 3 main hybridizers whose irises I am aiming to collect – all historic and a number of which will be very difficult (if possible at all) to find. Fortunately one of the 3 men has been researched already and there is a national collection (held by Sarah Cook) for him – Sir Cedric Morris. As it stands I have managed to purchase 21 of those with only a few of the confirmed cultivars still to add to complete this piece of the collection; which Sarah has very kindly offered to help me with.

This leaves me with two other hybridizers irises to try and find as many of as I can to create the collection. These are Mr B R Long (Bertram Raymond – 1890-1962) and Mr G H Chadburn (George Haworthe – 1870-1950) both of who raised a number of irises while living in Suffolk. My own interest in irises very much leans toward the historic types (for me this is anything before 1950) so to find that a number were raised in Suffolk that fit this is an extra incentive.

I will be putting together a blog on each of these two men as soon as I have organised the research that I have done so far. There are potentially about 40 irises raised between Long and Chadburn while in Suffolk which will be the focus of what I search for. However Mr Long also raised a number of irises while he lived in other parts of the UK, I hope to find and collect as many of these as possible as well.

As soon as I can a list of the irises they created will be put on my blog with basic information like colour, type and where it was raised (Suffolk or elsewhere). This is the very beginning of my quest to find these irises and I expect it to be quite long and involved – but a very rewarding journey. In the meantime if anybody has come across the names Long or Chadburn and indeed might have or know where any of their irises are please do get in contact. The sharing of this post would be appreciated so that word can get out about this search and hopefully reach a few people who might be able to help.

I have been kindly given the following irises to start this quest:

B R Long:

War and Peace – TB – 1943

Bulwark – TB – 1944

Killiney – TB – 1939

G H Chadburn:

Golden Hind – TB – 1934, British Dykes medal winner in 1934.

Mabel Chadburn – TB – 1939, British Dykes medal winner in 1941.

2 thoughts on “Irises – a quest begins

    1. It’s nice that at least the ones that do grow for you have a nice memory attached. There is an iris for any garden I would say, just a question of finding the right one. Luckily the tall bearded I prefer like my garden.

      Liked by 1 person

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