Sunday, 8 July 2012

Seagate Irises

We paid a visit to Seagate Iris Nursery at Long Sutton last Wednesday.  We pass it every time we travel to Norfolk and I've often thought of calling in but never have so we made a special trip. 

Unfortunately we missed the best of the flowering period in the display gardens but the few still in bloom were beautiful. I was paticularly taken with Midsummer Night's Dream ... being an ex- English teacher I suppose I was bound to be!  It is a tall, purple Bearded Iris.I had admired Top-Gun (pink with lilac falls) when we went to Doddington Hall last month so I purchased one of each of those then wandered around the greenhouses and picked up another three:  Helena Terry (a rich reddy purple); Rosalie Figge (dark blue) and Top Flight (orange).
The lady who was working in the display garden was very helpful and well informed.  She gave us detailed instructions about planting and after care and showed us how to separate the tubers from the main plant.  Apparently they like well drained soil so I will need to add a bit of grit to my clay soil.  The tubers should never be covered as this will make them rot and they like the tubers to be in full sun if possible.  They shouldn't be planted so other perennials throw shadows onto the tubers and weeds need to be removed.  If my plants take they should be bushy enough to divide in three years' time.

I already own four different kinds of Iris: Battle Star (a peach flower with violet falls); Frost and Flames ( mainly white); Pretty Print (pink) and Golden Muffin.  The latter should be yellow with bronze falls.  I planted it last year and it is the only one of the four to bloom this year.  As you can see from the photo above it is not the colours I ordered - I think this one is actually Welch's Reward if the Seagate catalogue is correct.  I didn't purchase these four from Seagate!

Seagate Irises opened in 2000 when they had 100 different Irises in their catalogue.  They have increased their stock since then and have over 1000 now.  The gardens must have looked amazing in full bloom with over 600 different types flowering.  There will be another chance in August/September when over fifty of them re-flower. Next time we go to Norfolk I will definitely be calling in.

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