Japanese water iris flowers early at Wakehurst

Garden design students Puck Milder and Yanou Hipp with the Iris ensarta

Garden design students Puck Milder and Yanou Hipp with the Iris ensarta

A collection of more than 60 different Japanese water iris, or Iris ensarta, are flowering two weeks early this year, coinciding with tennis at Queens rather than at Wimbledon as they usually do.

The early spring has continued into an early summer this year at Kew’s country garden.

Wakehurst’s garden manager, Dr Chris Clennett said: “These dramatic flowers are a national treasure in Japan, where entire gardens are devoted to growing them, artificially raising and lowering water levels to bring the blooms to their peak”

Raised walkways and bridges allow the flowers to be appreciated from above, which visitors to Wakehurst can also do by looking down into the Iris Dell.

The plants are labour intensive, requiring careful cultivation and dividing every three years, but the effort is worth it when their flamboyant flowers appear,” Dr Clennett added.

On the scene as the dramatic flowering began were garden design students Puck Milder and Yanou Hipp from Hymegen in The Netherlands.

The garden manager continued: “They are here to learn our techniques and standards as well as gaining a knowledge of an enormous range of plants while at Kew’s country garden.”




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