Howard Nurseries helps bring iris display to Chelsea

Plant Heritage Collection holder, Sarah Cook, is bringing her National Plant Collection of irises to the grand pavilion at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, in partnership with Howard Wholesale Nurseries.

Sarah Cook
Sarah Cook

The stand will be showcasing tall bearded irises bred by Sir Cedric Morris. Howard Nurseries who have won gold and silver gilt medals at Chelsea, and have been growing Morris’ irises for seven years, now have enough stock to furnish the project.

Artist Sir Cedric Morris ran the East Anglian Art School at Benton End, Hadleigh, Suffolk from 1940. He was an iris breeder and plantsman. His irises were shown at Chelsea in the late 1940s until mid 1950s, but have not been seen there since.

He is credited with breeding the first ‘truly pink’ irises, including one called ‘Strathmore’, shown at Chelsea in 1948.

Cook, past head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle for the National Trust, was born and bred in Hadleigh and retired in 2004. She has spent the last 10 years researching Sir Cedric Morris and collecting his irises. In all he bred and named about 90 irises, but many have been lost to cultivation. In 2004 she set out to collect any of his irises which had survived, and the collection now contains more than 25 of his named irises, obtained from private sources and botanic gardens in Britain, Europe and the USA.

Cook said: "It is a chance in a lifetime to be working with Howard Nurseries who have all the skills and experience to grow plants for showing. Without their input it would not be possible to showcase the work of such a renowned artist and Iris breeder."

Plant Heritage chief executive Sarah Quarterman said: "We are delighted that Sarah has found a trade partner to work with in order to be able to showcase her Collection at Chelsea, tell the story of Sir Cedric Morris and then be able offer these rare plants for sale to the public. It is a great example of Plant Heritage conservation in action."

The exhibit will have a large planting of Morris irises and vases of iris in a studio area. The garden and studio areas will be enhanced by backdrops painted by Cherryl Fountain.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles