There are two new iris collections: one celebrating plants from noted breeder Bryan Dodsworth, and another bringing the first ever iris collection marking plants bred in a particular town (in this case Langport in Somerset). The first ever collections of Correa and Deschampsia have also been approved.
One of the iris collections is named "Iris Tall Bearded raised by Bryan Dodsworth, Norfolk." Dodsworth was the creator of the "quintessential modern British iris" and was one of the leading breeders of tall bearded irises in the UK. He was awarded 12 Dykes Medals (an annual award for outstanding irises), and – despite producing close to 100,000 seedlings – registered less than 50 cultivars in his 40-year search for perfect forms and colours.
Since his death in 2009, Bryan's son Simon has been working to conserve the Norfolk-based collection with British Iris Society president Barry Emmerson. Dodsworth said: "My father's legacy provides a gene bank of exceptional Irises and includes many top drawer seedlings that have not yet been registered and are largely unknown to the Iris world, let alone the general gardening public".
Meanwhile, Sue Applegate's collection, "Iris Intermediate Bearded (Langport cvs.), Somerset," is conserving specific cultivars of intermediate bearded irises that were bred in the town of Langport, Somerset, in the 1970s by John Lloyd, a previous owner of Kelways Nurseries. Lloyd bred around 60 cultivars of the Langport iris, many of which include the names of birds or mythological titles such as "Langport Wren," and "Langport Cherub." As many of the Langport cultivars are no longer commercially propagated, Applegate, a previous Kelways employee, is cultivating and conserving them herself with the help of donations of plants from local gardening club members.
Added to this is "Deschampsia, Somerset", a new National Plant Collection of the ornamental grass. It is based in the walled gardens of Cannington, within the grounds of a medieval priory in Somerset and is owned by Bridgwater College. Included in the collection is D. cespitosa, which was discovered in a thatched cottage roof in Gloucestershire and which dates back to 1460 or earlier.
Samples of the thatched roof were sent to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and to this day can still be viewed in their herbarium. Finally, Dr Judy Clark has been awarded National Plant Collection status for "Correa spp. & cvs., Sussex," – her collection of Correa in her Sussex garden. Correa are a genus of evergreen shrubs with striking bell-shaped flowers from autumn to spring.