Once again our exhibit of tall bearded iris at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012 was a big draw for visitors. This was our 8th year in the Great Pavilion exhibiting our irises. Chelsea Flower Show is the most famous plants exhibition in the world: 159 000 visitors stream in over 5 days to admire the achievements of horticulturalists and garden designers and we were proud to have this chance to join them again.
Visitor numbers to our stand were no doubt helped by the very interesting film the BBC made about the Cayeux nursery. This was shown on BBC television on the Monday before the show opened and you could see Richard Cayeux doing and explaining his painstaking hybridisation work in our iris fields in central France. We were delighted that the BBC took the trouble to come and film this and to show such an interesting aspect of our work with irises, and people we spoke to at Chelsea clearly shared this view.
Like other floral exhibitors and the show garden designers, we were hit by the very bad weather in the UK in April and May: the low temperatures discouraged growth, and tall bearded irises do not respond well to too much articficial heat to try and encourage flowering - they tend just to flop over. Sue Marshall of ‘Iris of Sissinghurst’ in Kent was again growing our irises for us for Chelsea, from rhizomes sent over from our French nursery last summer. It was a bit of a struggle this year because of the bad weather, but she nonetheless produced plenty of beautiful, upright, healthy specimens to put on show and we were awarded a Silver Medal, so many thanks to her for her hard work.
We displayed several of our new 2012 irises, but also some new varieties for 2013 which haven't even been named yet and which attracted geat interest. Richard Cayeux, a passionate and highly skilled hybridiser, takes between 7 and 20 years to create each new hybrid - and it gives him enormous pleasure to share this knoweldge and the results with the Chelsea visitors.
We would like to thank:
Sue Marshall of ‘Iris of Sissinghurst’ in Kent, who again worked so hard to grow our irises for our Chelsea exhibit 2012.
All our helpers: keen gardeners and British Iris Society members, who again helped on the stand and always do a great job.
2012 Cayeux varieties shown at Chelsea (below, left to right) Aigue Marine, Dietmar Brixy, Piste Noire, Poilly s'éveille, Quelle Classe