Irises blooming at Long Sutton’s rainbow nursery

Julian Browse in the eye-catching display garden at Seagate Irises. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020612-156TW
Julian Browse in the eye-catching display garden at Seagate Irises. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG020612-156TW
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SEAGATE Irises at Long Sutton is playing a part in preserving “historic” irises as well as introducing new varieties.

Julian and Wendy Browse are building up a collection of irises, all introduced more than 30 years ago, at their nursery off the Long Sutton bypass where they produce 5,000 to 6,000 plants each year.

They grow 1,200 different varieties, a small number compared to the 30,000 officially registered, many produced commercially, although amateur gardeners also register a few new varieties each year.

Seagate Irises has registered two new varieties – Fenland Skies and Fenland Fires – since the nursery was set up in 2000 by former nurse Wendy, who is the gardener, and former airport security engineer Julian, who looks after the catalogue, website and ordering.

They were looking for a nursery when they returned from France 15 years ago and took the decision to focus on irises after discovering the main nursery for the plant had closed in the 1980s and not been replaced.

The couple, now in their 70s, have a display garden that is currently a rainbow of colour where customers can see what they would like in their own garden before selecting the plants from the tunnels.

The irises are sold in pots in flower during the season during April, May, June and into July, when the nursery is open to the public from 10am to 5pm “most of the time” and by request after that time on 01406 365138. Irises can also be bought mail order or from the website, www.irises.co.uk