Could Barry’s blue Irises from Suffolk prove to be a goldmine for health charities?
PUBLISHED: 15:59 30 May 2020
He might not be about to rival Capt Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts – but Leiston grower Barry Emerson is hoping that a new flower he has created will help boost NHS charities.
Mr Emerson is a specialist in growing Irises – and has developed several new colours and strains over the years.
His latest is a vivid blue which he aims to name in honour of NHS, care and other key workers who have kept the country going during the coronavirus pandemic.
And he aims to sell rhizomes of the plants to gardeners from July to give them the chance to have this vivid blue on their borders in future years – with the proceeds going to NHS charities.
Mr Emerson has been growing and breeding irises for 30 years, is a former president of The British Iris Society, and was a member of The RHS Iris Advisory Group until it was disbanded.
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He is also a BIS and RHS iris judge and was awarded the prestigious Dykes Medal in 2014 for Iceni Sunset that he bred.
Mr Emerson said: “In 2018, amongst my crop of first bloom seedlings, was a beautiful blue seedling that I decided was worthy of registration. I sent it for micro propagation with the view to launching it at the Suffolk Show in 2019.
“Unfortunately the company that was planning to launch the iris had to withdraw from the show. Plans to exhibit in 2020 therefore had to be shelved, resulting in there being more than 300 plants of this blue seedling to be named and introduced.
“During the course of the lockdown, I have decided that I should name and dedicate this iris to all the frontline workers in this pandemic and sell the plants for National Health Charities.”
The plants will be available for sale in mid July and will be posted out bare rooted. Mr Emerson is still setting up a way of distributing the rhizomes, which are likely to cost about £10 - with the vast majority of that going to the charities. Details of how to order the rhizomes will be published later.
People have been spending much more time in their gardens during the lockdown – and the fine weather has encouraged more of us to work on trying to make them look as good as possible, so Mr Emerson’s charity irises could prove to be a big hit with amateur gardeners across the country over the next few months.
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