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Charity plants from Leiston should bring a blue streak to gardens

PUBLISHED: 18:59 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 17 July 2020

One of Barry Emerson's irises that will be sold for NHS charities. Picture; BARRY EMERSON

One of Barry Emerson's irises that will be sold for NHS charities. Picture; BARRY EMERSON

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A Suffolk grower who has developed a new strain of iris that he is selling to raise funds for the NHS is hoping to make hundreds of pounds for health charities after keen gardeners started flocking to buy his new plants.

Iris grower Barry Emmerson from Leiston.Picture:BARRY EMMERSONIris grower Barry Emmerson from Leiston.Picture:BARRY EMMERSON

Barry Emmerson from Leiston developed the new deep blue iris and has called it Above and Beyond in recognition of all the NHS workers who had been fighting the pandemic. He said the plants he had developed were now ready to be distributed.

MORE: Leiston grower revives interest in irises

He said: “I am now ready to lifting the NHS Charities Iris. I have decided to name the iris Above and Beyond. I have heard this phrase used not only by many Covid-19, but also general patients to describe the care they received while hospitalised or as a day patient.

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“During this pandemic there has been many stories of acts of selfless dedication by hospital and care home staff even isolating away from their families to continue their work, Above and Beyond is a true reflection of their professionalism and dedication.”

He is selling the iris plants for £10 plus postage and packing and so far has nearly 60 orders from people who know him that have come through by word of mouth.

Mr Emmerson is one of the leading iris growers in the country and a former chairman of the British Iris Society and a judge at horticultural shows across the country.

As he launched his charity iris, he 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.”

Anyone wishing to place an order for the iris rhizome should call 07580 515194 and Mr Emmerson will send it off in time to be planted for strong flowers next year.


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