Garden lovers returned to Newnham’s spectacular iris collection for our third annual Iris Day on Saturday 2nd June.
With billowing petals in every shade from deep russet to ripe apricots, sky blue to pure white, the bearded irises are a blaze of colour around the College observatory.
‘Blooming from the end of May into June, spectacular tall bearded irises come in an amazing range of colours which can tip a border from mundane to magical,” Head Gardener Lottie Collis says.
Newnham College has worked with specialist iris breeders, the English Iris Company, over the past years to develop our own collection of iris varieties.
This was a particularly special year: in memory of alumna, Fellow and former Vice-Principal Dr Catherine Seville, the College launched an iris in her honour. Iris ‘Catherine Seville’ is a particularly beautiful subtle pink iris with a grey/white centre, deeper veining and red beard. Dr Seville was particularly involved in developing the partnership that resulted in the Newnham Collection and we are proud to commemorate her in this way.
If you’re thinking of adding irises to your own garden, Lottie has some practical tips: “In a mixed border, irises must have enough space to flower well. The rhizomes should be planted on the surface of the soil in a sunny spot, and divided every three to four years, cutting out the dead so that they do not become congested.’
Those wishing to purchase any of the ‘Newnham Collection’ irises, including the new iris ‘Catherine Seville’ can do so from the English Iris Company.