Going Dutch at Wakehurst
A pair of Dutch horticultural students timed their work experience at a Sussex botanic garden to coincide with the flowering of a stunning array of international colour.
The early spring has continued into an early summer this year at Kew’s country garden in West Sussex. Wakehurst’s collection of more than 60 different Japanese water irises (Iris ensata) are flowering two weeks early this year, coinciding with tennis at Queens rather than at Wimbledon, as they usually do.
As Wakehurst’s Garden Manager, Dr Chris Clennett, expains:
'These dramatic flowers are a national treasure in Japan, where entire gardens are devoted to growing them, artificially raising and lowering water levels to bring the blooms to their peak'
Raised walkways and bridges allow their beauty to be appreciated from above, which visitors to Wakehurst can also do by looking down into our Iris Dell.
'The plants are labour-intensive, requiring careful cultivation and dividing every three years, but the effort is worth it when their flamboyant flowers appear.'
On the scene as the dramatic flowering began were garden design students Puck Milder and Yanou Hipp from Hymegen in The Netherlands.
'They are here to learn our techniques and standards as well as gaining a knowledge of an enormous range of plants while at Kew’s country garden,' says Dr Clennett.