A quest for Suffolk raised irises

Having had the idea planted in my mind recently by Sarah Cook (of Sir Cedric Morris fame) I am undertaking the challenge of collecting irises that were hybridized in my home county of Suffolk. As well as the well-known Sir Cedric Morris there are others that deserve to be collected and preserved alongside these. The two men are Mr G H Chadburn (1870-1950 Saxmundham) and Mr B R Long (1890-1962 Boxford) who both raised a number of irises in the county, Mr Long after moving to Boxford in 1951 also raised many more in other parts of the country.

This is the very beginning of the quest to find not only the irises of these men but also to gather information about both of them to complement the plant collection. As it stands, the irises I have are mostly those of Sir Cedric, 21 cultivars in total and with the generosity of Sarah I can also now count a small number of those by both Chadburn and Long. My hope is that should anybody reading this have any information on either of these two men or have any contacts that might be able to help I would love to hear from you. Naturally if anybody has any of the irises that were raised by either men and are willing to share them it would be fantastic and I hope to be able to offer other historic irises in exchange very soon. The best way to make contact with me would be via email "Steve_Baker@hotmail.co.uk".

In particular the iris 'Joan Lay' (Chadburn 1939) is of great interest to find as it was regarded at the time as a rival to 'Mabel Chardburn' which won the Dykes medal in 1941. Compared to Chadburn who registered only 7 irises (2 winning Dykes medals), Long raised over 100 during his many years of hybridising around the country including 37 after 1951 when he moved to Suffolk. A number of the irises raised in Suffolk were part of his 'isle' series which are also among those I am most keen to try and locate should they still be in cultivation anywhere.

Once I have built up my knowledge of these hybridisers and hopefully a starting point for the plant collection, I will share this progress with you all. I hope this will be of interest and might inspire others to consider collections of their own to preserve some of the many wonderful irises cultivated in the UK and beyond.

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