Geographic groups

The BIS has close links with specialist and geographical groups. The specialist groups focus their activities on particular branches of the iris family and the geographical groups have members with a wide range of interests.

The groups typically have an annual programme of meetings and events which will include lectures, shows and garden visits.

UK groups

Kent Group

The Kent Group has been established for over 50 years, and has an active membership drawn from Kent and the surrounding counties.

Membership of the group is free until the end of the current year for new members of the BIS who live in the group’s catchment area.

Members receive a quarterly newsletter and during the winter months are invited to attend talks on irises and iris related subjects which are held in different parts of the area.

The group also holds two shows a year and a 'bring and buy' garden party at which plants can be obtained by auction. In addition to weekend trips to gardens in other parts of the country, the group has organised longer visits to France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and New Zealand.

To join, please contact:

Wendy Payne, Shirley House, Tumbler's Hill, Sutton Valence, Kent ME17 3AF


West & Midlands Group

Founded in 1974, this Group gives people in an area covering the Midlands and the West Country and who love and grow irises a chance to meet. Some are experts, some are beginners, but all enjoy sharing their knowledge and problems, and talking to others who have similar interests.

Meetings are held four or five times a year for talks, demonstrations and visits to gardens throughout the area to see irises of all kinds. The Group holds an annual show, and a newsletter is issued regularly to keep us in touch.

If you are looking for a particular iris, then our plant sale may be the place to find it.

The Group is a very friendly one, not a large organisation, but one where a personal welcome can be given every member.

To join, please contact:

Rex Harden, 56 Pirton Lane, Churchdown, Gloucester GL3 2SJ

email: Rex Harden

Specialist groups

The Species Group

Founded in 1965, by a number of iris growers who found that there was very little useful information about how and where the wild forms could be grown successfully.

At that time, many new species were being brought back to the UK from Mediterranean areas, and more recently specimens have come from China and Mongolia. At the same older introductions were being salvaged from neglected gardens, so it became necessary to try and separate the true species from the hybrids and cultivars.

For those who enjoy growing the iris and irid species, the group offers membership of a like minded gathering of enthusiasts and the chance of surprising discoveries from the plants and seed it offers for sale.

To join, please contact:

David Stephens, Court House Farm, Westbury sub Mendip, Somerset, BA5 1HAA


The Group for Beardless Irises

This Group was formed in 1976 to encourage growers of beardless iris cultivars, which are among the easiest and most satisfying of irises for many gardens.

Originally members concentrated on the Siberian, Spuria and Japanese irises (hence they were known as SS&J). Then the Pacificas were added and now many other irises are becoming equally popular.

Since the Group was founded there has been an increasing interest in growing and hybridising these plants. Scientific work has added to their garden value by making it possible to cross species previously believed to be incompatible.

As a result, the Group now has a very wide range of interests to offer and to reflect this progress the name was changed to the Group for Beardless Irises of the British Iris Society.

We can suggest old and new plants for growing in all kinds of gardens and different types of pools. Naturally, members offer to sell plants and there is the chance to buy seeds from home and abroad. An extensive library is available to UK members and the Librarian will help with other enquiries from any member.

While the Group, as such, has no regular meetings, members can be found at the various shows of the British Iris Society, or at The Spring Gardening Show, Malvern and are happy to talk about their special interests.

A newsletter is published with material from abroad as well as the British Isles providing opportunities for members to air problems that they have found growing irises and to contribute their solutions to other members' problems.

To join, please contact:

The Hon. Membership Secretary, Aulden Farm, Aulden, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0JT

The specialist groups focus their activities on particular branches of the iris family and the geographical groups have members with a wide range of interests