Geographic groups

Worldwide specialists and 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.

Members receive newsletters and during summer months garden visits are arranged. An early summer show is held in Otford which is well attended by members and the public with plants for sale and displays of iris.

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.

To join, please contact:

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

email: Wendy Payne




West & Midlands Group

Founded in 1974, this Group gives people living in the Midlands and the Welsh Borders who grow irises a chance to meet. Some are experts, some are beginners, but all enjoy sharing their knowledge and talking to others who have similar interests.

Meetings are held six or seven 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 with irises for sale, and a newsletter is issued regularly to keep us in touch. We also to continue to exhibit successfully at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

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


To join, please contact:

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

email: Rex Harden

Specialist groups

Group for Beardless Irises

The Group is the youngest of the specialist subgroups of the BIS. It was founded in 1976 to cater for the apogon (beardless) irises, though its name then, Siberian, Spuria and Japanese Iris Group, does show its initial bias.

Principally the Group is widespread and aims to help spread information about growing and raising the species and cultivars, including now the other iridaceae. Often newcomers to irises will have similar questions to those who originally started the Group. To help these and others, all the Group’s Newsletters and Reviews are published freely on the website. Simply go to the publications page and download what takes your fancy. In 2017 29,000 publications were downloaded and like our membership, this was not just in the UK, but worldwide.

The Group publishes a Newsletter and Review each year. If you would like to receive a paper copy of the publications, you can pay an annual subscription via the website.

We are fortunate in having several enthusiastic National Collection holders among our members and a wealth of present and historic data to share. If you would like to get involved or want to share your experiences, please contact Alun Whitehead (membership) or Brita Carson (Editor) who will be pleased to hear from you.


To join, please contact:

Alun Whitehead, Aulden Farm, Aulden, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0JT


Historic Iris Group

A recently formed British Iris Society Group for the increasing number of members who have an interest in the historic forms of irises, both bearded and beardless. We have a number of  members who hold personal or national collections of historic irises and who are always willing to share their knowledge on growing the older varieties. Informative newsletters are e-mailed out periodically to members and check out our facebook page, BIS Historic Iris Group, where historic iris enthusiasts from all around the world share their experiences and knowledge.

For further information about our classification of historic irises click here

For further information about the index policy click here 

For an example of the index click here

Membership of the group is open and free for all BIS members, for further information or to register as a member of the group send your details to;


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:

Kate Loe, Membership Secretary or contact 01566 782528

Further details.....