At the last general meeting for the year a large group of members heard Richard Lay give a fascinating talk about his love of irises and the evolution of these beautiful flowers over the past sixty years. Richard spent his childhood in London where his interest in irises first began. He was only aware of the traditional blue irises and was delighted when he first saw them in white and yellow hues. As a young man a visit to Essex led to the discovery of a farm where the owner cultivated and proprogated irises, dahlias and poppies. The skills of cross pollinating and breeding were quickly learned and Richard was “hooked”.
Richard talking about irises with a lovely display nearby
Richard explained that from the mid-20th century, iris breeders endeavoured to cross the traditional irises of Northern Europe with those found in the Middle East. It took time before success was eventually achieved and new forms and colours became widely available. Richard continued his work with irises after moving to Australia and continues to strive for flowers and shapes that he likes, particularly in shades of pink.
Glenda and Peter Liddicoat from The Iris Place, 155 Booth Road, Woodvale, north of Bendigo brought along a lovely array of irises and members were to quick to make their purchases!