Iris open day

COLOURFUL iris fields will greet the eye when wholesale grower Howard Nurseries holds its first open day this weekend, with the proceeds going to cancer charity Macmillan.

COLOURFUL iris fields will greet the eye when wholesale grower Howard Nurseries holds its first open day this weekend, with the proceeds going to cancer charity Macmillan.

Based at Wortham, the nursery was featured during BBC 1's coverage of last week's Chelsea Flower Show and has provided plants for countless award-winning exhibits.

This year alone the firm sent nine lorry-loads of plants for nine Chelsea gardens.

Established 40 years ago, it also supplies other nurseries, garden centres, garden designers, landscapers and local authorities.

Spokesman Christine Howard said: "As a wholesale nursery we are almost unique in the United Kingdom in offering an extensive range of open ground and pot ground perennials.

"Open ground Irises are becoming one of the nurseries' main crops, offering 74 different varieties each

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year, with 90,000 saleable plants produced."

The open day takes place from 1pm-5pm on Saturday. The nurseries' main site of container grown perennials will host plant stalls from a range of award-winning local nurseries, such as Blacksmiths Cottage Nursery, Park Green Nursery and Cedric Morris heritage irises.

Alongside a mixture of stands, visitors can enjoy competitions and cream teas. There will then be the option of a short tractor ride to view the 15 acres of flowering iris fields.