A few from Sissinghurst, late spring

I’ll take a short break from orchid hunting to share these photos of Sissinghurst, taken May 26. The garden has definitely tipped into its summer chaos, with so many plants blooming together it is hard to take it all in. I’ve realized little and often is the best way for me to experience Sissinghurst in the high season.

On this visit the stars of the show were the German bearded iris, especially those blooming in a long row in the cutting garden. Sissinghurst has quite a collection of historic cultivars, including many of the Benton irises bred by the painter Sir Cedric Morris. Many of them are subtle, with tea-stained coloring that I find intriguing. Dan Pearson has a few good images here, and I was absolutely inspired by his latest image of his Bentons. If anyone could make a bang-up-to-date planting combining a concrete wall and vintage irises, it would have to be Dan. The Sissinghurst irises, below, are identified on hover if the cultivar is known.

Iris ‘Benton Susan’

Iris ‘Beottie’ with Erysimum 'Chelsea Jacket'

Iris ‘Lula Marguerite’

Iris ‘Benton Caramel’

The last of the late-flowering tulips are going over. This is a pretty combination of ‘James Last,’ which I trialled and liked at home this year, and the shorter ‘Blue Parrot.’

The newly replanted purple border is starting to knit together, with Lupin ‘Masterpiece’ stealing the show.

A new planting in the top courtyard is filling in nicely. Lots of good texture here with different leaf forms.