Visitors flock to Newnham to admire new iris collection

Newnham’s spectacular Iris Collection was admired by scores of visitors at a special open day.

The irises were planted around the College observatory on the sports field, which was also open for people to explore at the event on Saturday, June 4.

Newnham’s Iris Collection was developed as a collaborative project between the College’s Garden Committee and British Iris breeders Barry Emmerson, Simon Dodsworth, and Gary Middleton.

Four new tall bearded irises are the founder members of the Newnham College Iris Collection: Henry Sidgwick and Peile Hall, Old Hall and Anne Jemima Clough.

This year marked the first open day for visitors to view the irises in full bloom and Fellows, students, staff, alumnae and members of the public enjoyed a glass of Pimm’s whilst they explored the iris collection.

The iris has a special place at Newnham; a gilded iris sits above the original entrance to the Yates Thompson Library and anyone who has enjoyed the gardens in May or June will have noticed the important contribution that irises make to the borders.

Professor Jenny Morton, chair of the Garden Committee, said: “It was an opportunity for people to come and see Newnham’s wonderful iris display and meet the breeders of the Newnham College Iris Collection. We had a great turn-out and everyone enjoyed the event.”

There was also a plant sale and an exhibition on the history of the observatory was displayed for visitors to enjoy.