Have we talked about Irises?

Many different people have contributed to the layout and feel of the gardens at Worton.  Part of my own contribution is to add plants that I have loved at places I have lived in previously.  One such is the Iris which grew in abundance in the poor gravelly soil at the foot of house and boundary walls throughout the Perigord – when my daughters and I would visit our barn during the summer half term week, these Irises would always, it felt, be in their brief but perfect blooms – not mannered and controlled like so much in rural French gardening but profuse and abandoned in their almost louche flowers.

There is huge variety amongst the Iris family but some of the most beautiful are the bearded Benton Irises first bred by the Bloomsbury set artist Cedric Morris and his partner Arthur Lett-Haines in their gardens at Benton End in the 1940s. Saved from oblivion by a gardener at Sissinghurst and now maintained by Howards Nursery in Norfolk, we are delighted that the border we planted with these Benton delights in 2022 is now in its first year of full and glorious blossom.  The season is inevitably brief but the Bentons are in full bloom now as the taller blue elegance of Iris Jane Phillips starts to fade.  I really recommend you come to visit the Iris border this weekend.

Of course, if you do visit, we hope that you will stay and eat!  Two old favourites returning on the menu are Gazpacho and Cornish Cock Crabs back to their best after the annual molt – very limited availability so early in the season but we have the best of the Cornish market arriving at the farm tomorrow morning.  Plenty of space for Lunch, Aperitivos or an early Dinner tomorrow and some tables still free for Sunday Lunch but you may need to book quickly as slots are filling up.

A huge thank you to those of you who have already voted in the Good Food Guide awards – we really appreciate your votes and hope that many more of you will be able to vote over the coming weeks!