Lucy Skellorn,
Elder House,
Charles Tye,
IP14 2HU


Tel: 07730 507900

Rural, private cottage garden with irises bred by Sir Michael Foster growing in raised beds. Limited parking.

Best time to view: mid May – early Jun

Open: By appointment
Entry: Donation to Plant Heritage.

Directions: 5 miles south of Stowmarket, close to Wattisham airfield. Sat nav postcode brings you to the door.

Sir Michael Foster was a pioneer in collecting and breeding irises and is often referred to as ‘the father of iris breeding’.

Foster was a professor in biology and physiology at Trinity College Cambridge. His friends included Thomas Huxley and Charles Darwin.

Gardening was his hobby to which he is now best known. Foster kept methodical and meticulous records and sketches of his Iris breeding. Following his death in 1907 these were entrusted to his friend and executor Miss Willmott who leant them to W. R Dykes before placing them in the hands of the Linnean Society. Dykes was a friend and protégé of Foster who went on to produce the memorable and monumental work The Genus Iris.

Sir Michael Foster is justly regarded as the pioneer and founder of the modern cult and cultivation of the Iris. Not only did he introduce many species and produce many original seedlings but he also actively encouraged others to do so too. One of the most prestigious honours in the iris world, the Foster Memorial Plaque, is awarded yearly by the British Iris Society for exemplary service in the work of Iris culture.

The National Collection holder is his Great, great granddaughter.