In UT we never have, and we probably never will, match Surrey, Sussex, and Hants, or Fermyn for numbers. However, in life everything is relative. We are all overcome here in berksbucksoxon with the iris explosion. It started on July 4th. We had our annual two day field meeting in Bernwood Forest. Eighteen [people!] turned up on the Saturday, and ten on the Sunday. By our standards we were treated to a feast of purple. On Saturday, 17 individuals were seen, and on Sunday [poorer weather], 10. Of course, these are pathetic numbers compared with what Matthew, Doug, Neil & co are reporting from Alice Holt, Southwater and Fermyn. However, this is at least twice as many as we have ever seen in a weekend in this forest. When I got home, I realised 'something was up' in middle England when the e-mails started coming in from other woods in the UT region. Everybody was reporting 2 to 3 times more sightings than ever before. Our best observer, Dave Wilton [a retired air traffic controller: he misses nothing!] reported 16 from one wood where we had never seen more than 5 in a day. He also visited a very small wood [excellent for pruni], where, before 2008, we had never seen iris. Two were seen for the first time last year: one by Dave, and one by the owners of the wood who ran over a male in their 4WD as they drove down the main ride. On 4th July this year, Dave found 4 there. So, he had a total of 20 in a day, compared with 5 for these two woods in a 'normal' year. This pattern was repeated in several other woods.
From deepest Berkshire, a member has reported that he sits in his garden and every year sees 'several iris' on an Oak just on the other side of his fence which is in a school playing field. The other day, he waited until the end of school [3.30] and ventured into the field. He walked along the line of Oaks and saw '5 to 6' on every Oak. These Oaks are on a high point leading away from a very large forest nearby. I will visit this gentleman this week to see for myself. I will need to take some Valium with me to calm me down, in case it's true.