Discovered and introduced by Jim and Fran Clarke, the foliage of this perennial plant emerges each spring in a bright chartreuse yellow colour. The colour is stunning and continues until the end of June, when it turns a greener colour. Before then in May, it is topped by beautiful blue and yellow flowers with intricate markings. A full-sun lover, it can grow in a wide variety of soil types from ordinary garden conditions to moist, even wet soil and can be grown in a pond as a marginal plant.

Iris sibirica ‘Fran’s Gold’ was discovered by Jim Clarke at his home garden 20 years ago, when he spotted a single bright yellow shoot on a clump of established Iris sibirica. This yellow shoot was separated and cultivated over many years and eventually named after Jim’s wife Fran.

‘Fran’s Gold’ was professionally trialled in the in 2018/19 and a Plant Breeders Rights Patent was then obtained for the UK, Europe and Japan in March 2020. The plant was shortlisted as a finalist for the Royal Horticultural Society “Plant of the Year” competition at the Chelsea Flower Show 2022 and was featured by Carol Klein on the show’s BBC TV coverage. It will be showcased at Bloom 2022 in Dublin and presented to the President of Ireland at the show as a new unique Irish plant.

Iris siberica 'Fran's Gold'

The bright yellow young foliage of Iris siberica ‘Fran’s Gold’

As appeared in Newsletter 156, September 2022. Text and photo courtesy of Jim Clarke