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Anne Milner presents her family history intertwined with the history of Bliss's irises, which are now part of the Plant Heritage family of National Collections of plants worth preserving. The collection was featured in the second series of The Great British Garden Revival on BBC2 in January 2015. Bliss Irises combines family history and gardening in a unique and very personal journey.
Initially triggered by interest in her great, great grandfather who built the Bliss Tweed Mill in Chipping Norton, Anne Milner discovered Arthur J. Bliss, a cousin of a grandfather, and his work with early 20th century irises. Having travelled to New Zealand and South Africa, Arthur had many adventures before becoming famous in the horticultural world for breeding and introducing 'Dominion', an iris that took the world by storm when it was first introduced in 1917.
It has since gone on to be found in the pedigree of hundreds of modern irises. With stunning photographs, watercolours and line drawings throughout, the second part of Bliss Irises focuses on the flowers themselves and details the range of irises registered by Anne Milner's ancestor Arthur Bliss. Bliss Irises will appeal to readers with an interest in irises, historic plants and family history, as well as those with a more general interest in gardening and horticulture.
Anne Milner learned her love of plants while helping her father in his garden as a child. She started researching her family history in the early 1980s and discovered her Uncle Arthur and his irises. She has no formal gardening training but has been enjoying gardening for over 40 years.