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Iris Books: Looking for iris gardening books to help get through the off-season? ...or perhaps a gift for someone? Check the books section of selected informative and educational iris books for your wintertime enjoyment. November 2008.
GARDENER'S IRIS BOOK
item was originally published in the Summer 1998 issue of the CIS
The title of the new book is THE GARDENER'S IRIS BOOK, by William (Bill) Shear, and it is expected to be available in late August of 1998. A hardcover book with all kinds of valuable iris information, 176 pages and 163 or so color photographs are found within. The author emphasizes that the book is written expressly for USA and Canadian readers and the expected audience is the beginning iris grower.
The CIS Newsletter had previously published an excerpt from the book with the special permission of the author and publisher of the book, Taunton Press. This was an item on the basics of hybridizing and appeared in the Winter 1998 issue of the CIS Newsletter.
About the author
I had an answer for my friend because this was a question I had already asked myself. This book is needed because there is no existing introductory book about irises that is specifically keyed to North American gardens. Fine, detailed volumes have been written by and for British, German, Australian, and New Zealand gardeners, but the only books that treat the problems North Americans encounter in growing irises are long out of date, too expensive, or contain a great deal of historical detail that may confuse the beginner. That is not to say that these books are not valuable; they are, especially for the gardener who wants to move on beyond the information presented here. But the purpose of this book is to introduce irises to the North American gardener, experienced or otherwise, who has just become interested in them.
Such an introduction is needed because the genus Iris is one of the most diverse and complex of all plant groups used in gardens. No single method suffices to grow all kinds of irises, and not all kinds of irises will grow in every garden. As you'll learn in reading this book, there are irises that thrive in deserts and bogs as well as in meadows and woodlands. It's a complicated subject, and the practical gardener needs the essentials set down in a brief, no-nonsense form.
At the risk of giving offense to my many good friends who are iris enthusiasts, it's pointless to maintain that irises are easy to grow. No plant can be set in the ground and forgotten; our gardens are artificial ecosystems and as such need constant attention and maintenance. Iris gardens are no exception--to say otherwise only creates expectations that can never be fulfilled. That said, I want to emphasize that there are few plants that are as rewarding as irises. Their almost endless diversity and adaptability fascinate, and provide exciting challenges for every gardener from the novice to the most expert. It's my hope that this book will provide a starting point.
William Shear, Roger Foley (Photographer) /
Softcover / 176 pages ***also can be found as original hardcover
A Gardener's Encyclopedia
This wide-ranging collection illustrates the diversity of this beautiful genus and includes irises with striking foliage, reblooming capability, and scents. It features both historic and modern irises of all sizes from miniature and dwarf varieties to the stately tall beardeds. Also included is cultivation advice, information about the plants' breeding history, and ideas for combination plantings in rock gardens, containers, and perennials beds. An indispensable reference for iris fanciers everywhere as well as any gardener who appreciates their beauty and versatility.
From the Publisher
Format: Hardcover /
Pages: 340 pp. /
Book dimensions: 8.5 x 11 in (280 x 215 mm)
FLOWER OF THE RAINBOW
There are enough excellent color photographs in Iris: Flower of the Rainbow to convince anyone of the beauty and possibilities of iris; tall bearded iris like hot spice in muted tones of cocoa, gold, and cream, or the delicately splotched lavender-and-white Japanese iris, freckled geisha, are nearly irresistible. What this book uniquely offers are drawings, photos, and advice on how to use iris in the garden along with other plants, and how to time their bloom, mix in with perennials and shrubs, and use in ponds and as edging and in rockeries. The author makes the case for using iris in nearly every garden situation.
It's unclear whether the final chapter, "The Future--2000 and Beyond," is prescient or just entertaining, but you won't want to miss the digitally altered color photos of irises in startling kelly green, or pure black combined with baby-pink.
Grosvenor is an expert on irises, having studied the genus over a 30-year period.
In this encyclopedic work, he divides the authoritative text into four chapters, each describing a different group. In great detail, Grosvenor documents height, countries of origin, colors, blooms and blooming times, species and hybrids, and recommended cultivars. He gives information on requirements of sun, soil, drainage, and fertilizing and on pest and disease control, along with planting instructions. There are suggestions on landscaping with irises and on companion planting. In another chapter, he describes the mechanics of hybridizing.
Throughout, there are many pages of remarkable color photographs and a few helpful line drawings.
Graeme Grosvenor, Jim Frazier (Photographer) / Hardcover /
280 pages / Published 1999. Out of print now but a few copies
can be found here and there...
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