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A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Norris is a charming guide. It’s difficult not to be seduced by his enthusiasm and tantalizing descriptions of the colors, textures, ruffles, and patterns of the iris species.” —Publishers Weekly

“A green thumbs up, especially as this is a fresh, timely, and appealing presentation of the topic.” —Library Journal

“A handsome book.” —Country Gardens

“Comprehensive and up-to-date, all the while brimming with an enthusiasm that is exhilarating, inspiring.” —The American Gardener

 “[Kelly] is an enthusiastic young American who writes in a readable style with his passion for irises coming across on each page.” —RHS’ The Garden

 “[Norris] is an enthusiastic young American who writes in a readable style with his passion for irises coming across on each page.” —The Garden

“Norris will offer fresh inspiration, as well as growing tips and descriptions of recommended cultivars.” —NJ.com

 “It’s a rainbow of a book, with deliciously coloured section pages and graphics that mark it out as having a modern approach to this potentially old-fashioned flower.” —The Independent



"It is not an exaggeration to write that horticulturist and author Norris (Iowa Gardener’s Travel Guide) is crazy about bearded irises. In this funny and informative guide, he shares his passion for the flower and his expertise gained from years as one of the country’s most respected iris breeders. Norris is a charming guide. It’s difficult not to be seduced by his enthusiasm and tantalizing descriptions of the colors, textures, ruffles, and patterns of the iris species. For those who have never grown the flower, he provides an overview of the different types of irises and straightforward advice on cultivation and propagation. Those who already grow this perennial garden favorite will find it impossible to explore this gallery without compiling a wish list for their own gardens. A resource section with specialty nurseries, public iris gardens, and organizations, along with an index, make this a complete guide."
(The Independent)

"It's a rainbow of a book, with deliciously coloured section pages and graphics that mark it out as having a modern approach to this potentially old-fashioned flower."
(NJ.com)

"Norris will offer fresh inspiration, as well as growing tips and descriptions of recommended cultivars."
(Library Journal)

"A green thumbs up, especially as this is a fresh, timely, and appealing presentation of the topic."

(The American Gardener)

"Comprehensive and up-to-date, all the while brimming with an enthusiasm that is exhilarating, inspiring."

(Horticulture)

“This is a book that’s a joy to just curl up with, whether you want to savor the beauty of the images or learn more about this versatile garden perennial.”

(The Garden, the RHS Magazine)

"[Norris] is an enthusiastic young American who writes in a readable style with his passion for irises coming across on each page."

(Country Gardens)

“A handsome book.”

From the Back Cover

In A Guide to Bearded Irises you'll learn
  • where bearded irises come from
  • how to use them in your garden
  • how the newest varieties are created
  • what the best varieties are in each of the six main classifications
  • how to deal with pests and diseases

Above all, you'll learn just how versatile, exciting, and rewarding bearded irises can be. If you'r not an iris lover already, A Guide to Bearded Irises is sure to win you over! 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604692081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604692082
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tom L. Waters on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been an iris enthusiast for over 35 years, and there is a scarcity of good books for the gardener who wants to learn what types of cultivars are available and how to grow them. Books on the genus Iris tend to be technical rather than horticultural in their emphasis, like Brian Mathew's botanical survey of the genus. The American Iris Society book _The World of Irises_ has many chapters devoted to the history of the improvement of irises by breeding, which is more than most gardeners want or need. In any case, that book is quite dated now.

_A Guide to Bearded Irises_ is the work of Kelly D. Norris, a dedicated iris enthusiast and rising star in the world of horticulture. As the title says, the scope of the book is limited to the bearded irises, from the tiny miniature dwarfs to the tall bearded. So arilbreds and beardless types such as Siberians and Louisians are not included. Bearded irises are the most widely grown type, and provide more than enough material for a book of this size.

The information on how to grow bearded irises is thorough and accurate. For completeness, there is a chapter on known pests and diseases of irises, although Norris asserts (quite fairly, in my experience) that properly grown irises seldom experience many of these problems. There is a chapter on hybridizing irises for those readers who are curious about this activity. (Most of our current cultivars were produced through the efforts of hobbyist hybridizers.) There's also a welcome chapter on common "myths" about irises (such as they idea that they spontaneously "revert" to a different color after a few years).

But the meat of this book is the description of recommended cultivars in each of the six bearded iris classes, each accompanied by large, beautiful photographs.
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Format: Hardcover
I just received my copy of this book as a gift from a dear friend. Pouring over the pages I have to agree, "Whether you're an enthusiastic gardener who wants to learn more about bearded irises, or a devoted fan eager to keep up with the latest developments in the iris world. A Guide to Bearded Irises will deliver the information you're seeking while feeding your passion for these vibrant, versatile plants."

What a delightful and informative book! Easy to understand language with great photos to illustrate the information presented on the page. So too enough photos of the various types of bearded iris to give ideas for the garden or on a cold winter day fill the need for some color.

I love the colorful way the chapters begin, the footnotes showing the name of the irises should one want to purchase the very one seen on the page. Refreshing stories along with some of the photos make for fun reading as well. I can not imagine anyone not being able to find the right sized iris for the garden. Sized, I say, indeed! Bearded irises come in sizes from less than 8 inches to taller than 27 ½ inches (sometimes 42 inches).

A great coffee table addition!

Janet Smith, CA
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A very good book, but more for Intermediate and up iris lovers. Kelly's love is for breeding iris and it shows. However, most folks just want to plant iris in their gardens for their beauty and want most information on that.

He does give good culture points, but I personally could do without the garden design suggestions.

Overall, a bit repetitive, but I still like the book very much. A good reference to have if you are a true iris lover and not just a casual gardener.
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What an exciting book; writen by a knowledgeable 25 year old. So interesting, colourful and informative on his subject. Not only is he a great writer but also an accomplish photographer. The photos alone represent the best irises available today and he even goes further to show promising seedlings from the top US breeders,and a Aussie.
All classes of the bearded irises are beautifully described.
A well produced book for us global readers and I can recommend this book to anyone with an interest in irises. Well done Kelly D Norris.
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If you love irises and want to know which ones to grow, how to grow them, and how to select the cultivars that will meet your needs, then this is the book for you. Author Kelly Norris is editor of the American Iris Society quarterly bulletin magazine called, "Irises".... and he's very bold in his presentation of his recommendations for iris lovers or iris lovers-to-be.
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Would that I had acres and acres to devote to all of the beautiful iris Norris includes in this volume! Unfortunately, choices must be made -- and Norris provides a ready helping hand for the task with tables on colors, bloom times, sizes, etc. If you think you might like to add some iris to your garden, this volume is a lovely place to start.
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By Rob on August 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book as the title suggests for beginners to the
more experienced iris grower. The color plates are beautiful.
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By jdlcav on December 22, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A 350-page book on irises?" my wife said when I opened my box. "What do you need that for?" A fair point to be sure, but this book is great - educational and interesting at the same time, an excellent balance between the selections and the history of iris breeding. My wife may not read it, but I will definitely be using this as a go-to resource.
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