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Book Review: A Guide to Bearded Irises

A Guide to Bearded Irises
Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts
by Kelly D. Norris


348 pages, hardcover
Timber Press, 2012
List price: $39.95

If you've ever met Kelly Norris, you know that his enthusiasm for life is infectious. He has the ability to turn an hour into a mere blip on the time continuum when he starts talking about plants, even if you're not a gardener. Let the subject turn specifically to irises and he kicks it up a notch.

Norris is without a doubt the poster child for irises, so it was only a matter of time before he wrote a book about them. A Guide to Bearded Irises appeals to the beginning gardener, who will drool over its pages of photos showing some of the best the iris world has to offer, but they'll also find helpful information on how to grow them. Design advice is here too, as Norris explains how well irises coordinate with other garden plants.

The iris story is complete, including a history as well as how you can contribute to the future of the iris in your own garden through proper care and selection. Norris touches on pretty much all aspects of iris culture, making A Guide to Bearded Irises an essential part of any gardening library. When all is said and done, 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.

Kelly D. Norris is a horticulturist, plant breeder, and plantsman from Bedford, Iowa. He is an award-winning author of several books and in-demand garden speaker. He currently manages Rainbow Iris Farm and edits Irises, the official magazine of The American Iris Society.

Read more garden book reviews.

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.