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A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts

By Kelly D. Norris

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 diversity of bearded irises rivals that of any other perennial grown in temperate climates. For some gardeners, they bring back warm memories of a grandparent's garden; for others, they're a cutting-edge plant with a seemingly endless capacity for producing new forms and patterns.

In this comprehensive and definitive guide, iris expert Kelly Norris provides an accessible yet authoritative overview of these deservedly popular plants. Introductory chapters show how to grow successfully, how to use them in the garden, how to choose the best plants, and how to "create" new irises. A Guide to Bearded Irises also provides portraits of the most outstanding plants in each of the six recognized categories, from the dainty miniature dwarf bearded irises to the stately tall bearded irises. A resource section lists specialty nurseries devoted to bearded irises.

Media reviews

"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."


"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

"[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 offer[s] fresh inspiration, as well as growing tips and descriptions of recommended cultivars."


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

Library Journal

"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."

Independent (London)

"A handsome book."

Country Gardens

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

American Gardener

About the author

Kelly D. Norris

Kelly Norris is a horticulturist, plant breeder, and plantsman who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his family own Rainbow Iris Farm, and he is currently the horticultural manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. As a speaker he has garnered national acclaim for his presentations of information and personal stories that share his love and knowledge of horticulture.

Read more about Kelly D. Norris

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