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Irises: A Gardener's Encyclopedia

By Claire Austin

Foreword by James W. Waddick

I defy you to read this book without making an extensive wish list.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

The most comprehensive and up-to-date encyclopedia of irises available. Irises are beloved by enthusiasts who garden in a wide variety of zones, including hot and dry, temperate, and even cold northern climates. Irises bloom in every imaginable color — revealed here in more than 1100 captivating photographs — from deepest purples, blues, and reds through strong pinks, yellows, and oranges to pastels in every shade. 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.

Awards for this book: Garden Writers' Guild Book Award

Media reviews

"Her many photographs will please devoted irisarians, especially members of iris societes."

—W. George Walters, Pacific Horticulture

"Page after page of color closeups will enchant both the casual browser and careful collector. There's a wealth of information here."

—Karen Preuss, Northwest Garden News

"As a reference book, Irises should be invaluable to horticulturalists and iris breeders, but even amateur gardeners will enjoy browsing through its pages."

—David Papayanopulos, Long Island Horticultural Society Journal

"Few books that call themselves encyclopedias live up to that term. This one does. It is a book for the layperson and is filled with 1,100 color pictures to make your mouth water. ... I defy you to read this book without making an extensive wish list to order from the catalogs in the back. This a real gem from Timber Press."

—Cheryl B. Wilson, Daily Hampshire Gazette

"An extraordinary work, [Irises] presents an excellent overview of the genus Iris. ... [Austin] provides brief, very readable descriptions of hundreds of irises, and accompanies almost all of the descriptions with excellent photographs of the plant's flower."

—Tom Karwin, Monterey County Herald

"The close-up pictures of iris flowers would be invaluable to anyone trying to identify a particular cultivar or species, or for anyone wanting to include irises in a garden design. The book includes sections on all the main species, sections and cultivars, together with chapters on cultivation, pests and diseases, hybridising and growing from seed."

—Sue Tasker, Professional Gardener

"The more than 1,100 color photographs, most taken by [Austin], in this book entice even readers with a casual interest in her subject."

—Julienne L. Wood, American Reference Books Annual

"The contents comprise 22 chapters written in good down-to-earth language and profusely illustrated with high-quality photographs covering the genus Iris."

Iris Society Yearbook

About the author

Claire Austin

Claire Austin grew irises and perennials for 20 years while working at her fathers company David Austin Roses. In 2001, she and her husband, Ric Kenwood, established Claire Austin Hardy Plants, in Shropshire, England. They continue to grow over 1500 perennials at the nursery and hold the National Collection of bearded irises. Claire has exhibited at many flower shows, including the Chelsea Flower Show, and has been awarded numerous medals and trophies for her exhibits of irises and other perennials. She is a trained illustrator and skillful photographer whose captivating images enhance her catalogues and books.

Read more about Claire Austin

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