Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Great Iris Book



This book is one of my best Iris reads which is clearly, simply but concisely written in the style of a non-fiction novel.
An example of the many great books written a while ago by specialists well known in their day which include much that remains engrossing, helpful as well as being of historical interest.

IRISES Harry Randall
Published B. T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1969
The Author
Harry Randall spent the whole of his business career in the electrical supply industry and became the first Chairman of the London Electricity Board. He was more widely known however through his lifelong interest in horticulture. In turn he specialized in roses, fruit, daffodils irises and hemerocallis. Irises were his greatest passion and before his death in May 1967 he had established a world wide reputation as one of the greatest cultivators of irises in modern times. To study the genus further, he paid many visits to the United States, bringing back a selection of the best American varieties which he used in his hybridizing.By sharing pollen and plants with British enthusiasts he earned their gratitude,since their own efforts had been curtailed by the War. He was President of the British Iris Society for several years and served on many committees of the Royal Horticultural Society, judging at their Shows and at their trial grounds at Wisley and the Chelsea Flower Show. Among the numerous awards made to him were the Distinguished Service Medal of the American Iris Society,and the Foster Memorial Plaque.

A Great Quote from the Introduction.
Many of the Books are devoid of humour and they were mainly for readers who years ago, could secure all the gardening help they required. Most of us now have to think of saving labour; we wish to have the maximum of interest and beauty for the minimum of effort; we have to consider the mundane question of expense; and wish to derive pleasure from our gardening.
Some years ago my wife and I entertained a party of iris experts who went around our garden with their notebooks and cameras and with an incredible intensity of expression. A younger member of my family gazed at them in wonder for a while, and then drawing me on one side for a moment, he asked ' Do these good people get any fun out of their hobby?'
I assured him that they did, but that fun moved in a mysterious way its wonders to perform. The majority of the gardeners who come to see my irises never worry about cytological theories; but I find that their appreciation of good flowers and their love of beauty is as great as that of any connoisseur.

Cover Iris 'Rippling Waters,' Fay 1952 38 inch Tall Bearded. Mid season. Medium blue-violet with pale lemon beard. Helen McGregor X Cahokia Dykes Medal 1966

Book is now out of print but many pre-loved Books of this title are available and are listed on AbeBooks



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