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Classic Irises

  • Subject: Classic Irises
  • From: "J. Griffin Crump" <jgcrump@cox.net>
  • Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 12:43:01 -0500

Yesterday, I attempted without success to post this message on both iris-talk and iris-photos.  I finally sent it to Anner, who successfully forwarded it to iris-talk.  Hoping that today will bring better luck, I'm trying iris-photos again.  Here goes:
My copy of Classic Irises and the Men and Women Who Created Them, by Clarence Mahan, was delivered yesterday evening.  I slid the book from its packaging and gasped at its external beauty.  One should not, they say, judge a book by its cover.  But it is also said that there is an exception to every rule.  Believe me, this is a book that you should judge by its cover.  It is, literally, a work of art from beginning to end  --  simply magnificent.  I guarantee that the beauty of the illustrations will tear at your heart  --  the paintings by Ethel Anson S. Peckham,  the outstanding color photographs by Mike Lowe, as well as other artistic renderings selected by Clarence from his own collection and from other sources.  I forgot supper as I scanned the pages and, serendipitously, read passages here and there.  You will recognize names of friends as Clarence credits those who helped him to produce this gorgeous piece of work.  The book is a series of stories, intertwining the development of great garden irises with the lives of their developers, all told in Clarence's uncomplicated but richly informative style.  I need not comment on the scholarship, the humor . . . all that one would expect from the author is there in plenitude.
This is not a book review.  If it were, I would be a long time in producing it, because I, at least, must savor its delights in small portions and at length.  In the preface, Clarence says of the persons of whom he writes, " . . . they were not just gardeners.  They were also artists. They created beauty by breeding irises."  This is a book worthy of its subjects and their work, by an author who is of the same breed.
It's a bit late to add this book to your Christmas wish list, so give it to yourself as a present.  It will be one of the best gifts you'll receive.  --  Griff
zone 7 in Virginia

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