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April 26,


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Iris celebrated here and abroad

Iris photo
These flowers are identified as Iris fulva and Iris fulvala in William Rickatson Dykes's The Genus Iris.

A new exhibition at Rush Rhees Library offers a sample of books and prints from the Ellwanger and Barry Nursery Library and other collections, all celebrating the iris.

Friendship in Bloom: Four Centuries of Floral Images to Celebrate the Iris Friendship Garden in Highland Park coincides with the dedication of an iris garden in Highland Park in collaboration with one of Rochester's Sister Cities, Hamamatsu, Japan. In turn, Hamamatsu is featuring new hybrids of the native American wildflower, the Louisiana iris, that were created especially for Pacific Flora 2004, an international garden and horticulture exposition, and for the public garden in Rochester.

Throughout the spring and summer, the iris theme will be developed at multiple venues in Rochester. At the library exhibition, images of the iris from early texts such as De Materia Medica by Dioscorides, printed in 1550, and The Genus Iris by W. R. Dykes (1913) will be displayed. The Dykes book includes a full-color illustration of the Iris fulva, one of the five recognized species of the Louisiana iris. Melissa Mead, the curator of the exhibition, also has gathered botanical images of other flowers, some of which have never before been on display. Danielle Pappas '04 of Randolph, N.J., is assisting with organizing the exhibition.

Designed for gardeners, art lovers, botanists, and anyone anxious to see and read about spring and summer blooms, the display, which is free and open to the public, is located on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library and will be on view through September 15.

Friendship in Bloom is one of several iris-themed celebrations planned for the summer. A short walk from Rush Rhees Library is the future site of a new iris garden in Bausch & Lomb Riverside Park near the canoe launch and pedestrian bridge to the 19th Ward. A ceremony in June will announce the Ayame Garden, literally "iris garden," and its plantings of Japanese and Louisiana irises.

The Memorial Art Gallery is preparing an exhibition of botanical prints and paintings from local collector William Pinch from June 18 to August 29 to herald the Iris Friendship Garden in Highland Park, which will be dedicated in June. The collection includes historically significant cultivars registered with the American Iris Society. Approximately 1,000 iris rhizomes were donated from all over the world to this unique garden. For information on hours and admission, visit

For more information on the exhibit in Rush Rhees Library, call x5-4477.

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