Photo exhibition of irises "What they Iris!"
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Nina B. Alexeeva, PhD in Biological Sciences, curator of the collection of species and cultivars of Iridaceae family is the author of the exhibition. The idea of photo-exhibition emerged in 2006 when my friends from the Botanical Garden of Altai Stage University Alexander Shmakov and Sergei Smirnov sent 7 photos of Irises growing in Siberia as a gift.
2 years passed in preparation for the exhibition. It was necessary to find grounds for photo-exhibition for the Exhibition Council of the Botanical Institute Museum (RAS). The Iridarium of the Botanical Garden was set up in 1963. The scientific grounds were found by G.I.Rodionenko. Mr. Rodionenko has devoted more than 60 to work with plants of Iridaceae family, he has written and published more than 120 papers and 10 monographs. For 25 years great state of the Iridarium was provided and supported by selfless work of one of Mr. Rodionenko’s assistants— А.N. Zexel. In 2008 the Iridarium celebrated its 45th anniversary, Mr. Rodionenko celebrated his 95th anniversary on March, 28, A. Zexel would have been 95 on May, 1 as well! So it was decided to conduct exhibition at the Botanical Museum of the Botanical Institute (RAS) from February, 5 to April, 3 2008, it was devoted to the 45th anniversary of the Iridarium and 95th anniversary of its founder G.I.Rodionenko and his colleague. In April 2007 the Museum council approved the exhibition.
Installation and other work took 3 days. Svetlana Mishanskaya and Boris Zexel rendered assistance. Decoration of the exhibition hall was supervised by Elena Elik. Vladimir P. Kuleshov, famous world-class florist, embellished the exhibition by a composition made of live flowers and added a collage with Iris. The exhibition was opened on February, 5 2008 at 3 p.m. V.T. Yarmishko, director of the Botanical Institute, delivered his cordial greeting. R.D.Zubov, M.Ye.Tikhibiva, Ye.A.Bogdanova, O.V.Zaitsev, V.M.Reinvald, А.N. Zexel’s children and grandchildren as well as many other guests were invited. About 100 people attended the exhibition on the first day. The exhibition opening was covered by mass media.
The exhibition included photos of Irises and other representatives of Iridaceae family taken in situ and in the Iridarium. Irises (Iridaceae) are a subject of great interest for scientists, gardeners and amateurs as they represent the richest resource of decorative plants. Besides the genus of Iris genera of gladiolus, iridodiyum, crocus, xiphium, tigridia, phreesia etc. are well known and important. More than 100 species and sub-species of Irises from wild flora are bred in the Iridarium. The collection consists of 35 species of 40 species growing in the territory of Russia including 26 rare species enlisted in the Red Books or lists of plants under protection. Moreover, numerous ex situ sorts of various groups of garden irises are bred in the Iridarium. Blossoming occurs in different periods from early spring till late autumn. The photo-exhibition gives the unique opportunity to see the whole diversity of blossoming irises at the same time.
Representatives of 6 sub-genera of Iris genus (of 9 existing) were placed in the showcase with bolls and seeds especially for school children and students. The material was sorted out in such a way that visitors could see features which make them different. At the exhibition one could learn the history of the Iridarium and its layout. Publications of G.I.Rodionenko and other domestic and foreign scholars were placed in the showcase. Some sketches of students of Art college № 190 were exhibited. One of the stands showed pictures with Irises made by А.N. Zexel of dried leaves and other plant material.
Some photos were taken by my colleagues and friends whom I want to express gratitude for their materials: V. Dorofeev, G. Konechnaya, A. Mikheev, I.Pautova, K.Tkachenko, Ye.Elik, S.Ionenkov, S.Maximov, S.Grishin, S.Smirnov, R.Dudkin, L.Pshennikova.