Ornamental and Environmental
Links for Other Publication Lists
Nursery and Arborist References http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/ext_files/nursery_refs.pdf
Herbaceous Ornamental References http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/plantpathology/ext_files/herb_ref.pdf
UK Department of Horticulture Publications see HO pubs and related at http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/pubs.htm
Discussion and Reviews
by Winston Dunwell
I realize there are thousands of garden/nursery/landscape books out there. I visited the late J.C. Raulston's "Warehouse Home" (a place to talk plants, there was no landscape) and found those thousands of books in bookcases serving as walls to divide the large open space of the warehouse into rooms. I was stunned by the sheer numbers, how did he ever know what he had and didn't have. Maybe he didn't or maybe memory overload was the reason he was a woodies man and never tried to learn too many perennials and annuals. J.C., I was told, brought back a book from every trip he took out of Raleigh, NC. I cannot match his collection, but thought it might be of advantage to nursery/landscape industry people and gardeners to be aware of just a few of the many books available. This will be a work in progress as I drag out a book and add it to the list. You may find an author and title listed with no comments, I will get to it, just a reminder to myself. A book not listed does not imply either a positive or negative endorsement, only that I haven't read it, am not aware of it, or is one of those books I have chosen not to list. I cannot include all that I have, much less all the gardening books that are out there. For the publishers and publishing date I will put in what I know or what appears in the edition I used for the discussion or review, frequently, books I have are reprints of the original.
Plants and Their Care
"Must Haves" - Books that make one wonder how did they do it?
Sarah A. White and William E. Klingeman, editors; authors are members of Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management group (SNIPM). 2014. IPM for Shrubs in Southeastern US Nursery Production: Vol I .
http://wiki.bugwood.org/SNIPM or http://wiki.bugwood.org/IPM_Shrub_Book
Fulcher, Amy and Sarah White, editors, authors are members of Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management group (SNIPM). 2014. IPM for Select Deciduous Trees in Southeastern US Nursery Production.
http://wiki.bugwood.org/SNIPM or http://wiki.bugwood.org/IPM_book
Tony Avent - So You Want to Start a Nursery is a great resource for those considering entering the nursery business. It includes lessons Tony has learned starting, expanding, and operating Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, NC http://www.plantdelights.com/, and his opinions on what it takes to operate a successful nursery. The topics covered are those that all nursery operators must address; the sooner, the better. I have always recommended new people learn all they can through study, visiting other nurseries, and building a network of resources over one or more growing seasons before putting a plant in the ground or in a container. Now I will add, and strongly recommend, that they read Tony's book as part of that learning investment. (Timber Press, 2003)
Michael Dirr - Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
(6th Edition) The bible of the Nursery/Landscape industry and gardeners alike. I advise those
who do not yet have a copy to get two, one for the house and one for the vehicle.
Most people have multiple copies and keep the old one in the truck and copies
of the latest edition at home and the office. (Stipes Publishing, 2009)
Michael Dirr and Charles W. Heuser, Jr. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture (Second Edition, content is the same as the 1st edition except resources). (Timber Press, 2006)
Bruce McDonald. Practical Woody Plant Propagation for Nursery Growers. (Timber Press, Illustrated Paperback, 2006)
Allan M. Armitage - Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes: Third Edition. (review of third edition) Allan is a special person, he makes all around him feel somehow important and
that they are "worthy". A special talent I would like to emulate.
What about his books? They, like Dirr's Manual, are the resource of the industry.
(Stipes Publishing, 2008)
Allan M. Armitage - Armitage's Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-hardy Perennials: Allan's latest in the resource category is a excellent tome. That it is by Allan, was new and, therefore current, in 2001, and is from the internationally respected Timber Press makes it "worthy". (Timber Press, 2001)
Allan M. Armitage - Specialty Cut Flowers: The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bubls, and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers. Over the years I have studied Allan's first edition of this book to the point of showing signs of wear. My interest is in woody plants as a source of cut and dried flowers and cut stems. Specialty Cut Flowers was the only compilation of the limited information available at the time it was published in 1993 (see review of the 2003 Second Edition). There are 372 pages with Topics: Post harvest Care, Drying, and Perserving and Appendices on Stage of hrvest, Useful conversions, and a Hardiness Map with plants organized into categories: Annuals for Cut Flowers; Perennials for Cut Flowers; Bulbous Species for Cut flowers; and Woody Species for Cut Flowers, Fruit, and Foliage. (Varsity Press/Timber Press, 1993)
Ed Gilman - An Illustrated Guide to Pruning, 2nd Edition. Essentially the only complete pruning manual. It includes pruning tropicals, landscape woodies, and plants in the nursery for maximum production of plants properly developed for maximum landscape longevity and the customer's enjoyment. (Delmar, Thompson Learning, Inc., 2002)
Gary W. Watson and E. B. Himelick - Practices and Principles of Planting Tress and Shrubs. A collection of research put into practical form. This book starts with plant selection, i.e. the "right plant in the right place" and moves through site design, plant quality, the planting process, establishment and post planting care. Also, included are appendices with common problems of recently planted trees, definitions, watering, and a valuable guide for developing specifications, particularly for those that prepare estimates and bids for landscape design and installation jobs. (International Society of Arboriculture Books, 1997)
Steven Still - Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental
Plants, 4th Edition: Long the "Bible" of Herbaceous Ornamental plants is
starting to get a little "long in the tooth". The most recent edition
is 1994, because of the breathe of it; perennials, annuals, and biennials all
one book, it is still frequently used as the textbook of choice in university
horticulture classes. There is a very useful line drawing for every plant entry
and a photo gallery in the back. Steven's knowledge is incredible and his responsibilities
as a faculty member of The Ohio State University and as Executive Director of
the Perennial Plant Association must be demanding, let's hope a new edition
is in the works. (Stipes Publishing, 1994)
Hudson Hartmann, Dale Kester, Fred T. Davies, Jr. and Robert Geneve - Hartmann and Kester's Plant Propagation, 8th Ed.. Many older plantsmen have every edition. This is THE plant propagation book and textbook. No longer can I actually read it from cover to cover as I did with the 1975 edition, there is just too much information. This is the first edition to have the CD Glossary by Robert Geneve, a very valuable asset, it contains easy-to-view video clips of propagation practices that are very difficult to hands-on demonstrate to an audience or class. (Prentice Hall, 2011)
William Cullina - The New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada. I use this book regularly to answer my questions and to reply to requests from Extension clientele. The information is invaluable and often tells how to set up propagation systems adequate to produce large numbers of plants for a nursery production system. When doing research on a Kentucky native plant I like to build up the numbers of plants I have to work with and I always refer to this book first. My only regret is that a great resource like this was not available until 2000, I could have used it long ago. Note: The pages started cracking at the binding and falling out of my Growing and Propagating Wildflowers shortly after I purchased it in 2001. (Houghlin Mifflin, 2000)
Tracy Disabato-Aust - The Well-Tended Perennial Garden: It will be, if not already, a "must have" gardening resource. Timber Press has sold more copies of this book than any other they publish and with good reason. This book contains information on maintenance of perennial plants, especially on pruning and deadheading, not found anywhere else. (Timber Press, 1998)
Wayne A. Sinclair, Howard H. Lyon, Warren T. Johnson. Diseases of Trees and Shrubs. The authority on woody plant diseases! A companion to Insects that Feed on Tress and Shrubs. (Cornell university Press, 1987)
Warren T. Johnson and Howard H. Lyon. Insects that Feed on Tress and Shrubs. The authority on woody plant insects! Comstock Publishing Associates a division of Cornell University Press labels their book "The exhaustive handbook", you will get no debate of that understatement from me. (Cornell University Press, 1991)
Richard H. Uva, Joseph C. Neal, and Joseph M. DiTomaso. Weeds of the Northeast. An excellent book with a complete plant description on one page and the facing page filled with photos of the weed in all stages of growth and the seeds. The images are very useful compared to most weed books that only have line drawings. The Contents are organized into: Acknowledgements, About This Book, How To Identify a Weed, Shortcut Identification Tables, Vegetative Key to the Weeds, Spore Producers, Monocots, Dicots, Woody Plants, Hardwood Seedlings, Comparison Tables, Glossary, Bibliography, Index, and About the Authors. Spore Producers, Monocots, Dicots, and Woody Plants are subdivided by Family. Plants are listed by most frequently used common name with the scientific name and authority. The topics covered for each plant include: Synonyms, General Description, Propagation, descriptions of: Seedling, Mature Plant, Roots and Underground Structures, Flowers and Fruit, and Postsenescence Characteristics, and Habitat, Distribution, and Similar Species. A good resource for any horticulture library. (Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London, 1997)
Wharton, Mary E. and Roger Barbour. A Guide to the Wildflowers & Ferns of Kentucky. If you live in Kentucky the Wharton and Barbour books are absolutely essential. I have several copies and they are in my work bag that includes my garden tools. Some claim that they are poorly laid out for the amateur gardener and that said I will admit that Randy Seymour's book Wildflowers of Mammoth Cave National Park is convenient with it's color/season organization but these are the books I used when I first moved to Kentucky and they contain all my notes on where I found a particular plant. I have numerous copies. The University Press of Kentucky, 1971, 1979 edition
Wharton, Mary E. and Roger Barbour. Trees & Shrubs of Kentucky. When I moved to Kentucky my first book purchase was this book in it's original form with a paper jacket long lost. I was blessed when Bettye Riddle of Madisonville presented me with a new copy of the original edition. I love these books and wish I had taken the time to know Mary and Roger who were still alive at the time. The University Press of Kentucky, 1973
Plants and Their Care, more.
Kim Tripp and J. C. Raulston - The Year in Trees:Superb Woody Plants for Four-Season Gardens. It is a best of the best plant book. At it's time of release was considered a book worth having to expand the landscape plant palette for designers and gardeners. I still treasure this book, and find I have underlined numerous sentences and quotes from both Kim and J.C. that I find "Worthy". As with all readers I think we all identify with the writer. J.C. wrote "I remember the great excitement of the first showy, fragrant flowering one January of the magnificent Japanese flowering apricot, Prunus mume, bringing into focus for me why the Japanese were so intensely passionate about this remarkable plant grown for so long in the orient." Yes, I know what J. C. meant, I vividly remember the first time I saw two of these plants in full bloom in Bernheim Arboretum and I called Buddy Hubbuch at home all excited. The pictures are stunning, I have several pictures of Dove tree but never one like the one in this book. I read it from cover to cover, finding quotes like this one on Spring "When the gardening bug hits full strength, none of us---novice or expert, estate designer or suburban home owner---can resist the call of the garden. Although sophisticated and costly plants may tempt us during this season of inspired gardening, there is no reason to feel these are the only alternatives. Many affordable plants are available in local gardening centers and nurseries that are lovely when given the right care and setting." That statement always made me think the garden center owner should have "Our Garden Center" choices like the book sellers have. Let's hope Kim E. Tripp, Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanic Garden will author other books such as the The Complete Book of Shrubs and The Gardener's Guide to Shrubs: A Step-by-step Guide to Planting, Cultivating and Designing with Shrubs she co-wrote with Allan Coombes. (Timber Press, 1995)
Michael Dirr - Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia.
(Timber Press, 1997)
Michael Dirr - Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates. (Timber Press, 2002)
Michael Dirr - Michael Dirr's Photo-Library of Woody Landscape Plants on CD-ROM. (Plant America, 1996?)
Rick Darke - The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses. All I can say is thank goodness Rick quit his full-time job and took a flyer on being a successful author and public speaker. All his books are thorough and well written. This book was long overdue and needed by those wanting to use ornamental grasses in landscapes. The terminology in the industry was confusing to most before this resource was available. (Timber Press, )
Penelope Hobhouse - Plants in Garden History: Bob Geneve, University of Kentucky Horticulture Professor and author, A Book of Blue Flowers and revision author for Hartmann and Kester's Plant Propagation told me this was a great book. So I bought it in the paperback version, took it to work, and read it on lunch breaks (a slow process as my lunch break is the time it takes to eat a sandwich while working at my desk). I found it informative and interesting, I started with Chapter 9, The Development of North American Horticulture, then went back to start at the beginning, well, not the truth, I read Chapter 4, Botanists, Plantsmen,and Gardeners of Renaissance Europe next, then read the whole thing from the beginning. (Pavilion Books Limited, London,1992 & 1996)
Bob Geneve - A Book of Blue Flowers: Bob is a University of Kentucky Horticulture Professor and one of UK's best teachers. He is an avid photographer and it shows right on the cover with an awesome picture of Meconopsis betonicifolia, Himalayan blue poppy. Blue flowers are the class act of any garden. (Timber Press, 2000)
Gertrude Jekyll and Edward Mawley - Roses for English Gardens. So far The Rosarian of Garden Web has added 16 chapters and claim more will be added over time. I have never seen the original publication, but in that currently available there are some fun chapters such as Roses for Converting Ugliness to Beauty and Roses as Cut Flowers. Interestingly she states "It is only of late years, since an increased recognition of the delights of the garden has spread anew throughout Britian and is rapidly extending through her colonies, that any notable additions have been made to garden Roses.". Considering this was written in 1902 it implies there is a cycle of interest in gardening, rising and failing as time passes. The current interest in David Austin Roses and Roses from nurseries such as Bailey would indicate that we may be in a cycle of gardening interest. As with all books by Gertrude Jekyll, she readily shares her opinions, some of which are very pointed. (1902, http://www.rosarian.com/jekyll/roses/)
Seymour, Randy. Wildflowers of Mammoth Cave National Park is a favorite of mine for it's layout by color and season. The University Press of Kentucky, 1999.
Celia Thaxter - An Island Garden: This
book is literature, the author Celia Thaxter was a poet, and art, illustrated
by the American impressionist painter Childe Hassam (see his Ocean View). A
very pleasant read, indeed, about a poet who hosted guests (most, notable authors,
painters and the like) at her families' Hotel on Appledore Island, ME. She grew
a annual garden for it's aesthetic and to harvest cut flowers for her home.
She writes "Ever since I could remember anything, flowers have been like
dear friends to me, comforters, inspirers, powers to uplift and to cheer."
In spite of her statement "I trust it (the book) may help the patient gardener to a reasonable measure of success, and to that end I have spared no smallest detail that seemed to me necessary --." Celia Thaxter chooses to include wonderful descriptions of plants, birds, toads, bits of literature, poems, and more. A relatively short read; worthy of many readings, like listening to great music over and over. Her garden on Appledore Island is managed by Cornell University and can be visited by appointment, http://www.sml.cornell.edu/garden/pg-home.htm (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988)
Dianne Benson - Dirt: Gardening in Style: This book is fun, Dianne is irreverent about some of the institutions of gardening and she follows the great Vita Sackville-West's gardening philosophy, which includes that one should have appropriate outfits for proper gardening. Her small, but elegant, East Hampton (in "The Hamptons", on the "right" side of Montauk Highway even), NY, garden is worth a visit and is frequently on The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Garden Tours. Her description of Fritillaries made me take another look at this plant and realize the cultivars and species are fantastic. Her discussion of the Gardening Catalogs: How to choose, contains many words of wisdom especially for those just getting started. Of course, her chapter 2, What You Need: the Implements, Accessories, and the Clothes is at once very informative and humorous. I find the clothes part to be fun, almost a breathe of fresh air when I think of most gardening books. And she does dress for the garden, my visit to her wonderful garden found her in a dark blue top, wrap around skirt, and a wide studded black belt hanging from her hip to hold her pruner scabbard specifically for her Felco pruners, her dark hair in corn braids, a designer gardener. I read Michael Pollan's wonderful book Second Nature because she wrote "Without question, my favorite contemporary gardening treatise." The glossary is great! I was pleased to learn that her book has been reprinted and from her own Amazon.com entry that she will prepare a "DIRTier version" in the future, I assume that means updated; the VW Cabriolet had been replaced by a Porsche Cabriolet in 1997, some of the companies she mentioned have changed, and she like many gardeners may have changed her opinion over the time since the first edition. (Universe.com, August 2000; same as Dell Publishing, 1994, out-of-print)
Vita Sackville-West - Some Flowers, Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book, The Illustrated Garden Book (A New Anthology by Robin Lane Fox), and Country Notes. The writer-gardener who with her husband created Sissinghurst. If you have visited Sissinghurst, that statement is an adequate review. Of her books and popular press articles what creates the greatest interest is her garden writing. Many of those that enjoy her garden and its design have been known to read her letters to Virginia Wolfe and the rest of the Bloomsbury group to gain more of her gardening philosophy. Most of her published books are gardening articles she wrote for the Observer. (Some Flowers, 1937, 1993, Henry N. Abrams, Inc. and Pavilon Books Limited; Vita Sackville-West's GardenBook, 1968; The Illustrated Garden Book, 1986, Atheneum; Country Notes, 1940 [USA Ed.], Harper and Brothers.)
Louise Beebe Wilder - The Fragrant Path. The Fragrant Path is a good book. Wilder includes those plants that are not just fragrant in a pleasant way, but there is some discussion concerning those plants I claim have an odor, rather than a fragrance. She quotes frequently from previous garden books and literature, while this adds greatly to the enjoyment of the book it sometimes (Pleasures of the Nose) gets to the point of distraction. In spite of previous comments, I will quote from her book "But the subject is full of indistinctness, for a perfume that is a delight to one individual may be a horror to another". How true, and yet I find I have without having read her book at the time made many of the garden design decisions she discusses. Here at the UKREC we have a Calycanthus floridus at the edge of the entrance garden that when in bloom attracts attention for it's sweet fruity smell, she wrote "No garden of a generation ago (1900) but had its bush of sweet shrub near the door----". (Hartley & Marks, 1932, updated 1996)
Katherine S. White - Onward and Upward in the Garden. I find it amusing that E. B. White was the editor of this book as Katherine was the The New Yorker editor and E. B. the author. A talented couple that moved from New York City to North Brookline, Maine and ended up with both writing about their rural living experiences and collaborated on books of humor. Katherine S. White's sister, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, was also an author. The book is great fun, Katherine wrote with tongue-in-cheek, as if, let's not take all this quite so seriously. Her book will be one of the "worthy" survivors when the many gardening books are sorted into "keepers" and "the others". She was a correspondent with the equally talented garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence (althought having read them both I suspect they were different personalities that shared the gardening passion and had, as Allen Lacy says [of himself], "chosen to write about it quite personally, displaying many a preference and prejudice along the way". (Fabbar, Straus, Giroux, 3rd Printing 1979)
Thomas C. Cooper - Odd Lots: Seasonal Notes of a City Gardener. If the reputations of those who wrote cover blurbs is any indication this has to be THE book on gardening. On the inside jacket first up Allen Lacy, on the back: Wayne Winterrowd, Penelope Hobhouse, Rosemary Verey, Roger Swain and Tovah Martin. My guess when I bought the book was it must be quite a book. Well, it isn't a resource as such but is Thomas C. Cooper's personal thoughts on gardening. I must admit I like several statements he makes. One "The constitution of a gardener is a mercurial mixture of imagination and optimism. Nothing matches it except perhaps the temperament of a young child." and another statement "A garden journal must serve as a time capsule for a special breed of pack rat." Odd Lots contains a series of chapters that describe a particular month and the activities Thomas C. Cooper undertakes in those months. It starts in January in the same place as everyone else with the nursery catalogs and ends on December with Christmas and another fine assessment of the gardener "A gardener's library increases slowly yet undeniably, for one can usually summon a strong argument to buy every new title." I did summon such an argument that led to buying this book, which proved to be a fun pleasant read. (Henry Holt, 1995)
Michael Pollan - Second Nature A book that is both easy to read and frequently mentioned as a Gardening (philosophy) Classic by many garden writers. I learned of it while reading Diane Benson's Dirt: Gardening in Style. (1992, Delta Trade Paperback [Random House] and 1996, Bloomsbury Gardening Classics [Europe edition]) Michael Pollan has since written some extremely popular books, Botany of Desire, Omnivores Dilemma, and In Defense of Food.
Allen Lacy - Home Ground: A Gardener's Miscellany:
Allen Lacy is a Philosophy Professor at Stockton State College in New Jersey
is what the book jacket says, and it shows. All his books are "worthy".
A quick scan of the book into which he stuffs a lifetime of gardening makes
one think he has been a horticulturist all that time. The thought quickly changes
when one reads in the preface " "This is not, for the most part, a
practical book on horticulture. I offer little advice, except in the most incidental
way, ----- If I offered such advice, it would be almost entirely secondhand
----- I have chosen to to write about it quite personally, displaying many a
preference and prejudice along the way." ( Houghton Mifflin, 1992).
- Allen Lacy - The Gardener's Eye and other essays: A collection of great little pieces. I especially like the one in People and Places; J.C. Raulston, Plant Evangelist. (Hardcover, The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1992 and paperback, Henry Holt, 1995
-Allen Lacy (photos by Cynthia Woodward, dedicated to J.C. Raulston)- The Inviting Garden: (Henry Holt, 1998)
-Allen Lacy - The Garden in Autumn. Allen writes well, his comments in the preface to this book apply to this web site on gardening books. He wrote "Some of the parties to my own conversation about gardening, which began when I was growing up in Texas in a family of gardeners, no longer walk this earth. They include those who have written enduring books on gardening---Celia Thaxter, Richardson Wright, Louise Beebe Wilder, Vita Sackville-West, Elizabeth Lawrence, and many others in the great communion of saints." Allen calls Fall the "Neglected Season", most avid gardeners don't neglect Fall, but for the uninitiated the discovery of Fall with the late season blooms, the color of the fruit, fall foliage color is truly enlightening. He shares poems about the Fall in the opening chapter. His book mentions the closed Holbrook Farm and Montrose Nursery and twice changed owners We-Du Nursery, but their reputations live on. In the case of Holbrook Farm we have Alan Bush as the representative for Jelitto Seeds in Louisville and Nancy Goodwin's nursery may be gone but the site is a wonderful garden open to the public by appointment and the new owners of We-Du may just carry on. The photos are very nice, indeed, and the text is a pleasure interspersed with references to literature, people, and plants. A good book to have in the Spring to start planning and planting for the Fall Garden Show in one's own yard. (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990)
Henry Mitchell - Essential Earthman. (Indiana
University Press 1981 [Houghton Mifflin, 1993; HM Mariner Books, 1999]) Henry Mitchell's books were given to me by my mother, an avid gardener and lover of literature. She felt his books were special and so do I.
Henry Mitchell - One Man's Garden. (Houghton Mifflin, 1992; HM Mariner Books 1999)
Jamaica Kincaid - My Garden (Book). This is a confusing book until one realizes it is a series of short articles that are not always linked, therefore, information is frequently repeated from one article to another and considering her habit of repeating statements within a chapter/topic this can get annoying. The book is a collection of the thoughts and comments of the author, not necessarily a resource. The subject matter frequently wanders far afield of gardening and yet, I read the whole book cover to cover and enjoyed it. I think a quote from Michael Pollan on the back cover of the paperback edition says it all "My Garden (Book): gets down on paper the sound of an exquisitely attentive gardener thinking out loud----". (Farra, Straus and Giroux, 1999).
William H. Frederick, Jr.- The Exuberant Garden
and the Controlling Hand: I favor this book for his great thorough plant
lists (part of the title is; Plant Combinations for North American Gardens).
Written by a great landscape architect who loves plants and studies them at
every opportunity. William Fredericks readily admits he was influenced by the
Great Brazilian Landscape Architect Roberto Burle-Marx. (Little, Brown, &
Co., 1992, out-of-print and hard to find, I assume everyone who has a copy is
hanging on to it). Tracy Disabato-Aust's The
Well Designed Mixed Garden follows a similar format.
To enjoy some of Frederick's garden in your living room read Rick Darke's The American Woodland Garden, on the design of the home and garden of Nancy (an artist and wonderful lady) and William H. Frederick, Jr., pages 112-115, 167, & 230.
William H. Frederick Jr. authored the classic 100 Great Garden Plants (Timber Press, 1975).
Lauren Springer - The Undauanted Garden: Planting for Weather-Resilent Beauty. I always read the introductions to books I plan to read. This book starts out with "I don't understand the concept of the low-maintenance garden. Landscape yes, but not garden. Gardening may be many things to many people, but it is always an active relationship between a person and a group of plants." I agree, I have judged landscapes for yard-beautiful awards and frequently find the difference to be significant. At the mid-point of the introducton she writes "While the classics of English and coastal garden writing serve as wonderful bedtime reading and artistic inspiration, what we need out here are some new plants, combinations and ideas that help gardens face the severity of our climates with beauty and diversity. We need to create undaunted gardens." A rather pointed comment that, but probably pertinent for those of us that enjoy Kentucky's up and down weather with a few outrageous extremes thrown in. I laid this book down soon after writing the above. Conservation efforts and the continuous effort to have amateur gardeners, professional landscape designers and nurserymen take up the "right plant for the right site" practice I now find this book both fun and educational for her opinions and an excellent resource based on her exhaustive lists of plants for particular environs. The section on Roses has become a bit dated discussing the canadian roses when we now have the 'Knockout' series and the new Bailey Nurseries easy elegance hybrids by Ping Lim. (Fulcrum Publishing, 1994, I have the paperback edition, I find paperbacks to be an easier read and always buy Dirr and Armitage's books in that form).
Penelope Hophouse - On Gardening
Ann Lovejoy - Further Along the Garden Path: A Beyond-the-Basics Guide
to the Gardening Year. (Macmillan, 1995)
Ann Lovejoy - The American Mixed Border. Tracy Desabato-Aust mentions this book in her talks on The Well-Designed Mixed Garden. (Macmillan, 1993)
Ken Druse - The Natural Garden. A beautiful book! The pictures are excellent! The text is filled with many great tidbits of information and recommendations. The book is divided into sections: The New American Landscape; A Portfolio of Natural Gardens; Elements of Design; and Planning and Planting a Natural Garden. The plant selection list is plant descriptions; worthy but not as usable as the plant characteristic lists found in William Frederick's The Exuberant Garden and the Controlling Hand, Dirr's books or Tracy Disabato-Aust's The Well-Designed Mixed Garden. I am surprised he discusses the color wheel, but didn't include an image of it or an entry in the index. I enjoy just getting this book out every once in a while and looking through it and rereading parts of it, especially the Elements of Design section. Originally recommended to me by Tony Nold of Horticultural Design and Development, and The Plant Kingdom, Louisville, KY. (Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1989)
Garden Book Reviews
Reviews are in the chronological order they were written
Peter Walker and Melanie Simo. Invisible Gardens: The Search for Modernism in the American Landscape. Before actually reading this book I paged through it and came across an image description that stated “Stanley H. White and Richard Haag (son of Kenutcky Nurseryman Rudy Haag), an exceptionally gifted student of both Stanley White and Hideo Sasaki, Hagg moved on to begin a new program of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, in Seattle, in 1958, as well as to establish his own practice.” I had meet Richard Haag in Louisville a few years ago and e-mailed him to share this glowing endorsement before even reading the other pages on which Hagg was mentioned. He wrote when I thanked him for doing the Cultural Landscape Videos “Dear Winston, Your handwritten note lifted my spirit. I am well and actively practicing (determined to get it right! Especially since clients pay for my lifelong learning). Fill your work with love. Rich Haag, FASLA, BCSLA, Hon AIA." At this writing Rich Haag is still working (September 9, 2014). The book is a “composite history of the individuals and firms that defined the field of landscape architecture in America from 1925 to 1975, a period that spawned a significant body of work combining social ideas of enduring value with landscapes and gardens that forged a modern aesthetic. The major protagonists include Thomas Church, Roberto Burle Marx, Isamu Noguchi, Luis Barragan, Daniel Urban Kiley, Stanley White, Hideo Sasaki, Ian McHarg, Lawrence Halprin, and Garrett Eckbo.” Kings of landscape architecture one and all. An enjoyable read for those who find reading about the people who made the wonderful landscapes we know and love and the unique things they lead the way in such as Richard Haag’s experiments in bioremediation at the Gas Works Park in Seattle. (MIT PRress, 1996)
Tom Cox and John Ruter. Landscaping with Conifers and Ginko for the Southeast. I purchased this book and was thrilled with it because of its descriptions of cultivars. Many of the cultivars I had never heard of and would only be known by a few collectors or conifer specialists. Considering the few conifer specialty nurseries and the fact that I had visited most I was surprised at how many plants in the books I had never heard of including “Hedgehog” a cultivar of Cedrus libani, my personal favorite tree, which is only one foot high and three foot wide at maturity. Then at the Sustainable Beauty: Landscape Plants That Thrive in the Southeast symposium. June 6, 2013 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC I had the opportunity to buy another copy and have it signed by both authors who were present at the symposium. I sent my now spare copy to Kentucky’s conifer grafter Chris Summers as a gift for all his support of the nursery industry in Kentucky and for agreeing to do a YouTube video Ornamental Grafting – The Side Veneer Graft for our UKREC Horticulture Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hM00ozAPAmw&list=PLBB4CD63DB2B55BB1 . Tom and Evelyn Cox founded the Cox Arboretum and Gardens in Canton, GA which contains conifers collected from all over the world. Dr. John Ruter, Allen Armitage Professor of Horticulture, tested a large number of conifers for southeastern gardens creating a fine collection at the University of Georgia, Tifton and has since moved to the Athens campus where he continues with herbaceous and conifer plant evaluation and development of hte Camellia Oleifera, Tea oil as a new crop. (University Press of Florida, 2013)
Jim Robbins. The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Grove, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet. The closing paragraph of Jim Robbins' book pretty well says it all: “We can wait around for someone else to solve the problem of climate change and the range of other environmental problems we face, from toxic waste to air pollution to dead zones in the ocenas to the precipitous decline in biodiversity, or we can take matters into our own hands and plant a tree, but, as the proverb says, there is no better time.” (Spiegel & Grau, 2012)
Amy Fulcher and Sarah White, editors. Authors alphabetically: Craig R. Adkins, S. Kristine Braman, Matthew R. Chappell, Juang-Horng (JC) Chong, Jeffrey F. Derr, Winston C. Dunwell, Steven D. Frank, Amy F. Fulcher, Frank A. Hale, William E. Klingeman, Gary W. Knox, Anthony V. LeBude, Joseph C. Neal, Mathews L. Paret, Nicole A. Ward, Sarah A. White, Jean L. Williams-Woodward, Alan S. Windham and guest author Jill R. Sidebottom. Copy editors: Justin West and Andrea Menendez. IPM For Select Deciduous Trees in Southeastern US Nursery Production. This FREE book is the collaboration of SNIPM (Southern Nursery Integrated Pest Management, pronounced snip-um) horticulturists, entomologists, plant pathologists, and weed scientists. The format for iPads is particularly useful with the addition of nursery practice videos some by UK Dept of Horticulture’s very own Carey Grable, Nursery Crops Extension Associate (see his other videos at the UKREC Horticulture YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/UKRECHort ). On the iPad the book must be viewed in landscape orientation in order to see the images and tables. Videos are in the text and viewable in portrait and landscape orientation but landscape is preferred.
The opening chapters are: Chapter 1 - Overview of IPM in Flowering and Ornamental Shade Trees; Chapter 2 – Container Production; Chapter 3 – Field Production. The “select deciduous trees” chapters are: Chapter 4 – Birches – Betula spp; Chapter 5 – Cherry – Prunus spp; Chapter 6 – Crapemyrtle – Lagerstroemia spp; Chapter 7 – Dogwood – Cornus spp; Chapter 8 Chinese Elms – Ulmus parvifolia; Chapter 9 Magnolias –Magnolia spp; Chapter 10 - Maples – Acer spp: Chapter 11 – Oaks – Quercus spp; Chapter 12 Redbud- Cercis spp. The last chapter is Chapter 13 – Weed and Ground Cover Management in Field Nursery Production. Each chapter contains images of production, and pests including abiotic disorders as well as tables of plant characteristics and requirements and pesticide recommendations. The book can be downloaded to an iPad via iTunes or direct from the store when in iBooks or as a book chapter by chapter without videos via the SNIPM site that can be printed or viewed at the site or as downloaded files. (iTunes/iBooks, Southern IPM http://wiki.bugwood.org/SNIPM, 2012)
Peter Del Tredici Wild Urban Plants Of The Northeast: a field guide. I have found Peter's extroadinary book an interesting and informative read. The introduction is fodder for thought about the way plants got here and their often unrecognized value. I wish I had had such a book many years ago when I first moved to Kentucky and was trying to identify the "by the side of the road" plants. Most of the plants by the side of the road are not native to Kentucky and they were not listed in many wildflower or native plant books. Thankfully, Wharton and Barbour did list, describe and have images of many of the by the side of the road plants and that is why their books ride with me in the car and are kept in my office and home.This book contains most of the plants we find by the side of the road and near abandoned fields, homes and commercial sites. There are descriptions of each plant that include Synonyms, Life Form, Place of Orgin, Vegetative Caharacteristics, Flowers and Fruits, Germination and Regeneration, Habitat Preferences, Ecological Functions and Cultural Significance. The plants are organizzed by categories e.g. for Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner Black Alder is in the Woody Dicots: Betulaceae (Birch Family) section. In spite of northeast and urban appearing in the title this is a book of value to all in the United States paricularly eastern areas, north and south. I meet Peter many years ago at an Eastern Region International Plant Propagator's Society meeting. On the back cover of his 1983 book A Giant Among The Dwarfs: The Mystery of Sargent's Weeping Hemlock it states "Many of Mr.(now Dr.) Del Tredici's research projects are practically oriented and have involved tree planting in vacant lots, swamps, and city parks." indicating his interest in urban plants is career long. I will add Wild Urban Plants to my three libraries which in addition to Wharton and Barbour have Dirr's Manual and Seymour's Wildflowers. (Cornell University Press, 2010)
Sydney Eddison. Gardening for a Lifetime: How to Garden Wiser as You Grow Older. I first met (not really) Sydney Eddison by reading her book A Passion for Daylilies: The Flowers and the People (1993). It was an excellent resource for the then daylily fanatic (thanks to Casey and Cindy Schott and Mitchell Leichhardt) and because I liked it so much I purchased and read The Unsung Season: Gardens and Gardeners in Winter (1995). I finally met Sydney Eddison for the briefest of moments at her friend Mary Clark Stambaugh’s house. Mary had visited Sydney that day and brought home a vase filled with beautiful daylilies Sydney stopped by to add to the arrangement. I was visiting Mary and Randy Stambaugh at their home thanks to a visit to Twombly’s that lead to meeting Laura Evans who was working as a gardener for Mary and invited me to see her great garden. That led to a delightful tour and a glass of wine and some cheese on the patio (some days are truly special). Why the story because that is Sydney’s book. I must admit I am in the process of reading Gardening for a Lifetime and I have already found her comments on her friends the late rock gardeners H. Lincoln Foster and Laura Louise Foster very interesting; interesting enough for me to buy their book Cuttings from a Rock Garden: Plant Portraits and other Essays. Gardening for a Lifetime is important if for only the fact that what Sydney discusses, the constant expansion of her garden and the need for help to maintain it to the appearance she wanted, I know only too well. I keep thinking just a few minutes extra a day and I can manage but of course it never works out that way and once we get behind it is almost impossible to catch up. The book is like the Zen Minimalist approach to gardening; when gardening and plants are a joy, even a necessity for survival in the world, one has to figure out a way to continue and this book is a guide to doing that. Kimberly Day Proctor’s illustrations enhance the book and I like them. (Timber Press, 2010)
Wade Davis. One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest. On a UK Horticulture Club trip to Costa Rica lead by our fearless leader Dr. Bob Geneve student Ryan Quire told me of this book. She was so enthusiastic that as soon as I returned I ordered a copy. It is the story of Dr. Richard Evans Shultes' travels in South America. What an amazing story; I was mesmerized and read it from cover to cover including all the Notes on Sources, even the index. It includes some of the travels of Drs. Tim Plowman and Wade Davis as Shultes' students and assistants. It paints a picture of a remarkable scientist, linguist, adventurer, humanitarian and friend to the many he met in his life (January 12, 1915-April 10, 2001). I have had some of the adventures described including a wheel failing off a four wheel drive on the flat after negotiating a treacherous mountain in Ecuador. My experience was child's play by comparison. That William Burroughs author of Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict and Timothy Leary are part of the text tells of Shultes search for new medicinal plants while finding hallucinogens, flowering plants and natural rubber latex sources for the WWII military. As for Timothy Leary Wade says "An unverified account of the meeting indicates that long before Harvard fired Leary, Shultes had disowned him for using improper Greek." Apparently Shultes did not suffer people who lacked attention to detail which makes the story by one of his chosen ones Wade Davis all the more creditable. (Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 1996)
Allan M. Armitage. Armitage’s Vines and Climbers: A Gardener’s Guide to the Best Vertical Plants. Allan dedicates this book to his children with “When a child is born you have no idea what parenting is about, and you hope to do a few things right. Our children make us look brilliant; every day they make us proud.” I have children like that and know what a blessing and joy they are. Allan says he was criticized for including invasives in his book. I personally appreciate them being included especially where a whole genus is condemned because of a single species or cultivar. Of vines and climbers he says “I love them all, annual or perennial, and quickly discovered I will never discover them all.” My wife is also a lover of vines and climbers and has introduced me to many plants I did not know, Allan’s book does the same and more. I have files of slides and computer files of images of plants I photographed but did not know; I now know several of them. One is Dalechampia, purple wings. For each plant genus he includes a description with pronunciation and common name, other species, propagation, method of climbing, and etymology (always fun). As soon as I got my hands on a copy of the book I immediately searched for favorites such Apios americana which was not there nor was my favorite Clematis glaucophylum but hey this is not a Clematis book although many are included and Lyndy Broder’s Top Ten clematis section is great. The second plant I looked for was Schizophragma hydrangeoides and it was there with numerous images. I learned Paul Cappiello, Director of Yew Dell Gardens, pronounces Schizophragma correctly and I did not; still it is a great mouthful to say and an equally wonderful plant. A great display of this plant (on-line image) is on a brick wall at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Joseph F. Ruwitch Garden For All, St. Louis; it was damaged by the late spring freeze of 2007, but has managed a recovery. That planting taught me adjusting my camera’s white balance did not do as much as bracketing the exposure and picking the best image. On to Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris I hoped to learn from Allan why mine grow so slow. My problem I guess, as slow growth was not mentioned. At 212 pages one cannot expect to find a description of all the vines and climbers, just the ones Allan cares about and in most cases has grown at The Trial Gardens at UGA or his home landscape. A cautionary note: Allan labels and describes Hedera as invasive: "as functional and beautiful as they may be, they are listed as noxious and invasivce plants in many states." Allan recommends (p. 101) "reading a page from Paghat's Garden on the issue of invasiveness of ives (http://www.paghat.com/ivy.html)". The page contains a couple of claims: 1. Ivy is actually easy to control and 2. Miniature H. helix cultivars & especially those with white or yellow in the leaves, or frilly leaves, or deeply cut almost cannabis-like leaves, are non-invasive. I sent that page to several plants people friends and a response was --- "I’ve grown more than 30 of the so-called dwarf or fancy varieties that are supposed to be fruitless and non-invasive. In all cases (sorry, I meant to type ALL CASES) these eventually reverted to something like a wild type that did fruit.". So be forewarned; there are opinions out there that create disagreement; but ignorance and ambivalence has lead to a species or cultivar being called invasive that is not or continued use of a known invasive species. I did notice the paper jacket is textured like the refrigerator to avoid finger prints? For ease of holding while reading? I don’t know, but I like it. (Timber Press, 2010)
Bobby Ward’s book Chlorophyll in His Veins: J. C. Raulston, Horticultral Ambassodor is about the life of the late great plantsman and founder of the North Carolina State University Arboretum (now known as the J. C. Raulston Arborteum), Dr. J. C. Raulston; I never knew the J. C. meant James Chester. The foreword is by the great plant hunter Roy Lancaster. I knew J. C. for many years before his untimely death at age 56 in a car accident and now find I only remember the later edition which appears on the cover with gray hair (I had not seen the no hair edition until the picture in Chlorophyll in His Veins) and a bit of weight on his bones. I wonder if people see me the same not thinking about the younger person. I was surprised by pictures that caused me to think; yes that skinny dark haired guy is the J. C. I knew in 1980. I guess my description is not adequate but it seemed strange for some reason. The pictures indicate J. C. Raulston was left handed like me, that characteristic made a list of left handed people I keep but another item I had forgotten. Then to combine all the things I did not know about him; such as he was a Lieutenant in the army and served in Vietnam. I guess, like me, lots of us were in the military then and I just never really gave it a thought; we talked about plants, gardens, landscapes and books. Kentucky's own Allen Bush commented that while running Holbrook Farm & Nursery in Fletcher, NC he "attended a series of J. C.'s lectures in Asheville: 'After these three-hour, breathless Friday night lectures, I would drive twenty minutes back to the farm feeling like I'd just left a tent revival... he made me think horticulture was limitless.'" I feel blessed to have plants in the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center Botanic Gardens in Princeton, KY that I got directly from J. C. The loss of the Styrax japonicus 'Emerald Pagoda' he gave me to the April 2007 freeze was like losing an old friend, made all the more poignant by J. C. no longer being with us to tell me not to worry I have ---- ---- for you. I bought the book but consider it a gift. I am so glad Bobby Ward and Roy Dicks spent 4 years researching J.C.s life and writing the book then Bobby published it himself when publishers said, J.C. who? or no we don’t want all that extra stuff in there (his favorite plants list, a few pertinent talks, etc), -- can you believe it? As Roy Lancaster says in the introduction “All credit then to Bobby Ward for placing the essence of J. C.’s life and work on the record in such a revealing and sensitive light.” A special thanks to all those who contributed their memories of J. C. (Mayapple Press, 2009)
Hardie Newton Celebration of Flowers – The first sentence is “Flowers heal our spirits”. This sentiment comes from a lady described by Maureen Heffernan, Executive Director of the Maine Coastal Botanic Garden, in the introduction as “---struck by her natural beauty, elegance, and warmth”. When I met her during her presentation in Paducah, KY my impression was the same. Her insistence on a tie-in program for youth was well received in Paducah. The title says what the book is; a “celebration” of words and images. With an exuberant language and happy undertone the book is a pleasant read. Sunny Reynolds’ pictures are sharp and bright and add greatly to the overall feeling of joy expressed by Hardie. “Wherever you live---farmhouse or high-rise, city or small town----rejoice in the world of flowers.” Flowers are now readily available. Here in Princeton, KY Sue Ellen Claggett provides the home-grown cut flowers and cut flowers and pot plants are available in the local florists and discount stores; even groceries, but as Hardie points out in her book and at her presentations -- flowers, cut stems and pretty plant ornaments exist year round in our environments even the road ditches are great sources of flowers for display. Somewhere along the way Hardie Newton made a choice to be a “Pearls and Denim” gardener, a lady of passion for beauty in the world and the means to express it through her art of communication and utilizing flowers to “heal our spirits”. (Storey Publishing, 1997)
Bobby J. Ward. Plant Hunter's Garden: The New Explorers and Their Discoveries, A world of fascinating plants for adventurous gardeners. The introduction is by a plant hunter, Brian Mathew, 1992 Herbert Medal Winner, Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; it is brief but contains these ending comments “There is a wealth of interest here for keen gardeners and botanists. Numerous exciting new plants are mentioned and illustrated, their origins and behavior in cultivation are recorded, and the whole is laced entertainingly with many a traveler’s antedote.” Of course we don’t want to ignore Bobby’s focus on plant hunters. The very appropriate quote that begins the Acknowledgements resulted in me buying a paperback reprint of Ernest Wilson’s 1927 book Smoke That Thunders. The quote is: There are no happier folks than plant-lovers and none more generous than those who garden. Another from the same book opens the Introduction with Nature is a generous mother and with leaf and flower has decked the world in loveliness. There is another Wilson quote on the page opposite the contents page. If you can believe it I read the bibliography first and found the resources used in this book of interest. While I have read books and articles by Dirr, Wilson, Fairchild, Hinkley, Darke, Darwin, Avent, etc I did not know of Brian Mathew, James C. Archbold, Will McLewin, Josef J. Halda or many other authors quoted in Plant Hunter’s Garden. It has taken me quite a while to write a review because I typically started just browsing and ended up reading word for word front to back the whole book, underlining as I went and posting the nurseries to my travel documents by state and adding a new folder on countries outside the US in hopes that one day I will visit the nursery or business of the “plant hunters”. I am already disappointed that through not having read the section ‘Plant Geeks’ about Sean Hogan and Parker Sanderson before traveling to Sauvie Island, OR to see Bailey Nursery I was not aware I should have made a special effort to visit the Jim Owen recommended Cistus Nursery also there. Speaking of Cistus Nursery a quote Bobby attributes to partner Sean “Parker and I tend to promote plants that are appropriate for our climate and any plants we can force the climate to accommodate.” The images vary from outstanding to not so good, but all are representative of the plant illustrated. This is a great read for the plant/plant people lover, it is filled with wonderful descriptions and history of plant hunting while talking of contemporary “plant hunters”, it makes one want to just head out see the plants and meet the people. It also makes the point that plants are available for us to use in our gardens and somewhere close to home there is a ‘plant hunter”, it might even be you. (Timber Press, 2004)
Daniel J. Hinkley. The Explorer’s Garden: Shrubs and Vines. An excellent book! One all plants people should have in their library. I read the book from cover to cover; not a common practice for me when it comes to plant books. What happened was I started jumping around in it reading interesting bits and pieces, I particularly enjoyed reading Dan's travel journal entries that begin each chapter then realized it is all interesting and worth a read even if one realizes many of the plants discussed are not hardy in Kentucky. We have a Daphniphyllum macropodum in the UKREC Botanic Garden that was received from the Margaret Pooler of the national arboretum and there is a whole chapter dedicated to the genus. Of Chionanthus virginicus Dan says it “is highly celebrated, particularly east of the Mississippi, with well-seasoned and jaded plantsmen, who consider it to represent the finest of native American flowering shrubs or small trees.” I fully agree. Of course he speaks of many genus, species, and varieties and cultivars; there is even a whole chapter on my favorite genus Clerodendrum (there is one of those embarrassing stories there, ask me about it when you see me; it has to do with the common name Glorybower). The pictures by Dan and photographer Lynne Harrison are fantastic; I love the one of The Taktshang Monastery above Pato, Bhutan on the dedication page, it is fantastic; a sharp corner to corner image of an incredible place perched on a rock mountainside almost a cliff. For some odd reason I was surprised by the astute observation by Martha Stewart on the jacket, "Dan Hinkley writes beautifully on the subjects he has mastered so thoroughly. Any gardener, serious grower, or amateur botanist will benefit from reading this incredible horticultural masterpiece." my sentiments exactly. (Timber Press, 2009)
Richard Louv. Last Child In The Woods: Saving our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder. I started reading this book and came upon the driving force behind the purpose of the book; Richard wrote: “Yet, at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical, and spiritual health directly to our association with nature – in positive ways.” In Chapter 2: the Third Frontier is “In the space of a century, the American experience of nature has gone from direct utilitarianism to romantic attachment to electronic detachment.” Part I ends with the definition of Nature-Deficit Disorder: “Nature-Deficit Disorder describes the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses. The disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities.” The opening page to Part II opens with what I think to be one of the greatest quotes ever made: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life exists.” by Rachel Carson. (review Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005: there is an Updated and Expanded edition as of April 10, 2008).
Helen Dillon, Down to Earth with Helen Dillon. Helen Dillon is a celebrity gardener in Ireland, England, New Zealand and the United States. The gardening society tends to know their subject very well and to be a celebrity requires extensive knowledge at one’s fingertips to deal with those that just want to test you and to be able to answer the frequently very difficult questions from avid gardeners. Helen can do that. The book is divided into an Introduction and 3 Parts; Beginners Stuff; The Middle Ground and Fancy Stuff. The parts contain what I will describe as brief commentaries or articles. This lead to me not reading from the front to back but just paging through until something caught my eye and then reading the article. Her, and her husband Val's, garden at 45 Sandford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland is special - very special; I have a picture of it etched in my mind from when I visited there. While I am sure she has made changes since I was there the main structure, the “canal”, water feature is stunning and begged me to ask the question how did she come up with that design? Unfortunately, I did not ask the question. She did tell me that the house next door to her garden and home (by the way, you get to the garden through her home when you visit and her home is equally "worthy" of the visit) once belonged to the great plant collector Augustine Henry. Frankly, that impressed me and I made some regrettable comment to her that diminished her garden, which is in every way fabulous. She addresses her “weighing up their (people she meets and garden visitors) charm or lack of it and giving them imaginary points for this or that” in the article, Unsettling remarks. I am confident I did not score many points, but she and UK Professor Bob Geneve did share with me all the stories related to Mandrake, Mandragora, growing in her garden, an equally memorable part of the visit. The book has images of her garden and plants; most taken by the author that are very good. The pictures showing the canal and surrounds occur on pages 94-95 (a really good one with the stones wet), there are others of the stones dry on pages 13, on the opening page to Part3 essentially page 153, and page 206-207. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the book for her light-hearted look at gardening; writing in keeping with witty classy style of Vita Sackville-West or Diane Benson and yet fessing up to her mistakes in a “Down to Earth” style of her own. I hope you would have the good fortune I enjoyed to visit her garden and the many others in Scotland and Ireland, but if not buy the book and get to know Helen Dillon and her wonderful garden and the plants she loves. Timber Press, 2007 [so as to not end up with two copies of the same book; this from her web page 'Helen Dillon's Garden Book' is published by Frances Lincoln Limited in the UK, and by Timber Press in the United States, entitled 'Down to Earth with Helen Dillon'. ].
Daniel J. Hinkley. The Explorer’s Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials. I have had the good fortune to hear Dan Hinkley speak about plants on several occasions and each one was a great event. He starts his book with A Word about Nomenclature “The more I study and observe, the more I realize how little I know. And this is a scrumptious, delicious, realization, not a troubling one. All that might be interpreted as shortcomings in our understanding of the electrifying webwork of life on Earth should rather be valued as suggesting the richness of things yet to be learned”. How true that statement is and how wonderful and exciting each new day can be if we learn and observe the magic and mystery of plants; ok, yes, or whatever your passion may be, but we are talking plants here. Dan truly loves plants; he talks of them as friends. He includes his many human friends in his book as well; “marveling at the ---blooms” of Lathyrus vernus received “in a box of treasures from our friend J. C. Raulston, from North Carolina State University”. Sanquinaria canadensis, Bloodroot, one of my favorite natives blooms for an incredibly short period but we grow it for its foliage and Dan comments “The rounded, lobed leaves are reason enough to include bloodroot in our gardens: they expand ultimately to 8 inches. ----“ His “Zones Schmones” discussion has several good quotes: “I have always felt that minimum temperatures ranges are more relevant to helping cross-country skiers select wax they should carry in any part of the country than to determining a plant’s chance for survival.” And "All zone 8 gardens are not created equal.” and “---the potential flexibility of hardiness within each taxa is far greater than most people realize.” Like most true plantspeople he writes “Throw all perceived notion out the window, plant wildly, laugh at the failures, and smugly savor the successes.” Dan includes many common Kentucky wildflowers in his book and I thank him for that. I have so many underlines in the book it seems silly, the best thing to do is not underline or highlight just keep it handy and read it again and again. Each group of plants in addition to the plant characteristic discussion includes information on hardiness, cultivation, and propagation. One learns as much about Dan Hinkley as one does about plants reading his book; at the end I think I enjoyed that part as much as the discussions about plants. Photographer Lynne Harrison provided her typically distinct, sharp, great depth of field images of the subjects. I wish I took images as crisp as hers that appear in The Plant Explorer’s Garden and in Ann Lovejoy’s recent books. I do wish I had bought the book when it was originally published in 1999. Now you have the same opportunity as me to discover or even reread this available treasure. (Timber Press, 1999, paperback 2009)
Raymond J. Evison . Clematis for Small Spaces: 150 High-Performance Plants for Patios, Decks, Balconies and Borders. I will admit up front that I have met Raymond Evison in Europe and I bought a previous book Making the most of Clematis: Third Edition from him. At that time, and I assume still, Raymond was an avid, passionate, obsessive Clematis lover and promoter. The Making the most of Clematis book included a chapter Growing Clematis in North America, so I felt from the start that I would find information of value to North American gardeners in his new book and so I have. The book includes most of our North America natives, but not all. An obvious missing plant is the small pink flowered Clematis glaucophyllum I grow that I received from, Janet Dowlen, a horticulturist from Tennessee. I like it, but found it’s close relative C. viorna is included in this book. Of course, Allan Armitage does not include all the North American native Clematis species in Armitage’s Native Plants for North American Gardens. The author specifically defines the contents with: “I present a selection of clematis that I believe of real garden value, when grown in garden locations where space is at a premium. I have chosen species and cultivars that are disease resistant, with a good habit, attractive foliage, interesting flowers and a long flowering period.” Also, Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery, Scappoose, OR helped with the selection of entries for this book. The images are wonderful, some truly stunning. I want a C. montana ‘Broughton’ and the simple white flowered Clematis Hyde Hall ‘Evipo009’ on page 242 and dozens more. Raymond Evison knows Clematis as is evident from the fact that he grows so many and is owner of “The Guernsey Clematis Nursery Ltd situated on the Island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands, off the South English coast and just off the French coast. GCN was set up in 1985 and now produces more than five million young clematis plants annually for the world's markets, growing nearly 200 species and cultivars, exporting to 20 countries and capable of producing over 10 million young clematis a year. He now has 25% of the world's market of young plants, the USA being by far the largest market (50%), then England, the rest of Europe and Canada.” (quote from GCN website http://www.guernsey-clematis.co.uk/). Clematis for Small Spaces covers in its chapters: History, Clematis for different sites and with different flowering times plus cultivation, pruning and propagation so that no one should be without clematis in bloom from spring to autumn. (Timber Press, 2007)
Robert Pogue Harrison. Gardens:An Essay on the Human Condition. This book has had me in its grip since reading the title in the St. Louis bookstore, Left Bank Books at 321 North 10th. I wrote down the title but did not buy the book that day but several weeks later I came across it again at Carmichaels, Bardstown Road, Louisville and read the first sentence "For millennia and throughout world cultures, our predecessors conceived of human happiness in its perfected state as a garden existence". I decided I had to have it and bought a copy and must say I am glad I did. One must keep in mind that the author is the Rosina Pierotti Professor of Italian Literature, Chairman of the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University, and the title includes “Human Condition”. I have great trouble telling people why I like Gardens; it is a philosophic roller coaster ride. Jonathan Bate wrote in the October 1, 2008 edition of The Spectator, “Harrison’s subtitle is ‘An Essay on the Human Condition’, and the book does indeed have all the qualities of the essay form, as invented by Michel de Montaigne: it is digressive, looping, surprising, instinctive and happy rather than logical and historical in its inclusions and exclusions.” Professor Harrison writes on p 150: "----, I tend to favor revelation over demonstration, embodied figures over analytical concepts, and the discernment of poets over the disquisitions of philosophers." The main body of book is relatively short (pages 1-172) and densely packed with thoughts, quotes, and ideas. I realized early on in the reading that I would not be able to underline all the passages I found “worthy”; there is little of the writing that isn’t a quotable direct statement of thought. Other sections of the book include: the Epilogue, 173-176; the Appendices, 177-198; Notes, 199-220; Works Cited, 221-238; and the Index, 239-248. To further explain the book here are the chapters: 1 - The Vocation of Care; 2 - Eve; 3 - The Human Gardener; 4 - Homeless Gardens; 5 - “Mon jardin à moi”; 6 – Academos; 7 - The Garden School of Epicurus; 8 - Boccaccio’s Garden Stories; 9 - Monastic, Republican, and Princely Gardens; 10 – A Note on Versailles; 11 - On the Lost Art of Seeing; 12 - Sympathetic Miracles; 13 - The Paradise Divide: Islam and Christianity; 14 - Men Not Destroyers; 15 - The Paradox of the Age and the appendixes include: 1 - From The Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio; 2 - From Mr. Palomar, Italo Calvino; 3 – (Poem) “The Garden,” Andrew Marvell; 4 - A Note on Islamic Carpet Gardens. I will share a few quotes so you can get a feel for it: “Yet one way or another, in their very concept and their humanly created environments, gardens stand as a kind of haven, if not a kind of heaven.”; “History without gardens would be a wasteland.”; “The gardens that have graced this mortal Eden of ours are the evidence of humanity’s reason for being on Earth.”; "Care is accustomed to act, to take the initiative, to stake its claims, yet powerlessness and even helplessness are as intrinsic to the lived experience of care as the latter's irrepressible impulse to act, enable, nurse, and promote.". For those fearful that this is not a book specifically about gardens but more about the relationship of gardens to literature and philosophy I would tend to agree and you may learn more by going to Robert (yes, it is Robert not Bob, occasionally Roberto to friends) Harrison's radio show, Entitled Opinions (about Life and Literature), that is online at http://www.stanford.edu/dept/fren-ital/opinions I must admit I did understand his comments about Louis XIV's Versailles, during my first visit it was so overwhelming in its grandiose show I left it and went to town and bought a hat (An experience that was revealing in and of itself. I don't wear hats, but had a desire for the French version of a Greek fisherman's cap I had seen on a dapper man on a Paris street [the hat is well stitched and formed of quality wool]). It was raining that day so coffee and a pastry were also in order; the commuity is wonderful. The continuing renovation of Versaille’s gardens would probably lead me to spending every available minute in the gardens were I to visit now. It is obvious from the many resources quoted that Professor Harrison is a reader and his comments lead me to other books I have read and will review the appropriate ones later. One does not have to be a gardener in the sense of growing food or creating an aesthetic place utilizing beloved plants to feel the worth of this book. I will read his other books after I read this one again. The back cover contains a positive endorsement by noted poet W. S. Merwin, with whom the author had spoken and quotes in the book as a source for establishing that historically gardens came before agriculture. As a life-long horticulturist I like the thought that horticulture came before agriculture. (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
Mark Tebbitt, Magnus Lidén, and Henrik Zetterlund. Bleeding Hearts, Corydalis and Their Relatives. This book is "Published in association with Brooklyn Botanic Garden". That helped me assume that much of the information would be applicable to the US as confirmed by my first random opening on page 120 that read "Corydalis aurea is the most widespread member of a group of six similar yellow-flowered winter annuals from North America. ------ Corydalis aurea occurs almost throughout the United States___." Good enough, now back to the beginning. In the preface it is stated by Mark Tebbitt that he was requested to write "an authoritative book for gardeners covering all the cultivated members of the bleeding heart family." So the 176 page, 7 x 9 inch, hardcover, 2008 edition I am reviewing with 112 color images and 3 black and white images and 50 line drawings should cover all the cultivated bleeding hearts, especially the majority of successful introductions, the bulk of which are from 1970s. I have no way of knowing if that is the case; the book contains more genus and species than the few I have had the good fortune to see or take an image of. Born and raised in New York and frequently vacationing upstate with my family we saw Corydalis in the woods. I was really excited to photograph a native Corydalis in China. The image Bob Geneve took of me trying to stabilize my camera on my backpack in the shady woods turned out better than the fuzzy image I took. I must say that the large garden plantings I have tried to photograph frequently are in dense shade that limited my ability to hand hold my camera and get a good image. The images in the book are basically very good, some very, very good, and some a bit distant and difficult to see. In the Cultivation chapter the authors' state: "Dense deciduous woodland is a particularly suitable environ for the spring ephemerals that are able to complete their annual life cycle just as the canopy closes." I was intrigued by their approach to the new nomenclature that frustrates most non-taxonomist plants people; leading to people ignoring the name changes. They state "We expect few gardeners will be pleased that the beloved Dicentra spectabilis, bleeding heart, is now correctly named Lamprocapnos spectabilis. We hope, however, that by explaining in non-technical terms the scientific reasons for this and a few other name changes, the necessity for these changes will become readily apparent, and the new names accepted in gardens." Checking in Jones Plant Life of Kentucky I found that one of our natives Corydalis sempervirens (Capnoides sempervirens) is in the Special Concern category: A taxon considered to be a likely candidate for future listings as threatened or endangered in Kentucky, or one for which additional information is needed before listing. If you have additional information please pass it along to Ron Jones at Eastern Kentucky University. What plant genus can we expect to find in the bleeding heart, Fumariaceae, family other than our native Corydalis and Dicentras; well, first up must be the bleeding heart Lamprocapnos spectabilis, then the rock fumewort Pseudofumaria lutea, Dactylicanos species, Ehrendorferia species, Ichtyoselmis macrantha, Rupicapnos, Sarcocapnos, and many more occur in the text. A worthy book I enjoyed reading. (Timber Press, 2008.)
Dan Heims and Grahame Ware. Heucheras and Heucherellas: Coral Bells and Foamy Bells. I must say up front I don't know much about Heucheras or xHeucherelles so I found reading this book by the plant introducer extraordinaire Dan Heims and writer Grahame Ware informative. At 6 x 9 inches and 208 pages this is a book that will fit in the briefcase or travel bag. There are 116 color photos and 8 b/w illustrations in the book. In the strange category the images are in the front of the book without any introduction. I am not sure you are supposed to include US currency (five dollar bill) in images in a book but it is an effective way to show the size of the leaf of Heuchera villosa var. macrorhiza. Louisvillian Allen Bush, US Jelitto Seeds, is mentioned in the book for his introduction of an improved Heuchera villosa var. purpurea he named after his daughter 'Molly Bush'. I wish Dan and Grahame had been able to include images of more of the breeders; of the 26 breeders mentioned with Dan Heims there are only four images. Of course, the image of Alan Bloom is a great one of a great plantsman. I was glad to learn that the xHeucherella is an ingeneric hybrid between Heuchera and Tiarella and in this day and age of concern about invasive species is sterile and therefore, "profuse and repeat bloomers". It pays to read the book thoroughly before buying these plants. Heucheras can be and are grown in Kentucky. The Heuchera species H. villosa, H. parviflora, H. americanna and H. longiflora are native to Kentucky, but the quotes from Charles Oliver would indicate that success with xHeucherellas might be wishful dreaming. The heucherella comments include: "Winter wet can be a problem."; "Charles Oliver reports that heucherellas don't do well in full sun in southwestern Pennsylvania during the summer (Dan bets this would hold true everywhere except in western Europe and the maritime climes from Orgeon to Alaska)"; "Oliver says heucherellas in the Northeast have a problem with summer dieback, even in shade; the central crown goes out, and what's left is little pieces around the edge;---". Comments on culture: "Ever since heucheras evolved in the Cordilleran Rockies, they have wanted drainage"; and most telling "We must therefore compose our soil mix so that it suits what most heucheras demand: perfect drainage, acidic pH, and moderate mositure retention" and there you have the reasons for my repeated poor results. Thank you Dan and Grahame, I have such soils but the Heucheras are not planted there but will be moved. (Timber Press, 2005).
Allan M. Armitage’s long awaited third edition of Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes is on the store shelves. The wait since the 1997 2nd Edition was worth it as this is a "MUST HAVE" BOOK for any plantsman, nursery/landscape industry member, or gardener. Allan says of it; “I love this book; I love seeing it in peoples’ hands, on bookshelves, in retail garden center, on coffee tables, and worn out and tattered in the garden”. I love it, too; it is bigger in every way. A larger format but not so much as to limit it’s handiness. It contains more entries, more pages, more pictures, and a few deletions. The deletion I noticed was the elimination of images for plants with names starting with K; most notable is Kniphofia. Allan’s “Some Thoughts of the Author” are worthy and fun. Some examples: First up is “I asked myself why was I doing this. -----. The reasons are many, but the only one that counts is ‘Because I want to’”; and – “---, books will never go away, and a good book becomes a friend.”; or “If the internet changed anything, it is not what we read but how we buy.”; “Regardless of where one gardens, two things become self-evident. The first is that soil preparation is half the battle. The second has to do with the plants one selects”; and he goes on “– half the fun of gardening is to try plants that are not supposed to grow here”; and on garden design, a design technique we share, “I can usually be found with a trowel in one hand and a potted plant in the other, searching for any empty ground in which to put the sucker.” And so it goes, Allan is a great plantsman and a great man that most know as a friend, even people who have never met him. (Stipes Publishing, 2008)
(Stipes Publishing, 2008)
C. J. Van Gelderen and D. M. Van Gelderen. Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas. The other books in my library that D. M. Van Gelderen is a co-author include Maples of the World and Conifers, Timber Press, Inc.. These books are very serious thorough publications on a plant species and group respectively. I expected no less from Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas and the book met expectations. The Van Gelderens are the current owner/operators with other family members of a 150 year old nursery, Firma C. Esveld, Boskoop, Netherlands. The book contains descriptions of Hydrangea species and cultivars, fortunately the descriptions include the origin of the particular plant, because there is no hardiness rating comparable to the USNA Hardiness Zone map included for the plants. The lack of a hardiness map does not reduce the usefulness of the book for images and plant listings and descriptions but for the average home gardener in America Michael Dirr’s Hydrangeas for American Gardens would be more useful. Most of the images are very good; some are of blooms that appear past peak but give an indication of the color and form of the flower. There is a brief 13 page introduction to Hydrangea before getting to the section on Hydrangea descriptions pages 27-244 followed by 2 Appendices and Indexes by common name and scientific name. All in all an impressive book that would be a compliment to Dirr’s book for the Hydrangea lover. With 795 color Hydrangea images this is a very visual book. At 280 pages in an 8.5 x 11” hardcover format this is another of the books for home or office that requires support to read and considering the intended use as an encyclopedia it is not excessively large. (Timber Press, Inc. 2004)
Carol Klein with photographer Jonathan Buckley. Plant Personalities: Choosing and Growing Plant by Character. Timber Press says “Carol Klein, winner of six gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show for her naturalistic plant displays, is a much-loved writer, lecturer, and passionate plantswoman. She owns and runs Glebe Cottage Plants in England and is a regular contributor to leading garden magazines, including Gardens Illustrated and Horticulture.” The opening to her introduction is “I love herbaceous plants. (ok so far but read on) ----- ----- ---- I love the way plants can be entertaining. Some of them are funny. They can be wistful, cheeky, shy, and retiring or flamboyant and voluptuous.” Ok, now we know she’s wacked, but this is just the introduction as one reads through the book her premise is something we all know but don’t think of in terms of plants having personalities. Personalities, a turn of the word maybe, but all in all, a delightful book greatly enhanced, even dependent on Jonathan Buckley’s images. The personalities are by chapter which include: 1. Cinderella Plants; 2. Bread-and-butter plants; 3. Shooting Stars; 4. Will-o’-the-wisps and wafty whisperers: 5. Prickly customers and soft touches; 6. Seductive sophisticates; 7. Dainty and detailed; 8. Gatecrashers; 9. Drama Queens. These chapters are followed by a section A to Z of plants which includes alphabetically organized brief descriptions of the plants that appeared in the text. In support of Carol's assignment of personalitites to plants other authors have written on the topic including Personality of plants by Royal Dixon in 1923and a section in Jan Cervelli's Landscape Design with Rooms: Creating Outdoor Rooms says "Plants appeal not only to our intellects but also to our physical senses and emotions. ---- The overall form and size of a plant also gives birth to its personality and creates a certain intangible atmosphere around it. How this personality affects our moods and emotions constitutes what is perhaps the less obvious aesthetic trait of plants. Often a plant can be described as if it were a person---humorous, gay, witty, sad, pensive, nervous, sophisticated, or shy."; confirmation of the books premise. Carol Klein is a: plantswoman, nursery owner/operator, award winning garden designer, author, TV presenter, and the Garden Writers’ Guild 2006 Practical Journalist of the Year. Jonathan Buckley is a photographer and has won numerous awards for his images and was Garden Writers’ Guild (now Garden Media Guild) 2006 Photographer of the Year. (Timber Press, 2005)
Michael Dirr – Hydrangeas for American Gardens. I had been unable to find a review I wrote of this book and had almost convinced myself I had never written one until I started to prepare a new review and found all my pencil underlines through out the book the first which is in Mike’s Acknowledgement tribute to Penny McHenry founder of the American Hydrangea Society. Mike writes, “I hope this small addition to the Hydrangea literature educates, excites, and inspires.” The images (Mike Dirr’s one and all) are wonderful sometimes exquisite and Bonnie Dirr’s art work: line drawings and color drawings are a pleasant bonus. In the where credit is due category Dr. Jon Lindstrom of Arkansas is recognized for sorting out the dilemma of multiple known cultivars claiming to be Endless Summer™. Dr. Lindstrom also helped define that seedlings of crosses with Endless Summer™ were hybrids of the two parents. The interesting work identifying hybrids from breeding programs and using other techniques to ensure polyploidy has occurred so plants can be crossed is going on across country including at the lab of Dr. Tom Ranney at North Carolina States Mountain Horticulture Research and Extension Center at Fletcher, NC. A part of all books is learning surprises about people you know. As a member of the SNA Researcher’s Conference I get to follow students progression frequently from undergraduate through Ph.D. One such student Dr. Richard Olsen, now breeder for the National arboretum, is credited in Hydrangeas with selecting Hydrangea arborescens ‘ Wesser Falls’. In that H. arborescens is a native to Kentucky and the species from which H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ was discovered I might have to have a H. a.‘Wesser Falls’. Speaking of H. arborescens I recently got a H. a. ‘Hayes Starburst’ from Ben Cecil, Sunny Ray Nursery, Elizabethtown, KY and after seeing the picture on page 46 I cannot wait for it to bloom. I got sidetracked, back to the book, it is worthy and does “detail the cultural idiosyncrasies associated with this vast garden, The United States of America.” Included with Genus, species subspecies and cultivars is a chapter of Garden Care and Culture. Be sure to read through the plant descriptions, e.g., in Chapter Seven on H. marcophylla there is an extensive discussion on Cold Hardiness, Breeding History, Georgia Breeding Program and Identification Characteristics and a Hydrangea macrophylla Cultivar Chart. As always Michael Dirr’s books contain numerous quotable quotes and occasional sarcasm. In a statement about ‘Annabelle’ winning the 1995 Georgia Gold Medal Award he says “garden cognoscenti say the flowers are too large, gauche, obtrusive; one person’s favorite garden plant is another’s bane; life is great.”; so it is! (Timber Press, 2004)
Ran Levy-Yamamori and Gerard Taaffe - Garden Plants of Japan contains an irritating issue for me; you are forced to figure out that if a * occurred after a scientific name it meant the plant was not native to Japan. I read the pages before the first plant entry numerous times trying to find their entry about what the star meant and finally gave up. That all garden plants are included, natives and plants not native to Japan and that it includes Trees and Shrubs, Climbing Plants, Herbaceous plants, Bamboo and Sasa, Grasses, Ferns, and Mosses make the book significant. This is a great coffee table top book with an attractive cover. The book is too large to commute with at 4.1 pounds (1848 g.) containing 440 pages in an 8.5 x 11 inch hardcover book with 783 color photos and 2 maps. None the less, it is a great resource; a compilation of plant descriptions and images that are grown in Japanese gardens. For many plants there are multiple images. I have opened and paged through this book many times for the pure fun of it after my original read and always find something new that calls for me to read more about all these wonderful plants and the species, e.g., Lonicera japonica, Paulownia tomentosa, Albizia julibrissin, “naturalized” in Kentucky that were introduced from Japan and Asia and are now considered invasive. While a very minor detail, I have traveled in Asia and would have liked to have had the Japanese characters for the plant name in addition to the included scientific and japanese and english common names. I keep this book close at hand and find it a valued resource. (Timber Press, 2004)
L. Katherine Kirkman, Claud L. Brown, and Donald L. Leopold. Native Trees of the Southeast: An Identification Guide. I almost forgot to write a review of this book because I had already moved it to my go-everywhere bag that has Wharton and Barbour’s Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky and Wildflowers of Kentucky and Randy Seymour’s Wildflowers of Mammoth Cave National Park, my pruners, folding saw and A.M. Leonard soil knife. I had put it there because I had found this wonderful resource very useful from the day I received it. I particularly like the genus keys used to identify species; a never ending problem for me when out in natural areas where plants do not have labels. The Winter Summer keys for genus are very helpful. Each species of the 229 trees listed is described by it's size, Leaves, Twigs, Bark, Fruit, Distinguishing Characteristics, Habitat and Range, and Uses. There are range maps and some images of selected plant characteristics for some of the plants. The images that there are, including the striking front cover photo of a white oak leaf in fall color, are excellent and useful; I just wish there were several for each plant. All in all, Timber Press has made a user friendly book that has a 6 x 9 inches Flexibinding which contains 372 pages and is illustrated with 493 color photos, 98 black & white photos, 16 line drawings, and 226 range maps.one of those resources that requires you have multiple copies; at least one for home or office and one for traveling. (Timber Press, 2007).
Christopher Bailes – Hollies for Gardeners. I must admit to not being a fan of European authors writing plant genus books for the American market but I have enjoyed perusing this book's pages. I was disappointed to find Theodore Klein Plant Award Winner Ilex opaca ‘Judy Evans’ is not listed, but I was pleasantly surprised, even stunned, to find I. opaca ‘Chief Paduke’ well and, of what is there, accurately described as: “ (female). A chance discovery in a cemetery in Paducah, Kentucky, introduced in 1963. The dark olive-green leaves bear few spines (one to three per side), and are relatively broad at around 8.5cm long by 4 cm wide. The red-orange berries are prolifically borne. Hardy to zone 6.” The description does lack Buddy Hubbuch’s comment to me that “a way of identifying ‘Chief Paduke’ in the Bernheim collection is that it is the only oblong red-fruited cultivar”. A comment I also heard from Bon Hartline related to it being a unique characteristic. As an aside the other oblong fruited holly in the collection is the yellow-fruited, also male-named ‘Cecil’. It would have been even sweeter if Bon Hartline, one of the great mid-state plantsmen that included the late great plantsmen Theodore Klein and Bob Simpson, the person responsible for it’s introduction had been mentioned but this is a small book targeted at home gardeners and is not Fred Galle’s Hollies. To be fair Ilex decidua ‘Council Fire’ one of Bon’s best selections is mentioned and American Harold Hume in his book Hollies did not mention ‘Judy Evans’ either in spite of it having been introduced over 10 years before he, a holly expert, published his book. Cave Hill numbered series are not in there either. I am still paging through the cultivar descriptions and I am happy to add this book to my library. (Timber Press, 2006)
C. Colston Burrell & Judith Knott Tyler – Hellebores: A comprehensive Guide. Hellebores are fantastic; I happen to love the stinking hellebore, Helleborus foetidus. I was not aware there were so many cultivars. While leaning towards a variegated cultivar purchase I suspect if available I will have to have a ‘Gertrude Stein’. But I weaken with each page, maybe I should get a H. niger, Christmas Rose, like the one in the image on page 88. I will check with Barry Glick to see what he has, probably not a good financial idea he, like Judith Knott Tyler's Pine Knot Farm, has too many choices I would probably have to have one of each. I do not know a lot about Hellebores but thanks to this book I am learning and I am now afraid this book could lead to an obsession. I particularly enjoyed Chapter 5; The Hybrid Lenten Rose, Helleborus xhybridus which includes descriptions of the contributions of selected breeders. The authors and photgrapher traveled the world in pursuit of Hellebores and their travels and information add greatly to this book. (Timber Press, 2006)
William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. This is a book to make one think about the future of the world. The chapter titles give a good indication of the theme of Cradle to Cradle: Introduction, This Book is Not a Tree; Chapter 1,A Question of Design; Chapter 2, Why Being “Less Bad” Is No Good; Chapter 3, Eco-Effectiveness; Chapter 4, Waster Equals Food; Chapter 5, Respect Diversity; Chapter 6, Putting Eco-Effectiveness into Practice. An interesting statement “Substances created by nature can be extremely toxic; they were not specifically designed by evolution for our use.” That statement could lead to lots of debate. I hear complaints from Kentucky county residents that recycling costs are excessive. It would seem reading Cradle to Cradle, a conversation about designing things to maximize utilization without disposal, should be required reading. In the authors words “To eliminate the concept of waste means to design things—products, packaging, and systems—from the very beginning on the understanding that waste does not exist.” An interesting quote related to philosophy and the way we think and talk is "If a man characterized his relationship with his wife as sustainable, you might well pity them both." The book itself is specially designed; a waterproof Durabook (Durabooks™ http://www.durabooks.com “DuraBooks are ‘“green”’ and good for the environment. Made in such a way to be upcyclable, the synthetic “paper” can be melted down and reused in perpetuity, thus sparing trees and reducing toxins in the earth’s ecosystem”). The book pages supposedly designed for ease of reading have a lot of unnecessary white space. Historical arguments from the 1700s to today in support of their premise are informative, interesting reading. The notes section is a literature cited organized in the order of appearance in the book by the beginning of the quote found in the text rather than by author followed by documented resources. A compelling argument that requires we, as the Eagles sing on their 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden; DO SOMETHING. I thank Matt Gardiner, Boone Gardiner Garden Center and Landscaping for recommending this book. (North Point Press, New York, 2002).
Ronald L. Jones – Plant Life of Kentucky: An Illustrated Guide ti the Vascular Plants. Recent discussions on invasive plants had me scrambling for additional resources for my office that would be handy and useful. Plant Life of Kentucky fits the bill. Whenever I get a plant book related to Kentucky the first thing I do is look up my favorite plants. The first I looked up was Aesculus pavia and I was surprised to find in the species account that it was threatened. I went to Ronald Jones work website at Eastern Kentucky University and found Kentucky's Flora and Fauna - Links <http://www.biology.eku.edu/KOS/kyflorafauna.html> and there found the link to the Kentucky Rare Plant Database <http://eppcapps.ky.gov/nprareplants/> and sure enough Aesculus pavia is listed as endangered. I started looking more closely at the book and found some very interesting information, such as the comment under Caprilofoliaceae: the Honeysuckle Family: [Diervilla MILL.] "This genus is currently unknown from KY, but two species Diervilla lonicera Mill. and D. sessilifolia Buckley — are to be expected, the former in rocky woods of s. IP (Interior Lower Plateaus) and the latter in the CM (Cumberland Mountains). I don't know what that means but it does create a question that I now must answer. I e-mailed Ron Jones and he replied that the environment is right for those plants and therefore considering their close proximity in Tennessee some plants should exist in Kentucky that have yet to be reported. There is an enormous amount of information to be found in this 834 page resource: line drawings of plant stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit and keys to help with identification, and species descriptions on all plants found in Kentucky: natives and naturalized. (The University Press of Kentucky, 2005)
Allan M. Armitage - Armitage’s Native Plants for American Gardens. This book is great. Thank you Allan. Allan’s books always have an interesting introduction worth not passing over before skimming the book for that special plant. I was surprised to find the “propagation is slow and difficult” comment tied to Spigelia marilandica, Indian Pink . It is an accurate assessment of seed propagation, the typical propagation for perennials and natives, but with Dr. Sherry Kitto’s (University of Delaware) work on cutting and tissue culture propagation being applied commercially Spigelia is now readily available (4 trays - 288 plants from AgriStarts III have grown very well and Spigelia has moved from specialty nurseries like Margie Jenkins, LA to Carolina Nurseries, SC that has it available in 8 inch pots in significant numbers). I harp on Spigelia because it is such a great Kentucky Native that makes a rounded plant about 24" tall with numerous uniquely beautiful yellow-throated red flowers in late Spring-mid summer. For more on Spigelia propagation see http://www.ca.uky.edu/HLA/Dunwell/Spigeliaprop.html All in all, the Spigelia thing is petty, the book covers some of the “best of the best” natives currently available for landscape use. The 451 page hardbound book is mostly the A-to-Z Genera section devoted to native plants which includes descriptions, images and even cultivars; yes, cultivars and I enjoyed and agree with Allan's statements in the Preface On the inclusion of cultivars he wrote "For me, cultivars are the gardener's candy store. If you like purple coneflower, a dozen choices of that great native plant now await you. Should culitvars be called native? I don't know---should rap be called music? It is simply a matter of opinion. I believe garden-improved cultivars, both selections and hybrids, will only help mainstream gardeners further embrace the world of native plants." A “worthy” book in my assessment; another great resource for the library from THE perennial plantsman. (Timber Press, 2006)
Paul Cappiello and Don Shadow - Dogwoods. There is little debate that one of the most beautiful flowering trees in the world is Dogwood. This book contains a large number of images of Cornus species and cultivars. The descriptions and information on cultivars is incredible but one of my favorites is that “Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Princess’ was selected by W. C. Higden of Mayfield, KY and introduced in 1959 by Ike Hawkersmith as ‘Sno-white’. In 1963 it was registered as ‘Cherokee Princess’ ”. Cool! A Kentucky connection. The book is divided into six chapters: 1.) The Family Cornaceae; 2.) The Cornus canadensis Group; 3.) The Cornus alba Group; 4.) The Cornus alternifolia Group; 5.) The Cornus florida Group and 6.) The Cornus mas Group. I was born and raised on eastern Long Island so I enjoyed reading about Jim Cross and Bair Lustgarten, but the book is full of fun trivia; such as Mike Dirr preferring Snicker’s Bars to the fruit of Cornus kousa var. chinensis this discussion lead to numerous taste tests on the Cave Hill Cemetery tour of the 2005 Southern Plant Conference in Louisville. My favorite quote from Mike Dirr on edible fruit of ornamental species is on Cornus mas “although edible, one must be hungry”. I started out reading this book in a precursory fashion to write a review, ie. not reading all; then I found myself reading large sections, addicted to the mention of the greats Ernest Wilson, Mike Dirr, Jim Cross, J. C. Raulston, Polly Hill, Gary Handy, Barry Yinger, Kentucky’s Higden, Gary Lanham, the now-Illinois JohnWachter, as well as, Theodore Klein. The book is a hardcover of 224 pages with 261 color photos, 3 black and white illustrations and the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. It fits more to the hand for reading than most of this day and age at 7.38 x 10.38 inches. (Timber Press, 2005).
Raymond A. Cloyd, Philip L. Nixon, and Nancy R. Pataky - IPM for Gardeners - A Guide to Integrated Pest Management.
This summer I (Sarah Baker) am an intern for Dava Hayden and Dr. Win Dunwell at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center. As part of my internship I was asked to review a book for Dr. Dunwell to be published on this site. The book I was given to review was "IPM for Gardeners - A Guide to Integrated Pest Management."
As an intern I had the opportunity to attend workshops. The first workshop I attended focused on IPM in the nursery. I had heard the word IPM previously at work but I had no idea what it was or meant. However, at the workshop I learned that IPM stood for Integrated Pest Management. After reading this book I now have a better grasp on Integrated Pest Management. This is an ideal book for the beginner gardener or even a gardener that has been gardening for many years.
For anyone that might not know what IPM is, the authors begin the book with a description and two key facts that you must know before implementing IPM in your garden or landscape.
One of the key points that the authors state that is essential to know about IPM is you must know the needs of the host plant. The first part of the book discusses and goes in depth of the needs of plants.
The second part of the book discusses and goes in depth on diseases; how to treat and recognize them. One of my favorite parts of this book is the vibrant pictures of various diseases and pests. It is easy to read about such pests and diseases and form a mental picture of what you might think they look like, but until you see an actual picture, it really starts to click. This book has one hundred and thirty pictures of diseases and pests; including Japanese beetles, ladybird beetles, wood rot fungi, potato leafhopper and many, many more.
The authors also discuss recognizing and assessing pest problems. When practicing IPM in your garden or landscape it is important to know what pest caused damage to a plant. One chapter in the book is devoted to just this. Some of the things discussed in this chapter are insect and mite feeding types, insect leftovers, and different types of traps that might be beneficial to your garden.
Also discussed in the book is physical pest management; which the author's state is the surest method of pest control. Some of the methods discussed in the chapter are handpicking, pulling weeds, hoeing, cultivating, and mowing. They also discuss removing diseases, which is more difficult to manage physically.
Towards the end of the book, the authors go in depth on specific diseases that a gardener might see in their garden at home. Some diseases discussed are rose rosette, ash yellows, bacterial leaf scorch, and many more.
This is an excellent book for gardeners to learn about IPM and how to practice it. The authors do an excellent job of defining IPM, how to implement it and practice it in gardens and landscapes. Even if you already know everything there is to know about IPM, you will learn something new after reading this book. (Timber Press, 2004)
Mark Flanagan and Tony Kirkham - Plants from the Edge of the World. The introduction is by the plant hunter Roy Lancaster; to me that said this may be a worth-while book and so rather than a perusal to write a review I read the book from beginning to end. It is an easy read; really not that long a read and certainly an enjoyable read. I have traveled the world with two plantsmen, Drs. Bob McNiel and Bob Geneve, I could depend on for at least a genus identification. Putting together a trip to a foreign country where collection occurs in very remote places, where english is not the spoken language, and identification would be difficult without collaboration seems particularly daunting. So I was anxious to read their story and find out just how they did it. Being a plant geek, while somewhat advantageous, is not a prerequisite to reading and enjoying this book. Recently while checking out the web site of Quarry Hill Botanical Garden I came across their image of Acer henryi, a favorite maple, and Flanagan and Kirkham are listed as the collectors of the seed that lead to the plants at Quarry Hill; it is cool to be able to find something you read about a European garden like Kew leads to a US garden (and just as frequently something you read about a US garden leads to a European or Asian garden). Mike Dirr shared with those touring Cave Hill Cemetery during the Southern Plant Conference that he was reading the book; he had met Mark Flanagan and found him and the book very interesting. Mike especially liked their obvious reverence for the old collectors, especially the greatest of them all, Ernest Henry "Chinese" Wilson. (Timber Press, Inc., 2005)
P. Allen Smith - P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home. An interesting read. From touching on the roots of his interest in garden design and those mentors he feels particularly close to he moves into the development of his own garden in Little Rock Arkansas’ historic district. The twelve principles of design occupy the center of the book and include some topics not seen in other design books, they are Enclosure; Shape and Form; Framing the view; Entry; Focal Point; Structures; Color; Texture, Pattern, and Rhythm; Abundance; Whimsy; Mystery; Time. This section includes some how-to projects and has essential ideas boxes that contain lists of ideas. The Creating Your Garden Home section is simple and usable. (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, 2003).
Ian Adams – The Art of Garden Photography is a book I wish I was capable of writing. Ian Adams covers photography as an art and gives pointers on the technology of photographic and digital in a way that resulted in my reading the 8.5 inch by 11 inch 210 page paperback. Fortunately for those of us truly in love with photography we can be guaranteed there will be new editions of this book because he covers digital photographic technology that has already become slightly dated. I must admit I have typed up and posted on my computer his protocol for preparing images with Photoshop for the web and e-mail use that is on pages 44 & 45. He like many photographers is a fully-focused-sharp-corner- to-corner advocate and yet his photographic art using his knowledge to manipulate photographic and digital images is amazing to an amateur like me; and he tells you how to do it. With so many people using inexpensive, yet sophisticated digital cameras there should be an appreciative audience for this book that shares exciting possibilities with one and all. (Timber Press, 2005)
W. George Schmid -Timber Press Pocket Guide to Shade Perennials. I love the Timber press pocket guides; especially, when comparing them to the book from which they originated. To read W. George Schmid’s 4 pound 1 ounce An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials requires some form of support, like a desk. The pocket guide of 256 pages at 5.75" x 8.75" x 0.6" thick and a mere 1 pound 2 ounces is perfect for use as a guide that can travel with you. This edition has my very favorite native plant, Spigelia marilandica, on the cover making this book especially “worthy”. Spigelia grows equally well in full sun in Kentucky. The picture of Jeffersonia diphylla fruit could have used a little cropping to give a better view of the fruit which for those that have seen it is very attractive. One must keep in mind this is a guide, not the original encyclopedia. There are significant differences; the most obvious is a reduction in the number of plants found in the guide, the brevity of the descriptions, and more importantly, the loss of W. George Schmid’s personal opinion about the plants, though, some of his words of advice do reside in the introduction. All in all I like having a copy of both the guide and the encyclopedia and enjoyed reading about my favorite shade, frequently native to Kentucky, plants in both. (Timber Press, 2005)
Carol C. Baskin and Jerry M. Baskin - Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination. A book for scientist, student, and propagator. The Baskins are Professors in the University of Kentucky Biology Department.They collaborate with other researchers in the University of Kentucky interdisciplinary Seed Biology program http://www.uky.edu/Projects/SeedBiology/ The information on seeds in this book is incredible and will be very helpful to the plant propagator studying a plant for which there is no known germination/propagation protocol or if there is a protocol it takes too long or is too difficult. Using the scientific principles in the book one could come up with the very best means of seed propagation for a desired plant. I say that because there have been times when I have heard of lengthy multiple stratification protocols for seed germination of a particular plant that can be avoided by direct seeding freshly harvested seed. For the life-long learner this book is a true collection of seed germination information, well, actually it is what the subtitle clarifies as it’s content. The number of references for each chapter is truly astounding; hard to believe anyone could have read all of them much less used them as support for statements in the chapter. This is one of those “must haves” for the seed propagator and would be very informative for any one interested in learning more about seeds. A definite horticulture-propagation-library addition if one already has Plant Propagation: Principle and Practices; and essential for those dedicated to seed propagation. I wish I could say I read the whole book but alas this is one of those that can be picked up and opened to any page for a learning experience. (The book reviewed is the Academic Press 2001 Paperback Edition: 665 pages ; Dimensions; 1.20" x 10.90" x 8.50").
Rick Darke - Timber Press Guide to Ornamental Grasses. The new "Guides" being produced by Timber Press are great. The size of the guides, 5.75 x 8.25 inches, 228 pages (in this case), and soft cover (Flexibind) makes them particularly useful for taking to the field or on a "great adventure" to look at plant collections and gardens. Rick Darke's Guide to Ornamental Grasses is very handy when compared to his The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses; an 8.5 x 11 inch 326 page hardcovered book. Rick is a recognized authority on grasses; he attracts large audiences where ever he goes and has been in Kentucky several times including one of his very first presentations at a Botanica event in Louisville and a presentation at Garden Gurus in Paducah. He will be speaking on grasses and woodland landscape design at the 2005 Kentucky Landscape Industries Winter Conference in Louisville. Included at the very beginning of the book is a chapter on ornamental grasses for specific purposes and locations followed by Ornamental Grasses A-Z; an alphabetical listing of genus, species and cultivars. The book ends with a useful list of nursery sources for grasses and an informative glossary. (Timber Press, 2004)
L. Clarence Towe - American Azaleas is about the very topic in the title. It is easy to mistakenly just read Azaleas in the title without realizing this is a awesome resource on this countries great native species of Azaleas. I have many favorites in this group of plants: I actually refer to my Rhododendron austrinum, Florida Azalea, as " my precious" in keeping with Gollum's (aka Smeagol) obsession with the ring. American azaleas include plants that are delightfully fragrant, as compared to plants that may be described as having an odor. Similar to Kalmia authority Dr. Richard "Dick" Jaynes' books, Kalmia: Mountain Laurel and Related Species, this book covers an exciting group of plants frequently overlooked as landscape plants but always found in the great gardens and outdoor art displays of the world. Included is information on using American Azaleas in the landscape; propagating azaleas; a several chapter discussion on Improving Azaleas which includes information rarely found printed and mostly secured by word-of-mouth conversations with those doing the breeding. Also, found in the book Appendices are: Azalea organizations; Azalea Sources; Rhododendron Registration Forms (with instructions); Hardiness Zones: and Metric Equivalents. The Bibliography is relative to the subject of the book and would not be considered extensive for the genus Rhododendron. A fine little tome at 188 pages with color and black and white illustrations in a handy 6"x9" format. That the late great Fred Galle is mentioned in the first line of the book identifies the author and the book to be "worthy". (Timber Press, 2004)
Thomas G. Barnes and S. Wilson Francis. - Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky is significantly different from most wildflower books people use as guides in Kentucky because their definition of what is included in the book is specifically defined: "For the purposes of this book, we define wildflowers as native, herbaceous (nonwoody plants whose stalk dies back each winter) flowering plants, excluding the grasses and sedges. Further, a native species is defined as a plant species growing in Kentucky prior to European settlement and adapted to certain habitats in response to specific climatic, geologic, and topographic variables". While some have complained the layout of Wharton and Barbour's1971 A Guide to Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky is not user friendly I found it informative and useful over the years; with my original copy purchased when I arrived in Kentucky in 1979 now a dog-eared old friend, but this book will replace it in my travel book bag that is my constant companion (13Sep05: I still carry Wharton and Barbour because Barnes and Francis book does not include the many non-native but naturalized plants found in Kentucky). The Barnes and Francis book is an improvement over the Wharton and Barbour book because of the layout by season and bloom color format as previously used by Randy Seymour in his 1997 book Wildflowers of Mammoth Cave National Park that makes the book very user friendly to those trying to identify an unknown wildflower. The updating of scientific names is especially useful. The stunning photography is what we have come to expect from UK’s Forestry Professor Dr. “Tom” Barnes. Personally, I would have preferred a soft cover like Seymour's for taking to the field. (The University Press of Kentucky, 2004)
Piet Oudolf and Henk Gerritsen. Planting the Natural Garden. This is a brief 144 page that book contains 170 color photos. The jacket cover says "Planting the Natural Garden provides the definitive argument for the 'natural garden' showing how to create a garden that can look wild but be tame at heart." It is separated into Plant Descriptions and Uses. The Plant Descriptions occupy 84 pages with Uses being 54 pages, the rest of the book is introduction, credits and resources. This is a perennials and grasses book. So who is Piet Oudolf, besides a garden writer, at The New York Battery Conservancy Gardens web site one reads "Gardens of Remembrance pay tribute: to those who perished on September 11th, 2001 and to the survivors of that day all who will visit in the years to come seeking renewed optimism and hope. Renowned Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf, designed these gardens, planted on May 8th, 2003, with native grasses and flowering perennials. They embrace the waterfront, are in rhythm with the sea breeze, and delight the eye, while greeting millions of visitors to the Battery each year. Obviously, he, also one of a team of designers that prepared the plan for the Millennium Garden in Chicago, is an internationally-recognized award-winning garden designer. The co-author Henk Gerritsen has several books to his name and is also a garden designer who uses most of his talents at Priona Gardens in the Netherlands. The plant descriptions are paragraph length with a few cultivar comments. There are symbols used to denote: exposure as sun, semi-shade and shade; height in centimeters; and flowering time. The Plant Uses section contains the following chapters: Blazing, Lush, Airy, Tranquillity, Exuberant, Silvery, Grassy, Gloomy?, Autumn, Wonderful, Good Neighbors, Planting Pants, Exceptional Properties of Plants, Plants per Square Meter, Literature list, Photographic Acknowledgments, Nurseries and Gardens and an Index. The chapters are composed of a brief page or two of introduction to the topic and then followed by lists of plants that fit the chapter, ie Tranquillity has about a page of text then one third of a page of lists of Tranquil Combinations. There are four border drawings in the Good Neighbors chapter that illustrate a: blazing border, lush border, autumn border and ornamental grasses border. The book is interesting reading, but quite general; it's value is in reminding us that a garden should exhibit many moods. (Timber Press, 2003)
Antoine Le Hardy De Beaulieu - An Illustrated Guide to Maples. Three reknowned photographers provided the illustrations that make An Illustrated Guide to Maples not just "eye candy", but a "guide" that includes excellent visual images of a given maple species features: flower, leaf, habit and fruit. Michel Timacheff is a photographer/photographic artist with plants and their interesting habits as his subject, Phillippe de Spoelberch is a well- known plantsman/photographer and 2003 Vice-President of the International Dendrology Society, and J.R.P. van Hoey Smith is the co-owner of famous Trompenberg Arboretum and has provided images for the book Conifers he prepared with D. M. van Geldren and Maples of the World by D. M. van Geldren, P.C. de Jong and H. J. Oterdoom just to mention those in my library. Wow, the greats gather their best images to prepare a "worthy" book on maples. The book is 464 pages with approximately 1200 color photos in coffee table size at 8 x 11 1/2". (Timber Press ,2001, 2003)
W. George Schmid Foreword by Allan M. Armitage - An Encyclopedia of Shade
Perennials (2003 American Horticulture Society Book Award)
I have included the author and foreword author as it appears on the cover of the book because one of the greatest analogies I ever read appears in Allan Armitage's foreword. He says "Shade is to gardening as Oreos are to cookies; having too many can give you a stomachache but having none is cruel and unusual punishment.". The author refers to his book as a "tome" and so it is at 374 pages plus 120 pages of plant images in a little more than 8.5 X 11 inches and weighing in at 4 pounds 1.4 ounces. But the size and weight have little to do with the contents. This is a awesome resource; I have already found plants I have had difficulty identifying or finding information about in this book. The book opens with Allan's foreword and W. George Schmid's Chapter 1 a personal outlook which includes such tidbits as "Visiting other people's garden is another highlight of every season" amen to that! and "I have never seen two gardens exactly alike, --" or "it is the personal touch of individual gardeners that makes each garden unique." and on with "The reason for gardening's popularity is the almost unlimited freedom it gives to gardeners to express themselves." That is some of the personal outlook, but the book proves to be exactly what the title states it is, an encyclopedia of shade perennials. Chapter 2 describes shade in 5 categories: 1. Total and perpetual shade; 2. Full shade; 3. Medium shade; 4. Woodland shade; 5. Light shade. Chapter 3 is Practical Thoughts ie, organic matter, knowing the soil, fertilizer, pest, and so on. Chapter 4 is Plants Assigned and includes descriptions of plant characteristics. After the first 53 pages, Part 2 is the meat of the book and is dedicated to plant descriptions and images. While the target audience seems to be the home gardener this part of the book would be a resource for anyone; landscape architect, garden designer, retailer, or wholesale grower of plants. The plant descriptions are in text form ala Allan Armitage's books; Herbaceous Perennial Plants and Armitage's Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-hardy Perennials and not broken out by characteristic titles like Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants or Stephen Still's Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants. W. George Schmid is the author of a true "tome" The Genus Hosta and in this book the Hostas and their cultivars are given extra space and rightly so, in that they are one of the most popular shade perennials sold in the United States. Hellebores (Helleborus x hybridus [H. orientalis] is the Theodore Klein Plant Award Winner for 2004) are also well-described. For those interested in plants that are grown in shade this is a good resource. (Timber Press, 2002)
Allan M. Armitage and Judy M. Laushman- Specialty Cut Flowers: The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers; Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Over the years I have studied Allan's first edition of this book to the point that it is showing signs of wear. My interest is in woody plants as a source of cut and dried flowers and cut stems. Specialty Cut Flowers was the only compilation of the limited information available on woody cut flowers at the time it was published in 1993. The first edition was 372 pages; the second is 586. The division of plants into annuals, perennials, bulbous species and woody species for cut flowers used in the first edition no longer exists; all plants are in alphabetical order by genus with occasional exceptions for groups of plants. The new organization reduces one's frustration at trying to find a plant in the right category. Judy Laushman, executive director of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, is co-author of the second edition. She made a significant contribution to the revised and enlarged second edition. A special thanks to Allan for finding a co-author so this new greatly-expanded edition was possible and apparently "sticking to his guns" relative to the size of his books, they fit the hand and in spite of the weight of 586 pages can be read without additional support. (Timber Press, 2003)
Tony Avent - So You Want to Start a Nursery. Tony dedicates this book to two people: his wife, Michele and the late J. C. Raulston. I visited Plant Delights Nursery in May of 1997. Michele had a small crew packing plants for shipment out of the garage, they had tables outside to enjoy the cool of that overcast day and there was a bus of Master Gardeners there from Wilmington, NC and then I showed up. She was focused on the business at hand and, obviously, on that day was the most important employee there. As for J.C., he was a special person to everyone that knew him, he is missed and Tony's dedication "I hope your watching" is a hope all share. The day I was there Tony was taking the Master Gardeners on a tour of Juniper Level Botanic Gardens and taking time to point out some outrageous plants to me. Everyone was busy so I wandered the nursery at will. I was pleasantly surprised to find all plants labeled and publicity placards telling the story of the special plants in the production greenhouses. I had heard Tony speak several times and had been impressed with his love of plants, but this book points out why Plant Delights Nursery http://www.plantdelights.com is still around. So many very well-known specialty plant nurseries fade away to oblivion, even those mentioned by our favorite garden writers as the greatest nursery ever. So You Want to Start a Nursery addresses many important topics. Of the 24 Chapters, epilogue, appendices, conversion chart, and bibliography several chapters critical to my way of thinking are: The Essential Skills (this one can stop future entrepreneurs in their tracks), Running the Business, The Catalog, Follow the Money, Administrative Stuff, The Joy Of Government, Employees:The "E" Word, Service with a Smile, The End is Near: Closing, Selling, or Willing Away Your Nursery. The best part of this excellent resource for those considering or in the nursery business is it is downright cheap at $24.95 for 340 informative pages. You can buy an autographed copy from Tony's So You Want to Start a Nursery informational web site http://www.startanursery.com/index.php for the same price. (Timber Press, 2003)
Richard Hartlage - Bold Visions for the Garden: Basics, Magic & Inspiration. Richard Hartlage's cover bio says he is "a native of Kentucky ---" If my read on Richard is correct he is a "plant geek" with an artist's flair. He was the undergraduate student that breed xSinocalycalycanthus raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine' while a student of the late-great J.C. Raulston at North Carolina State University. Actually he currently is the Associate Principal of the Landscape Architecture Department of AHBL . His photography in this book is photographic art at it's best if you are interested in garden design. The subjects of his photography are the key, truly stunning environments and anyone who would write out the following about Theodore Klein gets my vote. "I remember visiting a locally prominent nurseryman in my hometown, Crestwood, KY, on a visit home from college. Theodore Kline (sic) was in his middle eighties then. It was autumn, and I found him at the potting bench sowing fastigiate English oak acorns in large community flats. I was struck by the faith of this act. What was this man thinking, planting acorns at his age? Yet he was doing the same thing he had done every fall most of his working life, knowing that one day these trees would be tall and majestic no matter who was there to see them. The point is, someone would see them. You accept that you may never live to see an oak reach maturity or a giant redwood reach middle age and exert its presence over your garden, but you plant them knowing someone long after you will be there to witness your act of faith." There is not a great deal of text but what there is is worthy and altogether the book is Truly eye candy that I get out once in a while to just brighten my day. (Fulcrum Publishing, 2001).Rick Darke - The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest. (2003 American Horticulture Society Book Award and the 2003 Garden Globe Award; Award of Achievement for Photography from his fellows at the Garden Writers Association of America) WOW! I wrote in my January 2002 HortMemo "Rick Darke's presentation (at Garden Gurus in Paducah), Winter Garden, had one wishing his book The American Woodland Garden from Timber Press was already in our hands--". Well, since August 2002 it has been available to be in our hands and a "worthy" read it is. The text of this book is in a very readable size with a large line space so there are not really that many words on each page and reading the complete book is not only possible, but desireable. Almost 50% of the great information in the book is in the smaller-tighter text associated with the awesome images (every image is a work of art). The plant description section is enjoyable. Rick's plant descriptions are written in a way that indicates he has obviously grown the plants discussed. While I hated to have Rick confirm my experience that Silene virginica, Fire Pink, was "fleeting" in the garden, I was elated to have him agree with my opinion, Spigelia marilandica, Indian Pink, is an environmentally-tolerant long-lived native perennial. This book discusses the designs of two of my favorite gardens, most notably Mt. Cuba and William Frederick Jr.'s (& home). I have yet to have the opportunity to actually visit Rick Darke's garden, maybe someday, he incorporates ideas I find whimsical and yet "worthy"; pleasant to the eye. Many of his design features make me wish I had thought of the idea and then wonder, if I had would I have physically included it in the design. His chapter 2 discussion of Learning from a Woodland Stream is a presentation he has frequently given and one that I heard several years ago in Louisville at a Botanica event. I was stunned by that presentation. The magical place he photographed over time on his way to and from work occurs in everyone's neighborhood. I have several such places to enjoy on my drive to and from work as the seasons change. A walk through such an area frequently is a native plant learning bonanza.The American Woodland Garden without the pictures would be a garden design classic; without the text, the work of a talented photographic artist, we're blessed to have both in the same package. As C. Colston Burrell, Native Landscape Design and Restoration, Ltd., Free Union, Va, said of Rick Darke following a presentaton at Garden Gurus in Paducah, KY, "Rick spoke eloquently and beautifully", and so is this book done. From his web site at http://www.rickdarke.com/books.htm we learn this book is 378 pages, 10 x 11", hardcover, 738 color photos, 4 color charts, 2 line drawings. Like many of the garden design genre it is a "support-required read". (Timber Press, 2002)
Tracy Disabato-Aust - The Well-Designed Mixed Garden. Tracy, owner of Horticultural Classics & Consultations, Sunbury, OH, is a talented garden designer who says she was influenced by the design philosophies of the great garden designers William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll. If history tells the truth Tracy is much more pleasant than William Robinson ever was and certainly better looking than Gertrude Jekyll. Tracy is an excellent speaker on her passions and if one has the opportunity to hear her speak it makes her books even more valuable. One of her favorite writers, Gertrude Jekyll, wrote in Colour in the Flower Garden "To plant and maintain a flower-border, with a good scheme for color, is by no means the easy thing that is commonly supposed". Tracy presents a readable (I was never able to finish Ms. Jekyll's book or the great Russell Page's Education of a Gardener), well-illustrated book. It contains, as should all the great design and plant books (see William Frederick's The Exuberant Garden and the Controlling Hand and Mike Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates above), a list of plant categories in the back that will assist amateur and professional alike in selecting the "right plant for the right place" in the design and within the limits of the environment. The list contains over 700 plants, quite a palette for the artist garden designer. This book covers site evaluation, objectives, plants (and their characteristics), proportion (Golden Mean and 1/3 rule), Fibonacci number series, and color(s). Descriptions of the use of color in landscape design is presented as her design philosophy in the context of being an artist and using the characteristics of color, including: hue, analogous colors, complementary and contracting colors, color values, intensity, environments impact on the appearance of color, simultaneous contrast, successive contras and color schemes. Once color is thoroughly covered she moves on to design principles: order, unity and rhythm. The book concludes with a discussion and checklist to test if the design process and final product is a success. Design is presented from an artist's point of view but is readily readable and understandable by those not creatively inclined. Most can make use of Tracy's book to develop a garden they can love as their own. At 4.46 pounds and 11.25 inches high x 10.25 inches wide this is a resource that, while an easy read, one will find support for it's bulk helpful; most will use it at the desk, drafting table, or in my case, kitchen table. (Timber Press, 2003)
Peter Valder - The Garden Plants of China. I purchased Peter
Valder's book Wisterias: A Comprehensive Guide to learn more about the
Wisterias in the UKREC vine collection. That book contains an extensive discussion
of the Chinese Wisterias. Before going to China I read the chapter on Chinese
Wisterias and enjoyed it, so when I had a chance to get and read a copy of Peter's
latest book The Garden Plants of China I was pretty excited. The jacket
of the book says "This book brings together information about the history,
occurrence, and use of more than 400 plants grown in Chinese gardens."
The first three chapters describe Chinese Horticulture and the influence of China's plants on their own culture and that of the world. After the introductory chapters we get to the meat of the book which is the 17 chapters on different plants.
The many pictures (most by Peter Valder) and illustrations add a great deal to the enjoyment of the book. The quality of the photographs are very good, good enough to want to go out and buy the plant in question to have it in the garden, of course, I am very susceptible to the power of suggestion that I have a particular plant in my garden whether from a text description or a picture. As you can guess this is a problem as the yard is only so big.
One of the great things about the book is that it contains the botanic name, the Chinese character name and it's Chinese pinyin romanized name(s) (pinyin is a system so that people like you and I that do not know the character pronunciation can pronounce the names). I really wish there was a page where all the names were listed so it could be used when traveling to China to read the Chinese character names seen in the gardens. Peter does list resources for finding such a list. I greatly appreciate the use of references in the text of the book and the excellent list of references at the end of the book.
I have read Alice M. Coats, Plant Hunters (1969, MacGraw-Hill), that was recommended to me by my coworker, Dr. Bob Geneve. Many of the names of the great plant explorers of the past Alice Coats discusses are associated with plants in The Garden Plants of China. For that matter, I was surprised by the number of plants introduced from China to Europe and the United States that were from gardens and nurseries. The knowledge I have gained from reading these books has me hoping that sometime in my future there will be another trip to China, complete with "Plant Exploration Adventures" and visits to gardens and nurseries.
Unfortunately, the book, at 9 by 11.5 inches and at 3 pounds 11 ounces, is too large to actually take with you on a trip to China (ok, maybe not, but if I take more film and camera equipment and the book I might end up traveling in the clothes I fly over in. That might not be good!). It is a great addition to the library of anyone who has traveled to China, is thinking of traveling to China, or just wants to read about China and it's great garden plants. The book is everything the author intended it to be as described in the introduction. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book's first three chapters, I am still reading about the plants a little at a time. For people that love plants this is a fun, informative book. If I didn't already have a copy of Peter Valder's The Garden Plants of China I would envy anyone that did. (Timber Press, 1999)
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