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American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (American Horticultural Society) Hardcover – September 19, 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The American Horticultural Society educates and inspires people of all ages to become successful and environmentally responsible gardeners by advancing the art and science of horticulture. The former director of the Royal Horticultural Society, Christopher Brickell is the editor-in-chief of DK's The AHS Encyclopedia of Gardening and co-author of AHS Society Pruning and Training.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 744 pages
  • Publisher: DK; Revised, Updated ed. edition (September 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756668573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756668570
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.9 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This 720 page reference is well worth the money and is an indispensable tool for plant identification or plant selection. A short article on plant names and origins is followed by a beautiful section on "Creating a Garden" which covers style, structure, planning, seasons, using color and providing texture. The color photographs that accompany the article are outstanding!

"The Plant Selector" provides lists of plants that cover seemingly any situation you can think of. Examples - plants for specific soils, deer-resistant plants, hedge and windbreak plants, groundcovers for both sun and shade, dry shade, moist shade, and the list goes on.

The bulk of the book focuses on individual plants (Trees, Shrubs, Roses, Perennials, Annuals, Climbers, Bulbs, Rock Plants, Water Plants). Each section of plants is categorized by size (Large, medium and small) and then by color of the bloom. A color photo of each plant is provided as well as a brief description, size, exposure needs, zone, etc. A page number reference refers to a more in depth description of the plant in the back of the book.

Beautiful and plentiful photos, thick glossy pages and a wealth of information make this a reference that you can browse for hours. Happy reading!
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Format: Hardcover
This weighty, full-color reference to North American plants and flowers has been revised and completely revamped for this edition, profiling over 8,000 plants and holding over four thousand photos. The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia Of Plants And Flowers is a gardener's dream reference, and deserves a place not only in the home reference library of the avid gardener, but in any suitable public or school library with strong collections in gardening and plants.
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Format: Hardcover
Some other reviewers that own this book are right when giving this book high marks. I am a landscape contractor and can attest to the rich information and pictures inside. Although, I wouldn't recomend this bk for the beginning gardener. It has a 'common names' index by which to cross ref backwards with but, if common names are all you are familiar with, this bk may be a bit much to find what you want. However, this bk will tell you if thie plant is evergreen,semievergreen, deciduous, its habit, bloom time, hardiness zones,Hight & Spread, Light & some moisture requirements, etc. The bk is alphabetized with the genus/ Latin names for a reason. These Latin names are how all plants are traced from their origin and habit, regardless of hybridizing or crossing. A Plant may have several common names regionally or for marketing purposes, but will always have the Latin name to trace its' origin. This is why you will see alot of bks with Latin names intead of common names. This bk is a must for landscapers and horticulturists. This is one of the best reference sources I've seen.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are like me, you have probably looked at the American Horticultural Society's two huge encylopedias (The Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers - this book, and the A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants) wondering why they would produce two seemingly similar books and which you should buy.

My advice for people looking for a comprehensive GARDENING guide is to purchase THIS book. This one - the Plants and Flowers book - should be viewed as a very comprehensive plant type, size, zone, and technique book - all of which provide the book's context mentioned below - while the A-Z guide really is more like a traditional encyclopedia and is heavily focused on individual plant entries. Much of the same material on plants can be found in both books, but this one structures the entire volume into a gardening context, while the A-Z guide provides more detail on individual plants (as well as coverage of more plants and varieties).

Even a relatively advanced gardener is unlikely to need the additional plants coverage in the A-Z guide, as many cannot be easily found. The reason a number of people end up buying both is that the additional depth of material in the A-Z guide for plants found in both books can be helpful in special circumstances. Naturally, some avid gardeners simply enjoy the additional botanical detail also.

This is a superb book for extended study and planning. Is is less helpful as an in-season guide and problem solver, due to its size and complexity.
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Format: Hardcover
I wanted to purchase a good gardening encyclopedia, so I took a few out of the library to see which ones might be worth purchasing. This one is not a keeper. Trying to find a specific plant or tree is practically impossible - for instance, you look up "crape myrtle" in the index. It says, "see lagerstroemia." Under the "L" heading, there is no "lagerstroemia." The index, therefore, is only to give you the latin names of a given plant. To find where they are in the book, you refer to a different index. Under "malus" (apple tree) rather than have them all in one place, they are spread throughout the book according to size. The problem with this is, the designations are completely inaccurate. A "Marshall Oyama" apple tree grows upwards of 30 feet - this is not a small tree. The parameters in which a tree grows are highly relative according to geography, position, etc. The back and forth flipping around made this book a non-keeper, in my opinion.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, this was the worst encylopedia I came across; it was annoying, frustrating, and extremely limited both in its variety of species, as well as the amount of information that is given, which is paltry at best. I therefore highly recommend "Dirr's Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs." This is the one I am going to purchase - it is so thorough, it is almost exhausting to read and the author (Michael Dirr) gives his personal opinions on many of the plants featured which is incredibly useful. He features plants I have never heard of, as well as a multitude of plant varieties that is almost astonishing.
There are so many sub-species of any given tree, shrub, or plant, that it is just not enough to devote one or two sentences to the entire genus. This book would be, in my opinion, a complete waste of money because you would have to supplement it with a great deal of extra reading. A good encyclopedia should stand on its own.
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