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

24 customer reviews

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American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (American Horticultural Society) + American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training + American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 744 pages
  • Publisher: DK (September 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756668573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756668570
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kate Smart on April 12, 2012
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shamino Wang on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a first-time homeowner and a complete beginner at yard care, I was at a loss looking at all the 30 or so plants I inherited. Most typical gardening books assume the reader would have at least some basic knowledge of what common plants' names are, while I could not even tell Lavender from Salvia (they both looked purple to me). I had been asking my neighbors, friends, and my gardener about them, until I came across this book.

Plants are grouped under several major categories, like Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, etc. What's really helpful is, in each section, plants are listed first by Size (Large, Medium, and Small), then in the order of Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter/All Year), followed by Color sequences. For example, for looking up Trees, first ones are Large Spring (White, Pink, Red,...) then Large Summer (White, Pink, Red,...), and so on. It was a lifesaver for an ignorant idiot like me, as I simply brought the book in my yards, and flipped the pages until I found a match to the picture, then moved on to the next plant. Doing it this way I was able to identify the majority of my plants.

Sure, I agree with the first reviewer that the two-step indexing (first from common names to Latin names, then the actual plant index by Latin names) is cumbersome. But again, since I didn't even know the common names (Lily-of-the-Nile, Crimson Bottlebrush, etc), I didn't use the book that way and was not bothered by it.

As for picture quality, I found them clear and excellent. Most of them focus on the single most important identifying trait (close-up of the flower, the leaf appearance, or the far distance capture of the overall shrub shape...).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lord Dreamweaver on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My wife is a Master Gardner in the state of North Carolina, and is also a landscape designer. She is always on the look out for reference material to help her with her designs.

This truly is an encylopedia! A huge book with great pictures and information. This is a great addition to her library, and would be great for any gardner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By UrbanMonique on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some books just ain't meant to be bought electronically, and this is one. It's a decent research text, but it's also lovely and a joy to poke through on a rainy day. It'll earn a place of honor on your coffee table.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By OK in Oklahoma on June 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book for a botany minor or someone very well versed in formal names of flowers. It has very few common names and you aren't able to index all of the flowers it contains unless you can name the species. I did not find it very helpful for my needs. Also the pictures are small and difficult to use for identification purposes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ALD on April 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Make sure you have room on your bookshelf :) This book is a beast. It is huge, and full of full color photos. I was very pleased to get it as a gift and I plan on keeping it around as a coffee table book. The photos are gorgeous. If you know anyone who is into flowers this book would make a great present.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neva on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully designed, illustrated, photographed and probably has almost every plant in it.... well, close enough.
Lots of important information contained in it. I bought it to just have it handy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has all the information I need for designing and sustaining my extensive landscaping. I only wish I could find some of the plants at local greenhouses ... not all are available. Hopefully I can find and order them online.
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American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (American Horticultural Society)
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