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American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (The American Horticultural Society) Hardcover – October 18, 2004

126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Collecting contributions from 100 distinguished horticulturists, the handsome and lavishly illustrated American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is a truly definitive gardening reference. With its 1,092 tiny-print pages, this may not be the book to tuck into your pocket as you weed and mulch, but what this encyclopedia lacks in portability, it certainly makes up for in scope. Hardy and tender plants, heirloom varieties and the latest hybrids--they're all accounted for here, with growing tips and background information about native habitats and ornamental features. You'll also find a fascinating section about botany, as well as information about basic gardening techniques such as mulching, staking, pruning, propagating, and protecting plants for winter. But the encyclopedia's main attraction is the individual plant entries--more than 15,000 of them, embellished with 6,000 full-color photographs and illustrations. From the visual glossary of leaves to the map of growing regions, The American Horticultural Society A-Z of Garden Plants provides an unsurpassed wealth of botanical information, making it the yardstick by which all other gardening references must be measured. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

If they can afford it, libraries should have both editions of this invaluable one-volume reference. For gardeners seeking the right plant for the right place but with no knowledge of the specific name, the 1989 title arranges its catalog of 8000 plants not alphabetically by name but by season and color. It starts with color photos and descriptions of large trees, separating them by seasonal interest and by color within each season. It does the same for smaller trees, then for shrubs, climbers, perennials, annuals, rock plants, bulbs, and succulents. Expanding its coverage to over 15,000 plants, the 1997 encyclopedia is organized alphabetically, making it an ideal reference for patrons who want to know what a particular plant looks like, how it grows, and its hardiness zones. Its descriptions of popular plant species, like Narcissus, Primula, and Rhododendron, are a real strength.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The American Horticultural Society
  • Hardcover: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: DK; Revised edition (October 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756606160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756606169
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 2.5 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 99 people found the following review helpful By J.H. on December 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is the ultimate reference guide for the home gardener. The pictures and detailed information is staggering. There are also sections for creating your own garden with some very good drawings. Maps show the temperature zones and planting times. The only downside(which is minor) is the plants are listed by their botanical name and not the common name. There is a section in the back that cross-referances them so you won't be totally lost. This minor inconvienance may not affect more advanced gardeners. The lack of an index also is a short-coming. Over all though, this book has the most comprehensive information in one volume. Highly recommended.
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Dee on October 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the book that makes my gardening dreams possible, it is never far from my side. I guess I would call it a reference book because it is packed with information, but don't let that scare you away. There are a staggering 15,000 plants described with 6,000 photographs. Each plant's cultural needs, botanical name, hardiness and method of cultivation are mentioned however briefly. The book is well organized and easy to use. It isn't hard to find a 4-5 ft shrub that blooms pink in summer, or whatever your garden needs are. This book is also beautiful; I look at it for fun all winter long...sweet dreams til summer's sunbeams find you.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By slowolf on March 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the new garden plant reference book for the home or professional gardener. Although it is set up by Family/Genus/Species/Variety, there is a handy common name index in the back of the book. Extensive varietal color photos make this book a must for the flower enthusiast. There is also an excellent reference on plant terminology in the front of the book. Since I live in the western US, my plant reference book of choice has always been the Sunset Western Garden Book. This book has since taken it's place as my preferred, but the Western Garden Book does have some plants that are not listed in this book. However, there are many times more plants not listed in the Western Garden Book that are found in this book. Highly Recommended!
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Huffman on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I identified alot of plants I had & didn't know what they were. It was hard to put this book down once I started reading through it. I find something new every time I look at it. I wish they had put the common names with the latin name of each plant. The common names are cross referenced in the back & you have to flip back & forth trying to match the names.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Don Kline VINE VOICE on October 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many people have praised this book already. I will not be redundant but will describe what are to me the book's most valuable features: its design, comprehension and convenience.
This book is designed with sophistication. Its layout is fun to the eye and is easy-to-read due to its simple and consistent organization and clear uses of typography. Its photography is first-rate, descriptive and true-to-life with none of the false saturated colors of some plant catalogues.
"A-Z" is that-comprehensive. The plant listings are preceded by brief but helpful sections, totaling 45 pages, on botany, cultivation [under glass or in the garden with useful information on pruning, plant hardiness, propagation, etc] and ornamental plant groups [cacti, ferns, aquatic and rock plants, etc.] This book is truly encyclopedic and as thorough as it can be in 1095 pages- there are 26 pages and 310 photos of roses alone-with no hype or unusable information.
This book is convenient, despite its weight. After purchasing this and its companion volume, the "AHS Encyclopedia of Gardening," I gave away about four linear feet of other gardening and horticultural books. This volume, though, is the one that stays by the door to the garden all summer and by my bed all winter.
"A-Z"'s high standards authenticate the authority of the American Horticultural Society, reflect its editors' concern for quality and gives voice to its contributors' erudition and expertise. You can virtually garden with this book without leaving your armchair.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This enormous reference book is exactly what an avid gardener needs - with entries covering perennials, annuals, woodland plants, trees, shrubs, and just about any other plants available both commercially and naturally. The individual entries contain information about cultivars, propagation, problem pests and diseases, as well as a concise description of the plant's appearance and growth requirements. Most, though not all, include a small photograph of at least one specimen. Plants are listed by their botanical names; if you do not know the genus, you'll have to look up the common name first in the index.
This volume also contains a visual glossary (inside the front cover), and excellent sections on general botany, the garden environment, and propagation techniques. The only drawback to this otherwise excellent encyclopedia is the near-impossibility of identifying unknown plants. The entries are not listed (or cross-listed) by type, requiring the gardener to page through nearly one thousand pages of pictures to identify, say, a particular woodland plant. And forget leaf identification since most photographs are taken from a distance to capture the whole of a species.
This would make an excellent gift for any gardener. It is hefty and comprehensive. Especially for those interested in non-mainstream plants, this book is a must-have.
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