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Buried Treasures: Finding and Growing the World's Choicest Bulbs Hardcover – Illustrated, June 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Latvian nurseryman Ruksans illuminates the realm of uncommon, alluring flowering bulbs, while chronicling his uncommon plant-hunting forays throughout what he calls the Soviet Empire. Renowned for these intrepid plant explorations, as well as for his expansive knowledge of breeding and growing bulbous plants, Ruksans offers an entertaining narrative that remains instructive. To begin, Ruksans puts forth a thorough and engaging presentation of cultivating bulbous plants, from the merits of growing bulbs from seeds to the use of tweezers for pollination. Going forward, he recounts adventurous travels in the Crimea, Siberia, and Anatolia in fascinating detail, scouring remote regions to search out and collect rare botanical gems, species of crocus, corydalis, and fritillaria among them. Fairly bursting with vivid descriptions, Ruksans' latest effort rewards plant connoisseurs with authoritative horticultural insights and sheds light on the dedicated enterprise of an impassioned plantsman. Alice Joyce
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“The book contains well-written accounts of the adventures of a modern plant explorer, gorgeous color plates of the author’s discoveries, and perhaps best of all, insider tips on how the grow the plants [Ruksans] worked with for nearly a lifetime.”



"Part garden book, part international thriller, the author literally goes to the ends of the earth to discover and cultivate rare bulbs."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 524 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated; First Edition edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881928186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881928181
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.6 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,749,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As quoted by Chris Brickwell in the forward, "There is much in this book to inform, entertain, and tantalize gardeners whether or not they have a specific interest in bulbs".

Buried Treasures is a unique and very different bulb book; and the best bulb book seen in many years. What makes this book different from all others encountered is the exhaustive amount of research Janis has contributed to the actual location in which these bulbs are found growing in the wild; and then transferring this knowledge into practical garden settings. This includes detailed descriptions of elevation, climate, drainage, and soil structure. This is what is so lacking in many other bulb books that simply march through the species with either superficial descriptions or highly technical DNA counts and other technical information that does not help the average grower.

The book is basically divided into two sections--Bulbs in the Garden and Bulbs in the Wild. In the first section is some of the best information about growing bulbs from seed that is currently available. J'anis also includes a lot of other propagation instructions, which have been adopted by growers in Holland, and is also very easy for the average grower to understand. A lot of practical and easy to understand advice about planting bulbs, harvesting bulbs, viral diseases, fertilizing, watering, pollination, and seed harvesting is also included.

In the second part of the book J'anis describes his many adventures as a bulb explorer--and these are his treasures! J'anis explored and researched in a time that will never be replicated and the stories he tells are simply remarkable. They show his enthusiasm, which as all bulb lovers know is a borderline obsession, on finding and introducing new species.
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Format: Hardcover
Wonderful book on bulbs in Europe; told in an amazing way. A very enjoyable read and a book to keep referring back to for its excellent information contained within, on your buried treasures.
Great photos showing the bulbs discussed in this book.Easily recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
"Buried Treasures" is an instant classic which combines adventure, personal reflections, and solid information about plants into one hugely enjoyable read. Janis Ruskaranans (evidently the closest we can get to his actual name without using all the slavic diacriticals) has a vivid personality which erupts through his writing. His accounts of his plant-hunting expeditions rush forward with all the excitement of an Indiana Jones film--but without the heavy special effects. The thrills come from his genuine enthusiasm for the quest for new or rare bulbs. His descriptions of the plants and their habitats are so compelling, they put you there. Janis follows up with the fate of the plants he collects, and how they thrived (or failed to) in his garden. The book also describes his methods for growing Central Asian bulbs in northern Europe, where the climate is very different. No "book-learning" here; all was learned by actual experience. Buy this book for its great stories, wonderful descriptions, and solid advice on growing some great plants.
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Format: Hardcover
This a great book for the plant enthusiast.

The first part describes growing bulbs in Latvia, which is quit a bit colder than here in Germany. This part is interesting in how a bulb grower does his work, but it's not really relevant for the gardener.

The second part describes the travels of Ruksans and his friends into the wilds of mostly asia and turkey. It gives insights in how easy it still today is to find new species. Also it describes the practical work of botanists. For instance how to identify a species that was only found and described once over 100 years ago. Also how to differentiate two plants: are they really one species or a species and a subspecies. What I hadn't known before was the big variations of plants that are already available in nature. Ruksans gives for this reason the advice to collect always known species, too, to get all possible variations.

The tales about Russian politics seem so very far away from our middle european democracy. That traveling hasn't gotten better since the collaps of the USSR was really surprising.

To bad the guy doesn't have a website...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautiful book packed with information on bulbs; both in their natural habit, and those under cultivation. The author gardens in Latvia so he has many extreme weather conditions to adapt to and overcome for his successful nursery. The book has an extensive photo gallery and is written in an engaging way. The author is a wild plant collector and his stories of his treks taken to find these bulbs is entertaining and informative. The travels are chiefly in areas of the former USSR, the Caucasus, Central Asia,central Siberia,the Russian Far East as well as Turkey and the Czech Republic. A gem of a book and one that is welcome in any library of a bulb lover!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The only disappointment I had with this book involved the obvious disagreement I have with the author about the charm of terrestrial orchids and Cyclamen. If your primary interest includes these groups, you will not find much information about them in this book. Otherwise, this book includes both wild habitat information and tips/hints about 'captive' growing. The author balances his disinterest in Cyclamen/hardy orchids like Pleione with an outsized interest in Corydalis (smile). A great reference!
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