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Conifers for Gardens: An Illustrated Encyclopedia Hardcover – Illustrated, June 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated; 1st edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881928305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881928303
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Novice gardeners and savvy designers alike often learn by error when planting conifers. Time passes, and a young specimen may reveal itself as inappropriate for the site for various reasons. Devotee Bitner presents an encyclopedic reference for guidance in selecting coniferous plants to beautify small gardens or thrive in any given landscape. Botanical background is provided along with design advice for everything from topiary to an inviting allée, a forested backdrop to a sequestered nook. To illustrate the breathtaking range of species and cultivated varieties of shrubs and trees—conifers in their myriad shapes and sizes—1,200 photographs accompany entries describing the hardiness and character of exotic Araucaria and Ginkgo, yew and spruce, cypress and false cypress, firs, cedars, pines, and numerous types of junipers. The enlightening counsel provides detailed plant profiles and cultivation requirements that help demystify conifer selection. Bitner is equally adept at explaining how to identify unusual deciduous species, or specimens in their habitat, pointing out form, foliage, cones, and bark. An excellent resource. Joyce, Alice
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

“Aimed at general gardeners, woody plant specialists, nursery and landscape professionals, almost every hardy conifer you’re likely to encounter is covered in this book.” - Sierra Heritage Magazine


"…offers plenty of information, as well as incentive, for all those who want to know more about the common or slightly less common conifers in gardens, or indeed for those who want to grow them."

International Dendrology Society

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
73%
4 star
20%
3 star
7%
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See all 15 customer reviews
This is definitely a must have for the novice and professional as a great resource.
Eva Monheim
If you have limited space like I do, this book is invaluable for helping you choose the right plant for the right place.
M. Fox
If you have been intimidated by conifers in the past, you will be empowered after reading this book.
D. Buchanan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ilene Sternberg on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the first comprehensive book on American conifers to appear in twenty years. The two volume Van Huey Smith book is almost that old (reprinted with later dates), has minimal text and the photographs are poor. The Bloom book on gardening with conifers is attractive, more recent, has beautiful pictures, but British and, therefore, limited in scope.

This one offers well-organized, thorough info on 1370 species and 1,550 good photographs for choosing garden-worthy selections. It handles ornamental attributes, culture, pests and diseases, value to wildlife (including attractiveness to "hoofed browsers") traditional uses of the wood, and best dwarf cultivars for bonsai, particularly useful to those of us who are downsizing or just want to grow conifers in containers on a small patio or deck.

Ornamental features are illustrated (i.e. most genera have good photos of typical foliage, bark, cones, etc.) along with brief descriptions of available cultivars, their habit, growth rate, distinguishing features, etc., many trees shown in garden settings. Most were photographed in arboreta and public gardens from the NE, mid-W to the NW, Canada, and throughout Germany.

In the appendix are lists of recommendations for specific conditions, a discussion of the qualities one should expect in selecting a holiday tree, lists of specialty conifer nurseries, and places to view conifers in the US, Canada, Britain, and Germany (with website listings.)

The book reads like a series of well-prepared lectures by a knowledgeable instructor. I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone considering selecting appropriate conifers for gardens, either as a professional landscape architect, garden designer or home gardener.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Buchanan on July 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If your idea of a conifer is one of those green blobs overgrowing a door or a window, you need to buy this book. It is an excellent guide to the great range of conifers available to gardeners, and it shows you what they would look like in your garden. Well organized and easy to read, it tells gardeners which conifers would be best suited to particular situations. And it offers information on many dwarf alternatives that are available to the increasing number of gardeners with small yards. If you have been intimidated by conifers in the past, you will be empowered after reading this book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Home Gardener on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a home gardener, I found this book extremely helpful. The photographs are beautifully composed, and there is a wealth of information on how the wood from various conifers is used. The comments on how wild critters use the trees are also most interesting. An excellent reference book to keep on my bookshelf.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. MacDonald on April 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a professional gardener. This book is very helpful and useful and it has lots of pictures. The only thing that I might say is missing is that not every variety shown has mature height and width, and it doesn't always say what the light requirements are. But, it still gives me varieties that look like what I might need for a given property, and if it doesn't give all the information I need, I just look up the variety from another source. Overall, it is a good "idea" book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eva Monheim on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bitner's love of conifers is apparent in this wonderfully illustrated encyclopedia. His descriptions of the genera, species and cultivars allows the gardener the opportunity to make the right selections for the right spot in the garden.

This is definitely a must have for the novice and professional as a great resource.

Kudos to Dr. Bitner!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pamela L. Jackson on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Very informative for most of the information. Also very helpful in choosing conifers for my area. Could give a little more info on zones and size of trees. Sometimes that info is mentioned and sometimes not. Overall a good book with good information.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Daly on August 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
At last a conifer book that gives us the courage and knowledge to grow conifers in our home gardens. That's the problem with conifers--people dislike them or fear them because they don't know them and understand them. It's hard to love conifers and buy them and grow them if one doesn't see their attraction and potential. If we understand them, conifers can have a meaningful relationship with our gardens. Bitner's book helps us see the beauty of conifers and it encourages people to love conifers. When you read this book you'll want to introduce some conifers to your prized plants at home and make conifers part of your garden structure and personality.

Bitner's photographs are fantastic. They show the overall habit as well as beautiful close-up shots of the needles, cones and bark. The book is a very user friendly reference as it is organized alphabetically by generic names; beginning with an interesting overview of the genus followed by details of species and cultivated varieties within the genus. His plant descriptions are thorough and informative. He also tells us how to and where to grow conifers. Bitner's crisp and descriptive writing style is refreshingly filled with tidbits and stories about conifers--conifers that provide food or shelter for wildlife, some that are not so tasty to "hoofed browsers", those that are used for their wood and other commercial products, selections for "holiday trees", and he often includes many conifers' historical ties to native Americans and early settlers.

This book should be by every gardener's bedside for fun and interesting reading and it is a "must have" for the any serious gardener's reference shelf. I don't know how we survived so long without it.
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