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The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants Paperback – May 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Peter D'Amato has been raising carnivorous plants for three decades, and his nursery, California Carnivores, houses the world's largest collection of flesh-eating flora. There's not much D'Amato doesn't know about growing these oddballs of the plant world, and he imparts his expertise gracefully and with humor in The Savage Garden, which is aimed at curious gardeners who want to grow carnivorous plants both indoors and out. From the ever-fascinating Venus flytrap to the aquatic bladderwort and the rather extravagantly sexual-looking pitcher plant, these exotic plants have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but D'Amato proves otherwise. The necessary water and soil chemistry, proper lighting, and propagation tips are discussed thoroughly along with descriptions and growing tips for many species in each of 11 plant families.

If plants can have personalities, these do--or at least appear to in the hundreds of witty photographs and colored illustrations that show them both at their hungriest and at their most innocuous. This is a stunningly comprehensive guide that will inspire and fascinate even the most squeamish gardener. -- Barrie Trinkle

About the Author

Peter D'Amato has been growing flesh-eating plants for over thirty years. His nursery, California Carnivores, houses the world's largest collection of carnivorous plants. THE SAVAGE GARDEN is the 1999 winner of the American Horticultural Society Book Award and 1999 Quill & Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association of America.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898159156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898159158
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Sean Kuhlmeyer on August 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Warning! Carnivorous plants are addictive. Don't be fooled by that cute little Venus Fly Trap or Sundew and think that you will just buy one. Wrong; one will morph into five, five into twenty-five, and the next thing you know, you will have a great terrarium set up, carnivorous houseplants competing with your African violet, and planters outside that the neighborhood kids come to feed bugs to. You will also be giving impromptu science lessons for anyone who stops to look at your unique plants. And this book will help. It is probably the most accessible book on carnies out today, and seems to have fueled a mini-explosion of publishers trying to follow D'Amato's lead. The writing is clear, and written for people who like plants but are not botany nuts, or botanists. D'Amato also did a very good job of explaining how to grow plants from different areas of the world without having to resort to charts of zones and endless consultations of thermometers. If you are interested in carnies, buy this book, you could also pick up Adrian Slack's book as well, but start here first.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jessica L. Lawrence on November 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the best I've read for carnivorous plants. It has background information on plants, as well as detailed information about the different species' general requirements, information on different growing settings, how to set up those settings, what to plant each kind of plant in, what NOT to plant each plant in, what you can fertilize/feed your plant with, and plant pests that commonly bother carnivorous plants and how to deal with them. The book also contains many quirky comments such as "(I am not suggesting you feed your plants humans, since this is highly illegal...)" and "Some CP's will accept...even chocolate (female plants)." It is a very fascinating and useful book!! A must-have for carnivorous plant lovers!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jack-O-Lantern on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've long been interested in carnivorous plants, and have managed to collect a number of books on the subject over the years. This book, without a doubt, is the very best on the subject I've ever read! It is written in an easy to understand, matter-of-factly way, gives easy to follow instructions on how to grows these amazing plants, and is beautifully illustarted with numerous photos. If you buy only one book on the subject make this the one.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Dallas (JDPDX@aol.com) on July 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
As a grower and seller of carnivorous plants I always try to refer customers to a good book on the subject to delve deeper into the subject. When Peter D'Amato published The Savage Garden I found I had a resource beyond my highest expectations to lead them to. This book is detailed, concise, easy to read, has lots of beautiful photographs, and is designed to let the average person be successful growing carnivorous plants. I can't recommend it enough.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
A must have for people that want a well written and practical guide to the different Genus of carnivorous plants and how to grow them. Well written and not overly technical, The Savage Garden was interesting as well as practical reading for the hobbyist grower. When I received this book, I read it cover to cover, staying up until 3AM.
The Savage Garden was exceedingly well organized and the information was, by my experience, accurate. I particularly like the way he organized the book, with growing information for the Genus and species grouped logically at the end of each section, instead of spread throughout the book. It makes it much easier to use as a reference for growers.
If you own but on book on these plants, this should be the one.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book is outstanding. It covers most types of carnivorous plants, and has many excellent color photos. It has a section on how to grow & care for each type of plant. From pot size, soil, light, humidity, fertilizers, growing period and more.
A very minor negative - some additional information would have been useful. I wish it had a little more information on the optimal pot size for the plants, some have this info, some don't. And don't expect it to have every complex Sarracenia Hybrid covered, although it does have a lot of them.
Ive read many books on CPs published in the last 50-60 years, and this one covers more, provides more info, and has better pictures. This deserves 5 stars, unlike the typically inflated rating. I use it to research any plants I consider buying. If you're interested in CPs this book would be worth buying. It's a steal at its current price....
Do a net search for Orgel Bramblett of Orgels Orchids in FLA to find another excellent source of CPs.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Rothstein VINE VOICE on May 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
They have captured the imagination with grisly fascination... plants that EAT meat...and their sinister reputation has spawned generations of urban myths and 'B' horror films...

Like the witty and intelligent man he clearly is, Peter D'Amato capitalizes on that popular image of carnivorous plants in his delightful book, THE SAVAGE GARDEN, describing the death-throes of an insect lured inside the glowing green hood of a Cobra plant with Hitchock-like glee. But THE SAVAGE GARDEN is much more than gruesome description: D'Amato offers plenty of "meat" in his lively volume, describing in clear, concise prose the best soil mixtures, containers, and growing conditions (indoor and outdoor) for the best known, and some of the more obscure/rare varietals of carnivorous plants in the world.

The day I stumbled upon D'Amato's invaluable guide, I had just rescued a depressed Venus Flytrap from my local nursery, and diligently potted it in a terracotta pot with regular soil on the advice of my supposedly knowledgeable garden expert. Thank goodness D'Amato told me what my nursery did not: the exact soil mixture needed, the ideal growing conditions, and the ALL IMPORTANT tip to use only rainwater or distilled water to avoid killing my little Flytrap with excess mineral deposits. My 7 year old daughter and I have become utterly hooked thanks to D'Amato's clear, witty, and utterly intelligent approach to the care and cultivation of these plants which are largely misunderstood and sadly, quickly disappearing from their natural habitat.

If you are interested in starting a collection, or simply learning about these beautiful and unique plants, D'Amato's book THE SAVAGE GARDEN will tell you everything you need to know quickly and concisely, and spur you to further exploration.
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