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Encyclopedia of Perennials (American Horticultural Society) Hardcover – September 18, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Editors in chief: Graham Rice is a renowned plantsman and gardening author whose writing been recognized on both sides of the Atlantic. Kurt Bluemel, one of the founding fathers of the "ornamental grass movement," specialized in growing and creating landscapes with ornamental grasses and perennials before they were widely used in North America.
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Product Details

  • Series: American Horticultural Society
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: DK (September 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756613434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756613433
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.5 x 11.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Definitely an essential, a new classic for the garden library, whether you are accomplished grower or a newcomer, because it is expertly written, without technical jargon - the first really "readable" encyclopedia of plants I know of. It says it covers 5000 plants, but it's really almost 7000 plants, the biggest encyclopedia of perennials ever. Chock-full of fascinating sidebars about planting suggestions, name changes, invasive plants, orchids, etc. Pictures are gorgeous and there are thousands of them. An ultimate reference. Kudos to Graham Rice, the veteran plantsman and wonderful writer, for creating this ultimate encyclopedia.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great resource for advanced gardeners interested in learning about a variety of species within a genus. I have been able to identify many lesser known plants that I have inherited using this book. It tells in-depth information about the genus and lists several species with pictures of many of the species. There is very little info about when plants bloom or where they should be planted. I found this book very interesting and loved seeing the lesser known varieties of common plants. I would not have found this useful when I was a beginner gardener looking for advice on how to keep plants purchased at the local nursery alive.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very good reference book, which will assist even the first-time gardner in making solid, educated decisions on selection, planting and care of perennials. Full of color pictures, another great plus.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am just getting beyond petunias, hostas and impatiens in the world of gardening, so ordered this book when starting up our local garden club "ended up in my lap." (If I don't know what I'm doing on a project, I buy books...) At first, this volume was a little intimidating because it is organized by the scientic names of all the plants. Once I got the hang of looking up the common name in the back, then finding the cross-referenced scientific name, it's wonderful! My friend, a much more accomplished gardener than I, used the book to help with our plant sale and the questions customers had about the perenials we had for sale. The pictures are amazing. I have identified in my back yard many of the plants I'd been previously pulling as weeds...I'm also looking up how to separate and move these wonderful newfound treasures, so the book can pay for itself -- all in all, a great investment!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After gardening more than 30 years in the Zone 6 part of the southwest (tough, xeric plants), I moved to Zone 5 (PA - 51 inches of rain/yr -- wahoo, I think...) So I'm pretty much out of my depth here and needed a good basic book for gardening with perennials in a normal garden setting. It's actually a really good reference book, but the majority of the plants are rated for Zones 6, 7 and warmer -- lots of English garden references. I bought this book used, so I'm not out that much money and will definitely keep it. Just wished it covered more plants for colder climates.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had time to look through this book and I am pleased with it - I found pictures of most of the plants I didn't know in my new garden. Also, I enjoy the tips about how to decide what to plant together, based on height, color, and blooming time. That is a subject I did not know enough about, and this book has some wonderful and easy to understand ideas. The only thing I would add is the common names of the flowers to make looking them up easier. The pictures are great and the information is clear and easy to understand.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not the most user-friendly resource, but it is by far the most comprehensive perennial Encyclopedia available. If you are familiar with the AHS Encyclopedias, this book is very similar and borrows heavily from those resources. As you would expect from AHS, this is a high quality production with gorgeous images and detailed information. This is an essential resources for the perennial gardener, there is nothing more comprehensive.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a marvelous compendium of plants. Almost 500 pages of plant descriptions and beautiful color photographs make it a book that the curious gardener will dip into again and again. Plants are listed by genus and species, and a good number of cultivars are listed. Each genus is given a general description, followed by how it is best grown, how it's propagated, and what pests it has. Then follows the various species within the genus, descriptions including origin, size, bloom time, color and size, scent and occasional tidbits about medicinal use or the like. One thing I love about this book as opposed to many other plant encyclopedias: it gives the American zone hardiness of the species.

But this is not just a straight encyclopedia; interspersed with the plants are sidebars and boxes with information on combining the plants to make beautiful vignettes that put plants with the same needs together, the structures of various types of flowers, plant history, diseases and pests of plants, and detailed propagation instructions for certain plants.

This book is great for looking up information, but it's also wonderful for just leafing through it, stopping at reading at random spots- did you know that the Barlow type aquilegias make seed that's true to type, while all other aquilegia's promiscuously cross breed? And here I thought those Barlow girls were just as bad as their cousins! Drooling over this book has given me a lot of new ideas for the garden, and left me with serious zone envy.
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