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Weeping Willow
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Scotch or Scots Pine

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Hybrid Poplar
Siberian Elm

Canadian Hemlock
- tall one of the fastest

- not so quick or so tall, more elegant

Douglas Fir
- good for wind break or background

American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
- Book Review

Ugg Boots | Books | Pictures: flowers | Monet | Georgia O'Keeffe | Van Gogh | Ansel Adams

These aren't the cheapest books available, but to my mind they're the best. They cover almost everything the average and also the quite-a-long-way-beyond-average gardener will ever need.


American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers  

Hardcover: 720 pages DK Publishing;
Published November 1, 2002

Buy this book now

The following review refers to the first edition of the book published in 1989, the latest versions build on this earlier volume

An excellent plant book set out in a very useable manner. Plants are catalogued by type (see contents below) and then separated into season of interest and color. For instance Shrubs / small is further subdivided into:

Spring interest bulletWhite, bulletRed / green, bulletYellow, bulletYellow / orange

Summer interest
bulletWhite bulletPink bulletFuchsias bulletPink / red bulletRed bulletPurple bulletPurple / blue bulletGreen / yellow bulletYellow bulletYellow / orange bulletOrange

Autumn interest
bulletWhite / red bulletRed bulletPurple / yellow

Winter interest
bulletWhite bulletWhite / pink bulletRed

All year interest
bulletWhite / green bulletGreen bulletGreen / yellow bulletYellow / orange bulletHeathers

Other categories of plants: trees / small, medium, large: perennials small, medium, large etc. are similarly arranged.

The first half of the book has color pictures of the plant / flower with basic information, e.g.:

Box 1

Passiflora coccinea (Red Passion Flower) Vigorous, evergreen, woody-stemmed tendril climber with rounded, oblong leaves. Has bright deep scarlet flowers, with red , pink and white crowns, from spring to autumn. H 3-4m (10-12ft) Min 15°C (59°F).

There are then symbols informing of requirement for sun or shade, water availability and frost hardiness

The second half of the book is dedicated to more detailed descriptions of the habits and growing requirements of the plants described. This is followed by further descriptions of similar species or sub-species and varieties. e.g.:

Box 2

FORSYTHIA (Oleaceae)

Genus of deciduous, spring flowering shrubs, grown for their usually profuse, yellow flowers, which open before the leaves emerge.
F. x intermedia 'Beatrix Farrand' and F. x i. 'Lynwood' make attractive flowering hedges. Fully hardy. Prefers full sun and fertile, well drained soil. Thin out old shoots and trim hedges immediately after flowering. Propagate by softwood cuttings in summer or hardwood cuttings in autumn or winter.

There then follows for this group further descriptions of 9 species or named varieties in addition to the pictured variety listed under Shrubs medium / spring interest / yellow.

There are indexes that can be used to find a plant according to common or Latin name. Over 8000 plants are covered and there are over 4000 high quality photographs.

The book can be used to find plants if you know the name or find a plant by characteristics if you know what you want for a position, but don't know which plants fit the bill.

If you're at all interested in plants then look forwards to many long hours sitting and looking through this book at all the tempting specimens that will sit there winking at you from between the pages along with full details of how large they grow, what shape they will be and how to look after them properly.

There are also useful lists of plants for particular situations, sandy soil, paving and wall crevices, flowers for drying, architectural plants and many more.

The first half of the book is "The Plant Catalogue" Set out as follows with full illustrations as in box 1 above




bulletLarge bulletMedium bulletSmall bulletDwarf conifers


bulletLarge bulletMedium bulletCamellias bulletRhododendrons and Azaleas bulletSmall bulletFuchisas bulletHeathers


bulletShrub and old Garden bulletModern bulletMiniature bulletClimbing


bulletGeneral bulletClematis bulletIvy


bulletLarge bulletDelphiniums bulletMedium bulletIrises bulletPeonies bulletPaelargoniums bulletChrysanthemums bulletBromeliads bulletSmall bulletPrimulas bulletCarnations and Pinks bulletBegonias bulletOrchids bulletAfrican Violets

Annuals and Biennials


Rock Plants


Bulbs (including corms and tubers)

bulletLarge bulletGladioli bulletLilies bulletDahlias bulletMedium bulletTulips bulletDaffodils bulletSmall

Water Plants

bulletGeneral bulletWater Lilies

Cacti and Other Succulents

bulletLarge bulletMedium bulletSmall

The second half is "The Plant Dictionary" as in box 2 above

American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

Gardener's wouldn't be gardeners if they didn't like plants the AHS New Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers (Hardcover - 744 pages) is ideal. Buy this book now

For the real enthusiast, the big brother volume is the AHS A-Z garden plants (Hardcover - 1080 pages)

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American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening

A good gardening encyclopedia is a must. There's always something that the gardener wants to do or that they come across and know little or nothing about. Even experts need a reference every now and then. The AHS Encyclopedia of Gardening (Hardcover - 748 pages) is a comprehensive guide to most things that you could ever be done in the garden.  If you only buy one gardening book it has to be this one.  Review

USA Buy pruning and training from
American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training

Once a garden is started, or if there's a fairly mature garden to deal with, this will help the expert or beginner to make the most of it.  

The title gives the impression that this is rather a specialist book, in reality it will be of great use by anyone with a garden that is at least a few growing seasons old. Review

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