Now in paperback, this is a delightful book in which a well-known English plantsman makes a season-by-season selection of perennials, describes them evocatively, reveals their histories, and provides ideas on how to grow them successfully and use them imaginatively in the garden. A wonderful combination of entertainment and instruction.
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Readers who find gardening both a joy and a challenge will treasure this latest book from Britain's well-known horticulture writer Rice (Garden Flowers from Seed, with Christopher Lloyd). Although he's writing for Britain's zone 8, Rice delivers such a delightfully conversational wealth of information that American gardeners will overcome their sorrow that crocuses don't bloom here in January and relish his observations on other winter bloomers. Grouping his material by seasons, Rice details well-known plants such as irises, hostas and phlox, along with less common entries like hepaticas, penstemons and arums. Each category details many varieties (new and old) and reveals Rice's extensive knowledge about growing and propagating; suggestions for planting combinations are intriguing. Amusing commentary about nomenclature mixes with freely offered opinions: referring to new crosses of hellebores, he says, "those spiky, spidery ones like fluorescent crabs are more than I can take." Jean Emmons's line drawings are simple and effective; varieties are further illustrated by 42 color photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Prolific gardening writer Rice has spent many years growing what he calls "hardy" perennials. His latest book features not only many of the popular species but also some that are almost completely unknown to the average gardener. Under the heading "Winter into Spring," he discusses such plants as hellebores, irises, and hepaticas. Delphiniums, geraniums, phlox, campanulas, several kinds of grasses, clematis, peonies, pinks, and carnations are some of the perennials listed in "Summer: The Drowning Season." Rice tells the reader just about everything there is to know about these perennials. In a chapter on geraniums, for example, he discusses where and how to plant them, their color range, foliage, flowers, and hybrids. He also gives a brief history of the plant and offers tips on propagation. Forty-two color photographs and 30 black-and-white line drawings complement the chatty text. George Cohen
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