Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants: Annuals, Bulbs, Herbs, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees, Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts

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9781554072408: Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants: Annuals, Bulbs, Herbs, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees, Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts

An essential new resource for gardeners.

"In my experience of growing and writing about plants for 45 years, the first question people intemperate climates ask about an unfamiliar plant is whether it is hardy."
-from the Introduction

What is a hardy plant? What is a hardiness zone? What conditions affect hardiness? Gardening expert Derek Fell answers these and other questions of gardeners living in a temperate climate. He challenges strict adherence to the zone system and encourages readers to explore their garden's microclimates. Doing so can add two or three zones to a plant hardiness rating.

Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants is a comprehensive reference organized by plant type. Its easy-to-use directory format provides quick retrieval of specific data on over 700 recommended plants. Along with full color photographs of favorite annuals, bulbs, herbs, perennials, shrubs, trees, vegetables, fruits and nuts, the author includes:

  • Botanical and common names
  • Zone ratings
  • Height, width and growth habits
  • Flower, fruit, vegetable and nut production
  • Suggested uses
  • Soil, water and sunlight requirements
  • Planting tips and combinations
  • Preferred species and hybrids.

Encyclopedia of Hardy Plants provides a combination of observations, expertise and master photographs. This new book is a resource that gardeners will use again and again for its thoroughness, accessibility and reliability.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Derek Fell is an award-winning garden designer and photographer and the author of more than a hundred gardening books and calendars, including Encyclopedia of Garden Design and Structure. His articles are published worldwide. Derek Fell lives in Pennsylvania at historic Cedaridge Farm, for which he has won several awards for design excellence.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpted from the Introduction: What Is a hardy plant?

In my experience of growing and writing about plants for 45 years, the first question people in temperate climates ask about an unfamiliar plant is whether it is hardy. They wish to know if it will survive severe frosts and frozen soil even though hardiness in its broadest sense can mean drought resistance, heat tolerance and survival in poor soil. To most people, therefore, hardiness among plants means COLD HARDINESS.

But even the term cold hardiness can be confusing because some plants will tolerate light frost (such as Chilean gunnera and New Zealand flax), but they are killed by prolonged freezing weather and especially frozen soil. There is also the common practice in books and catalogs to refer to plants as hardy, half-hardy and tender: hardy meaning a plant will tolerate heavy frost; half-hardy meaning a plant will tolerate light frost; and tender meaning that a plant is killed by even a mild frost.

For the purposes of this book, therefore, borderline half-hardy annuals and borderline hardy perennials (such as pampas plume) are not included. The focus, instead, is on what I term "ironclad hardy" plants, encompassing hardy annuals and perennials, woody plants, even herbs, fruit and vegetables that can survive severe winters, especially in areas where the ground freezes. This book represents a collection of the most important hardy plants for temperate gardens, with an emphasis on those that are relatively carefree, easy to obtain and likely to add the strongest visual interest in a garden setting.

Most of these plants are "survivors" -- some prominent in home gardens, and others less familiar, but certainly worthy of garden space. The ornamentals are arranged alphabetically by botanical name, with a cross-reference common name index, and the edibles are arranged by common name because their botanical names are unfamiliar to most people. This organization of the ornamental section by Latin name is essential since common names vary from one area to another, and several plants can have the same common name, such as forget-me-not, which can include species in the family Myosotis and Cynoglossum as well as others.

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