Plantfinder's Guide to Tender Perennials

Ian Cooke, Author
Ian Cooke, Author Timber Press (OR) $34.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-88192-450-3
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7153-0635-2
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British horticulturist Cooke defines his subject as ""any perennial plant that will grow outside successfully in temperate climates during the summer months, but requires some winter protection."" In America we call many of these plants annuals except in such warm areas as Florida or Southern California where they survive the winter naturally. Cooke writes briefly of how these plants, including argyranthemums (marguerite daisies), coleus, dahlias and impatiens, were introduced to European gardens in the 19th century when the elaborate designs composed of bedding plants were popular. An alphabetical directory provides an extensive compilation of tender perennials with descriptions, growth characteristics, native habitat and hardiness. Cooke rejects the common zone designations of plant hardiness in favor of his own, which classifies plants in five categories from fully hardy to tender. The chapter offering advice on planting schemes with suggestions for combining specific plants and colors will be useful for all gardeners, but only readers in warmer climates will be able to apply his approaches to exotic, tropical or Mediterranean gardens. Public gardens and nursery source listings are mainly English, with a smattering of U.S. sources. Many of the listed plants are not readily available in this country, further reducing the practicality of this handsomely illustrated volume for U.S. readers. (Aug.)
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