The Complete Book of Perennials

Graham Rice, Author Reader's Digest Association $30 (240p) ISBN 978-0-89577-825-3
This comprehensive volume promises more than it delivers to American gardeners who work in an enormous variety of climatic conditions. Rice, a British horticulturist, leads his readers through the culture and propagation stages of perennials, starting with the selection process, which includes how to choose a good supplier. Hundreds of color photos illustrate sections on planting styles, theme gardens, creating and redoing beds and borders and combining plantings. An illustrated directory of 750 varieties of perennials includes choice varieties within a species and is followed by a map of hardiness zones for the U.S. Aside from soil and light conditions, however, there is no reference in these entries to specific climate demands (including cold tolerance) required successfully to raise the listed perennials, implying that the plants can be successfully cultivated in any part of the country. Many require more specific conditions than the brief attention paid to light and soil conditions. The poppy Meconopsis, for example, a natural for the cool northern mountains, is tolerant of neither extreme heat nor lack of humidity. This handsome reference is, thus, significantly limited in its usefulness, especially to neophyte perennial gardeners. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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