The American Horticultural Society “A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants” with editors-in-chief Christopher Brickell and H. Marc Cathey was released by DK Publishing. Since it was originally published in 1997, this has become a classic garden reference on ornamental plants. A revised edition became available in 2004. This is by far the most extensive garden reference around, and belongs in every gardener’s library.
In addition to the encyclopedia entries for the plants, the introduction provides all the basic information a beginning gardener needs to know. This includes the basics on botany, hardiness and hardiness zones. The authors explain how to grow plants not only outdoors but indoors and in greenhouses as well. They walk you through each of the various garden techniques with step-by-step directions. There are details on how to care for plants, how to cope with different kinds of plant problems, how to prune, and how to propagate various kinds of plants. They also address organic gardening techniques as well.
There is also a brief introduction to each group of plants, including temperate and tender species. Among the various categories discussed are trees, shrubs, vines, bulbs and bulb-like plants, ferns, bamboos and grasses, and water garden plants as well as the more exotic bromeliads, cacti and other succulents, cycads, and palms.
The A to Z entries make up most of the book. All in all, it covers over 15,000 kinds of ornamental plants, which is far more than you will find in other gardening encyclopedias.
Whether you’re looking for heirloom varieties or the most recent introductions, they can be found in this title.
These plants are arranged alphabetically by Latin name. For each one, this has a complete profile that gives the family name, basic details on the genus, a general description, its cultural needs, the most common disease and insect problems that attack the plant, and the method of propagation. Following that, the entry then gives a complete account for each species in cultivation within that genus. This section has the Latin and common name, a description of the species, mature size of the plant, the place of origin, hardiness, and heat zone ratings. The plant profiles were done by an international panel that included over 60 leading horticultural experts.
This book is lushly illustrated with over 6000 full color photos, including both close-ups of leaves and flowers along with full plant portraits.
Easy to use, this book has a handy index of common names.
The appendix contains a helpful glossary and zone maps for both hardiness and heat zones. It explains how to use these full color maps.