Book Review - The Garden Plant Series
A collection of books that are amongst the best when identifying and building up knowledge of a huge range of plants.
Author: Roger Phillips & Martyn Rix
If you want to develop green fingers, finding out about the individual needs and requirements of different plants is always an excellent starting place. But before you can focus on the individual needs of different plants you need to be able to identify them. I have always found that to be able to identify a plant is a gateway to learning so much about it, through books, magazines and the world wide web.
Identification is always the starting point for gathering a wealth of information to help care for different plants and to understand their likes and dislikes.
If I am walking in the park and I come across a particular tree that I would like to identify, I pick up a fallen leaf from beneath the tree and take it home. The volume entitled Trees in Britain, Europe and North America is always my first port of call to try and identify the leaf.
If I am visiting a garden open to the public and come across an unusual perennial, the two volumes about Perennials in The Garden Plant Series will usually provide the answer. Whichever group of plants interests you the most, you will more than likely be well catered for with The Garden Plant Series because volume titles include Trees, Perennials, Herbs, Conservatory and indoor plants, Salad plants, Annuals and biennials, Bulbs, Shrubs, Climbers, Scented Plants and Plants for shade.
Books in The Garden Plant Series are a visual indulgence, the emphasis being primarily on the identification of plants using photographs. The quality of the laboratory style close-up photographs are in my opinion unsurpassed. You are also given photographs of plants in situ in their wild habitat or a garden setting.
Using the volume entitled Trees in Britain, Europe and North America as an example, the first 50 pages are photographs of leaves arranged according to shape and type. Close up photos of leaves and flowers are also offered for further ease of identification.
Each leaf photograph has the common name, Latin name and a page number where further written information can be obtained.
The text that accompanies each photograph details the plant’s country of origin, the type of habitat it can be found growing in (which always provides clues to cultural requirements), the time of year when flowers are produced, dimensions and descriptions of leaves, flowers etc. and useful notes for cultivation. In the Trees volume, line drawings accompany the text details to give you some idea of the mature tree’s shape.
Whilst there is a slightly scientific feel to the books, this is not overpowering. There has to be some sort of methodical organisation to the books to make the process of identifying plants as easy as possible.
I can’t imagine a Botanist, professional Horticulturist or keen amateur gardener being without the books of The Garden Plant Series. If you love plants, have the patience to eliminate other possible plants from the photographs provided and never want to stop learning then these are the books for you.
Gardening Guru’s Verdict
The Garden Plant Series is a collection of books that are amongst the very best when it comes to identifying and building up a knowledge of a huge range of plants.
This book was reviewed by George Munford.