cloth, 539 p., $39.95
Allan Armitage, one of the best-known horticulturists in the country, in this book examines more than 250 annuals, biennials and perennials suitable for today's gardens. Color photographs and line drawings provide visual keys for identification. Armitage's relaxed prose, spiced with personal experiences, allows the reader to enjoy what otherwise might be dull facts in the hands of another writer. A short preface contains several witty discussions on plants and gardening techniques.
Armitage provides general information on each genus and covers historic facts, medicinal uses where appropriate, growth habits, cultural requirements and cultivation hints, including possible pest and disease problems. There's information on species and cultivars, as well as pointers to additional readings. Many will find their old favorites in this book, along with dozens of new, exciting and unusual plants.
I found that the best way to use this manual is to have a plant genus or species in mind and use the book's index to find further details on a given plant, or others like it. The index is based on both common and scientific names. Armitage's comprehensive guide is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in annuals, biennials and perennials, from the weekend gardener to the professional.
— Elaine M. Juhl, Master Gardener and Volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden