cloth, 384 p., $39.95
Author Christopher Lloyd offers his opinions about and personal assessments of herbaceous plants rather than an "all-embracing encyclopedia" in this valuable volume. The introductory section includes solid advice on planning and planting a garden, the value of perennials, choices for color, impact and maintenance; and nitty-gritty on staking and deadheading. The body of the book is an alphabetized directory by Latin name of 371 perennials.
Based on his long experience at his estate at Great Dixter, England, Mr. Lloyd compiles an excellent reference because it includes descriptions of herbaceous perennials, bulbs, grasses and ferns from Acanthus to Zigadenus — including many unfamiliar ones you are unlikely to ever see. He has grown or observed most of these plants in his own garden; the book includes information on growth, frost tolerance (albeit in England) and place of origin. I was happy to read that he has little confidence in the variegated Jacob's ladder 'Brise d'Anjou', which has difficulty surviving in gardens here.
The photographs are taken at his garden, and include masses of flowers happily growing together. This is a book to own, to read piecemeal and to enjoy.
— Adele Kleine, Volunteer, Library, Chicago Botanic Garden, and contributing writer to Chicagoland Gardening magazine.