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Annuals for Every Purpose: Choose the Right Plants for Your Conditions, Your Garden, and Your Taste

Annuals for Every Purpose:  Choose the Right Plants for Your Conditions, Your Ga
Larry Hodgson
Publication Date: 

cloth, 406 p., $44.95

This book delivers 110 percent on its stated subtitle of helping you "choose the right plants for your conditions, your garden, and your taste." If I can’t have Larry Hodgson come over and plant and maintain my annuals, at least I can have this book. It’s packed full of basic information, helpful hints, Hodgson's garden notes and smart substitutes. He even gives you the phonetic pronunciation of the plants so you need not puzzle over how to say "brachyscome." Best of all, though, is the arrangement of plant information, not just alphabetically, but by type of annual: drought-resistant, giants for the back of the garden, annuals to sow directly outdoors, low-growing annuals for beautiful borders, and so on.

This book reflects the author’s enthusiasm for gardening and his desire to make it easy and accessible for the amateur gardener. Each section features a beautiful photograph of the plant, a plant profile, growing tips, problems and solutions, and a short section at the end providing interesting asides about the plant, such as "smart substitutes," "kissing cousins," or "up and coming." Whether you use this book as a guide to copy one of the garden layouts shown in the beginning, or just to glean ideas about how to brighten up your annuals with seeds you can sow in mid-summer for quick color, it’s a winner. I’m going out tomorrow to buy some of the "sow-and-grow" annuals he recommends, as well as a copy of this book.

— Joan Richards, library volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden