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Garden Flowers from A to Z

Garden Flowers from A to Z
Esther Herr and Marion Nickig.
Barron’s Educational Series
Publication Date: 

paper, 256 pp., $13.99

Ideal for the novice gardener, this handbook lists more than 200 varieties of popular plants, including some not-so-common annuals, biennials, perennials, bulbs, and tuberous plants. The authors first direct attention to the factors that must be considered in the selection process: the specific site’s environment (such as sun, shade, and soil), the availability of plants, and the quality of plants. Translated from German, the text also contains European concepts of garden design, emphasizing plant placement by shape, color, and blooming time. Organized by botanical names, the bulk of the content contains individual plant profiles, featuring color portraits and descriptions with useful icons replacing narrative; many of the common names are of European origin. Particularly helpful are the tips for appropriate planting composition. A drawback is the absence of information on plant hardiness zones. Its plastic cover and pocket size are practical assets of this handy guide.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden