The Definitive Reference With Over 2,500 Photographs

Book - 1991
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Baker & Taylor
Offers growing and propagation tips, discusses the origins of plants and their varieties, covers natural planting associations, provides flowering times, explores sedges and ferns, and mentions gardens to visit around the world.

Firefly Books Ltd


More than ten years in the making, Perennials is the most comprehensive guide available to these popular plants. It includes descriptions of over 2,500 types of perennials, each variety described in detail and illustrated with a handsome color photograph.

After three decades of collaboration, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix continue to expand their plant collections and hone their knowledge. Perennials includes expert information on:

  • Cultivation and propagation
  • Plant origins
  • Natural planting associations
  • Flowering times for every phase of the growing season
  • Combinations for borders, island beds, meadow gardens
  • Sedges, grasses, hostas and ferns
  • Sources, gardens to visit around the world, and further readings.

With a wide variety of old favorites and an exciting selection of rarities, Perennials is widely recognized as the indispensable and inspiring reference for color and variety for all sites and soil conditions.

Comprehensive illustrated directory of 2,500 perennials. Includes planting tips, design ideas and sources. Illustrated throughout in color.

Publisher: Willowdale, Ont : Firefly, c1991, 2002
ISBN: 9781552096390
Characteristics: 476 p. : ill. ; cm
Alternative Title: Rix, Martyn


From the critics

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Mar 25, 2011

Here are some of the main points that I felt were significant. They appeared in a review of the book as it appeared in Booklist

Perennials includes about 2,500 temperate zone plants

They are grouped by families within each season or flowering time (spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer and autumn). A bit of a problem for the novice who figures poppies bloom in fall. But, on the other hand, it is instructive in telling the reader when a plant can be expected to bloom --- no point in expecting the asters or sneezeweed to bloom with the irises.

It which features small type --- not good for older eyes, poor lighting or the visually challenged.

An abundance of large, clear, colour photographs. Now that's real eye candy. And it also expands your horizons beyond what you see at the neighbourhood grocery story or gardening center which frequently stock only this years's ten most commonly asked for designer plants.

Plants listed by their botanical or Latin names. --- not a plus for most novice gardeners.

Country of origin, natural habitat, physical characteristics, and leaf and petal measurements (in metrics) are given for every entry. Nice to know if you know where the country is and something about its climate --- both things to be hoped for in the advanced gardener.

Booklist says it has "Sketchy but adequate propagation information appears."

Book does not generally give hardiness zone data for these plants. What may be a perennial in England where this book is published may be dead in Orillia.

It has a glossary but it could be more extensive.

For me, the acid test that determines how worthwhile a book like this is hinges upon its ability to identify two plants that I’ve grown in the past but which got left behind a number of moves ago.
The first is a plant known to me as “Plume Poppy”. A search in the index was no help --- botanical names required. A quick trip to the internet got me the botanical name as well as a lot of other information about the plant. So now I was ready to look up Macleaya Cordata. And bingo --- the it was on page 259. Page 259 even had a picture of MC --- but not one by which I would have recognized the plant that used to rule the back of my flower bed.
The second plant was a little more difficult --- I didn’t know its name but I sure knew what it looked like and could pick it out of a line up. And sure enough, there it was, my long lost buddy, Persicaria affinis. Not only that, there were neat pictures of some of affinis’s relatives --- and a fine looking bunch they are too.

Booklist quote: "Though novices seeking detailed planting and care instructions need more basic guides, experienced horticulturalists will welcome this volume." Ditto.

And one thing Booklist didn't mention and to which I will attest:

Get this book; get inspired; and get gardening.

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