Encyclopedia of Perennials

  • 4 June 2021 4:52 pm


Encyclopedia of Perennials Editor-in-Chief: Graham Rice

Sometimes you come across a book you know will be one of the most useful books you possess, constantly off the bookshelf and in your hands, one you will enjoy for years to come. The Encyclopedia of Perennials is such a book.

The most popular group of plants in the UK are hardy perennials. Go to any garden or flower show – Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace, Tatton or Gardeners’ World – and the displays are full of perennials. In fact, throughout Europe hardy perennials now fill the gardens.

Every gardener will want a copy of the new Encyclopedia of Perennials. It both informs and inspires. Editor-in-Chief, Graham Rice, is an acknowledged expert and enthusiast and his team of 40 contributors are all experts in their own speciality. But this is not a dry tome, full of botanical impenetrability, it is highly readable and readers will be encouraged to keep dipping into the book to discover unknown plants or new facts about familiar ones as well as using it for specific reference.

The introduction clearly defines a hardy perennial – not bulbs, alpines, trees or shrubs – how they are used in the garden, their hardiness and how they are named.

From acaena to zingiber, there are entries for 5,000 plants and 1,400 colour photographs in the A to Z guide. Attention to detail is on every page. A very practical book, every letter of the alphabet in the A-Z has a different colour corner, so helpful when searching for a particular plant.

Each entry describes the plant, gives details of propagation, cultivation and any problems the gardener may encounter and then lists the species and cultivars. There may be suggestions on planting schemes or suitable planting companions. And, of course, many are beautifully illustrated, although occasionally it is difficult to determine the size of the plant or its flowers just from the photograph and you need to refer to the text.

Scattered throughout the book are Gardeners’ Notes, informative panels giving useful tips, planting advice and background information. The panel may explain how the plant was named, its history, particular problems that may be encountered, its usefulness or not in the garden, the structure of its flowers, how it has been affected by changing fashions. These panels are packed with fascinating information and will draw the reader back time after time to seek to enlarge their knowledge of this deservedly popular group of plants.

Unusually, this encyclopedia not only gives detailed information, but it is also a good read.

Encyclopedia of Perennials Editor-in-Chief: Graham Rice published by D K at £25.00