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The Ultimate Plant Book: Every Plant You Need for Your Garden    by Kate Bryant & Tony Rodd order for
Ultimate Plant Book
by Kate Bryant
Order:  USA  Can
Raincoast, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

To call it a tome does not do it justice. The Ultimate Plant Book is a hefty volume, rich in floral displays on almost every page - flip through it and you see all the colors of the rainbow. An Introduction to The Rewarding Garden, reminds us that gardening provides a creative outlet and 'a connection to the earth and the seasons that no other activity can offer.' Considerations for plant selection are discussed, as well as garden care, North America hardiness zones, and fruit, flower and leaf types.

Detailed sections cover: Trees; Shrubs; Annuals and Perennials; Grasses, Sedges, and Bamboos; Fruit Trees, Nut Trees, and Other Fruits; Bulbs, Corms, and Tubers; Cacti and Succulents; Vegetables and Herbs; Climbers and Creepers; Orchids; Ferns, Palms and Cycads. For each of the more than 2,250 plants mentioned (such as the Hydrangea), there is general information on types and appearance (with large color photos, over 1,800 in all), soil, sun and cultivation requirements, and an insightful Top Tip. A table lists varietal Favorites, noting their color and fragrance, blooming season, plant height and width, hardiness zone and frost tolerance. At the back of the book is a Glossary, as well as handy Seasonal Calendars and Cultivation Guidelines.

The Ultimate Plant Book makes an excellent reference for the serious gardener. In particular, its profusion of colorful images and details on varieties of each plant facilitates garden planning and selection of flowers, shrubs and trees for different locations. I expect to make good use of this informative volume over the years and seasons.

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