Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gardening Book Review

Review: Encyclopedia of Northwest Native Plants for Gardens and Landscapes, by Kathleen A. Robson, Alice Richter& Marianne Filbert. Timber Press, 2008

At over 500 pages and a color photograph of each plant, this is book gives a wealth of information on each plant- a detailed description right down to the number of sepals and stamens, what it’s soil, sun/shade, altitude and drainage preferences are, where it’s native range is, propagation, and any special notes. Divided into sections of ferns, conifers, annuals, perennials and trees & shrubs, the plants are then arranged alphabetically. At the end of the book are lists of plants for special situations- drought tolerant, for bogs, to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds, for erosion control.

Because it’s not arranged by flower color like the Taylor’s guide is (and also because of its size) it’s not a handy field guide, but a book to sit down with at home and read. It has an extensive range- from the California redwood area on up into Alaska- so a lot of the plants won’t be found in our area. But if you are interested in using native plants, this is an excellent book. It will help you to not just find and grow the plants, but to grow them well. And because of the sheer number of plants in it, it’s a fun guide once you have some idea what you’re looking for. For instance, that clematis I’ve seen along the Clark Fork River? Clematis ligusticfolia. Timber Press books always prints quality books, and this one is well worth the price.

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