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The Gardening Guru
Mahwah, NJ 07430

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The Gardening Guru's Book Review

I have created this web page to help “steer” you through the incredible amount of horticultural books that are available to you, to give you an idea of which books are worth purchasing, and which ones you are better off reading at your local library or bookstore for free. Remember, even the Gardening Guru admits that he does not know everything about gardening. Life is a continual learning experience, and so it is with gardening. This month’s book review is:

Flora: A Gardener's Encyclopedia

by Chief Consultant Sean Hogan


This comprehensive, beautifully illustrated encyclopedia contains information on more than 20,000 plants from all around the world. Organized in an A-to-Z format by botanical name, the individual entries provide a detailed description of each plant and its features, including notes on origin, cultivation requirements, growth habit, propagation, and pests and diseases. The introduction explains how the 12 climatic zones work and looks at the environment and the plants that grow in those zones. Also included are lists of plants suitable for growing in specific areas and ideas for garden design.

Flora covers all the plant groups: trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials, bulbs, corms and tubers, cacti and succulents, lawns, ground covers, ornamental grasses, herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, other fruits, nut trees, palms and cycads, ferns, climbers and creepers, and orchids. Written by a team of international botanical and horticultural writers, this book will allow all gardeners to choose the perfect plants for their garden and to expand their knowledge on the wealth of plants available. The stunning color photography from all around the world is the perfect complement to the text.

This book is a “must have” for any person that wants to know everything about the plants they grow now or would like to incorporate into their garden in the future.  I found this book to be easy to use as well as understand, and one of those rare gardening reference books that will be a steadfast companion on my shelf.  Not only is there the practical, written information that we all need, but in addition to that is the tremendous photographs that not only show you the plant, but also show you it growing “in the wild”.  Just from the pictures you can tell if the plant is properly suited for your own local.  A truly useful gardening reference book only comes out once in our lifetimes – this is the book for ours. 

0-88192-538-1, 1584 pp, 2 volumes with slipcase (not sold separately), over 11,000 color photos, 101 color illustrations, 14 maps, CD-ROM included with first edition, 9 x 12", hardcover, © 2003.  The suggested retail price is $99.95, and is available at Timber Press

If you would like this reviewed copy of Flora, a retail value of $99.95 for free (Courtesy of Timber Press and The Gardening Guru), please send an email including your name and mailing address with Gardening Book contest in the subject line to The winner will be notified by email on January 31, 2004, and must agree to have their name and state publicized on the Gardening Guru’s web site.  Good Luck and Good Gardening! Dave