237 pages, 320 col photos
Given their diversity and versatility, it is surprising that palms are underutilized in landscapes and gardens, even in tropical climes. Several reasons account for this, including misconceptions about the plants' growing requirements and unfamiliarity with their ornamental qualities. This pocket guide remedies both problems. It unlocks the keys to successfully growing 200 of the most common and easily obtainable palm species and hybrids, and it highlights botanical characteristics that are of interest to gardeners and landscapers.
Each description includes details of trunk, crownshaft, leaf, flower, and fruit to assist in plant identification and selection. The extensive cultivation notes include details of mature tree size, cold hardiness, and light, soil, and water requirements. Suggestions for using the plants indoors and out will help even novice gardeners know where to start, and succinct information on seed germination will assist anyone who wants to grow palms from seed.
Although [it] is an outstanding companion for plant lovers visiting nurseries or botanic gardens, its value goes well beyond an identification guide. ... Will prove invaluable to local gardeners. -- Charles Reynolds Lakeland Ledger 20080404 Copiously illustrated with high-quality color photographs, the text is concise, complete, and includes tropical plant expert Riffle's personal appraisal of each plant's horticultural utility. -- G. D. Dreyer Choice 20080901
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Robert Lee Riffle (1940-2006) was an internationally recognized authority on palms and tropical plants. His landmark book, The Tropical Look: An Encyclopedia of Dramatic Landscape Plants (1998), won an American Horticultural Society Book Award, as did An Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms (2003), which he co-wrote with Paul Craft. For 25 years Bob was a strong presence online, answering questions and encouraging gardeners in their endeavors via postings on garden and plant message boards. He generously shared his extensive knowledge gently and with wit as the moderator of the International Palm Society's active PalmTalk message board. Bob was an accomplished pianist, a gifted photographer, and an enthusiastic film buff. He had finished writing the manuscript for the Timber Press Pocket Guide to Palms when he passed away unexpectedly.