374 pages, 500 col photos
Finding an array of unique and diverse plants for shade might seem like a daunting task, with limited options available to the gardener. Shade perennial expert W. George Schmid dispels this perception in his new encyclopedia. This companionable reference provides information on more than 7000 species and cultivars in 184 genera, from Acanthus to Woodwardia - some new to horticulture, others unjustly overlooked, but all beautifully suited to the shade garden. Schmid has behind him a half century of practical gardening experience, horticultural education, and extensive travel observing shade perennials in their native habitats; readers are therefore treated to both useful growing tips and his personal associations with the plants. The expert text is rounded out with 500 stunning color photographs, many taken by the author himself.
A man who loves shade and loves plants, W. George Schmid is a botanist in tune with gardeners. From early childhood he has been fascinated with shade and the safety it offers to both flora and fauna. In this encyclopaedia he opens up a world of wonder in the darkened corners of nature - colourful flowers and foliage all thriving in shaded conditions. Whilst most people view a shady garden as difficult, Schmid demonstrates how untrue this opinion is. From his obvious favourites of hostas, trilliums, ferns and tricyrtis, he shares rarer gems such us uvularias, mertensias and sanguinarias. Bamboos and grasses, ground covering selaginella and towering rheums, the range is truly awe-inspiring and should dispel any gardener's initial despair with a shady plot. Whilst lacking in photographic accompaniments apart from the central pages, this is more than made up with the text, a personal account of Schmid's experience with each genus, enhanced by his amusing writing and sound plantsmanshp. A valuable addition to any shade gardeners library. - Lucy Watson
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