296 pages, 369 colour illustrations
The proteas (Proteaceae) are a large and ancient plant family of Gondwana origins with an impressive diversity of flower and form, and an intriguing distribution pattern throughout mainly the Southern Hemisphere. In his spectacular photography, Lewis J. Matthews has captured the stunning beauty and unique characteristics of a broad range of cultivated species and cultivars. Some of these are well known while others are either new introductions or lesser-known examples considered to be worthy of wider cultivation.
For inclusion in Protea, Matthews has chosen a broad selection of the best species and varieties, many of which are very dramatic and have not been seen in print before. They are certain to inspire readers to grow them in their gardens where climate and soils are suitable. Since his last publication, The Protea Book, in 2002, there have been numerous outstanding new hybrids introduced to cultivation, many of extraordinary beauty. The stunning hybrid leucospermums ('Pins'), bred at the University of Hawaii's Research Station on Maui is a prime example of the successful work being carried out by plant breeders. In Protea, a multitude of related species and new varieties are described and illustrated: from the giant king protea of South Africa to the spidery grevilleas of Australia; from the delicious macadamia nut of Queensland to the unusual New Zealand rewarewa (Knightia); from the richly colored New South Wales waratah to the dainty blushing bride (Serruria) of South Africa's Cape; from the beautiful South American Lomatia ferruginea to subtly colored Australian examples.
In climates unsuitable for growing, the flowers are often imported and featured in exotic, long-lasting floral arrangements; brightening home decor in harsh winters. Even gardeners who are unable to cultivate these unique plants will enjoy being fascinated by the incredible variation of form and color depicted in this beautiful book. Whether for the home gardener, commercial flower grower, or nursery professional, this outstanding, lavishly illustrated book provides a valuable reference tool and gives a fresh look at both proteas that are well known, as well as those that are recent arrivals on the scene. Chapters include comprehensive advice on growing requirements, propagation, uses in garden situations, which ones attract birds, cut-flower production – all facets of protea are covered in this very extensive guide.
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