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Many gardeners know of Impatiens walleriana, the species that lies behind the myriad colorful garden varieties that brighten up containers, window boxes, and shady spots throughout the world. The genus Impatiens is enormous, comprising over a thousand species – many of which, although highly desirable, remain lilttle known to Western gardeners.
Raymond Morgan first examines Impatiens through a botanical lens, describing their physiology, morphology, and seed dispersal mechanisms. He then recounts Victorian-era plant-hunting forays into the Himalayas and notes how modern-day expeditions, with due concern to conservation, continue to bring back species that will eventually find their way into nursery catalogs and gardens.
Perhaps most excitingly, the author describes over 200 species ranging from Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayas to New Guinea. Along the way the reader is acquainted with remarkable species, including the giant African Impatiens tinctoria, which grows to 6 feet tall, and Tibet's ultramarine I. nanchabarwensis, which grows in the deepest canyon on earth. The genus Impatiens contains a wealth of untapped treasures for gardeners. With wonderful photographs complementing the detailed plant descriptions, Impatiens: The Vibrant World of Busy Lizzies, Balsams, and Touch-Me-Nots is essential reading for curious-minded gardeners keen to unearth this fascinating and largely unexplored genus.
Ray Morgan is a retired nurseryman with a longstanding interest in Impatiens. In Britain he holds the National Plant Collection of the genus, and he has traveled southern India extensively researching and photographing them. He has written articles for such magazines as The Garden, The Plantsman, and Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Before working as a nurseryman, Ray spent 30 years as an industrial chemist, leaving to open a nursery concentrating mainly on shrub production. On retirement he centered all his horticultural interest in impatiens. During the next few years he made friends with many people in India, gaining additional knowledge about these plants. Ray lives with his wife in South Wales.
"Everything you wanted to know about 200 species of the Impatiens genus, especially the flowers of Asia and Africa."
– LancasterOnline.com, 2008-01-12
"A sumptuously produced, richly illustrated book. But it ought to come with a warning because anyone already crazy about impatiens will be sorely tempted by the book to grow many more different kinds."
– Bill Scheick, Dallas Morning News 2008-02-22
"Provides solid advice on propagating, growing, treating the few diseases or pests they might fall prey to, and landscaping with these versatile plants."
– Jill Vig, Pacific Horticulture 2008-11-01