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Flora - The Gardeners BibleBOOK REVIEWS

Flora
The Gardener's Bible

Chief NZ consultant: Rachel Vogan
David Bateman Ltd
NZ$140-$195

THIS is the gardening blockbuster of the year - an encyclopaedia whose sheer volume relegates other botanical reference books to the shade. Comprehensive and pertinently illustrated, Flora contains information on more than 20,000 of the world's plants.

Most of the entries are for annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs and landscape trees, but coverage also includes bulbs, corms, tubers, bamboos, bromeliads, cacti, succulents, climbers, creepers, cycads, palms, ferns, grasses, orchids, herbs, fruits and vegetables.

The introduction outlines the differences of plant groups and hardiness zones, but the primary arrangement is an A-Z by scientific name. Genera are introduced with descriptions of their common physical characteristics, diversity, ranges and cultivation requirements. Species entries note the synonyms, common names, sun aspect, hardiness, spread and height of each plant. Also described are the places of origin, flowering season and colour, as well as horticultural uses.

Award-winning plants are noted for gardeners and more than 10,000 colour photos illustrate the entries.

A complementary CD offers alternative approaches to the text, particularly by plant groups and uses. A "plant chooser" allows the user to select plants by hardiness zones, flower colour, height, sun position and use. Other features include links to web-sites and a spell-checker for botanical names.

A word of warning, the single volume is a seriously heavy (as in weighty) book. For ease of reference think about buying one of the two-volume works.

Flora's recommended retail prices are $140 for the single volume; 2-volume set $150; 2-volume deluxe edition $195.

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

Weekend Gardener


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Last updated: March 1, 2021