Gardener's Guide to Growing Fritillaries
By Kevin Pratt and Michael
Published by David Charles (UK) and Florilegium (Australia and New
Hardback $NZ69.95; Paperback $NZ49.95
Reviewed by Gordon Collier,
Titoki Point, Taihape
This attractive book is
a worthy companion to the other titles already published in the series,
viz Hellebores, hardy Geraniums, Lilies, Hostas and Ivies. It is the
first for over 50 years to be devoted to Fritillaries, that most exquisite
flowering bulb, and while not posing as a monograph of that genus
it achieves the stated purpose of acting as a practical guide to growers
and non growers alike.
The authors have had
many years experience as growers of fritillaries and freely share
their knowledge with readers. Kevin Platt is the English holder
of the National collection of Fritillaries and writes with authority.
Together they write in a language easily understood by gardeners
and in explaining botanical technicalities take care not to baffle
their following. Simple black and white drawings and superb colour
photographs back up the written word and are an enormous help with
identification of these somewhat confusing bulbs.
The book gives detailed
information on botany, cultivation, soils, propagation, and planting
of fritillaries. Many who grow their prize bulbs in containers will
find the section on pot culture particularly useful. The authors
believe that plastic pots rather than clay may be best for these
The chapters on Fritillaries
in the wild and in North America are fascinating.
The second part of the
book is devoted to an A-Z listing nearly 100 species containing
information on history, botanical status, availability, behavior
in cultivation, and cultural requirements. This will be an invaluable
quick reference. Collectors will be inspired to greater efforts
but many of these species we can only dream about. While some information
such as "where" to buy and see (fritillaries) will frustrate southern
hemisphere gardeners, the appendices with which the authors conclude
provide a useful resource.
All who grow these enchanting
plants will find this superbly illustrated book seductive reading.
I recommend it and look forward to future volumes Galanthus,
Erythroniums, and Trilliums perhaps??
Zealand Garden Journal: Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute
of Horticulture 2000 3(1): 21-22
from Touchwood Books
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