My first introduction to Perennials for Every Purpose: Choose the Right Plants for Your Conditions, Your Garden, and Your Taste by Larry Hodgson (2003) was finding the 2000 edition on the shelves at the Jacksonville Public Library. Ultimately, I decided I needed it on my own bookshelves and took myself off to amazon.com where I found a “New” or “Like New” version of the 2003 Edition for $2.08 plus another $3.99 for shipping. These days, I buy all of my books from the new or used vendors on amazon. It’s the only way I can afford them. By paying careful attention to the description of the book’s condition and the percent rating of the vendor, I have been consistently pleased with my purchases.
The majority of Amazon reviewers gave this book a five star rating and obviously I am in agreement since I forked over Real Money for my own copy.
The good news for you is that it was written and edited at Rodale Press before they apparently fired all their editors. You won’t find annoying sentences that freeze your eyeballs in disbelief. One of Rodale’s 2011 offerings was so poorly edited that I gave up on it before reaching the second chapter. I wouldn’t have given it half a star. I don’t blame the writer. The job of an editor is to fine tune an author’s work to best represent both the writer and the publishing house.
With “more than 700 perennials,” Rodale Press accurately depicted Perennials for Every Purpose as encyclopedic. Each perennial has a two page spread with a color photo of the plant and flower. Also included are growing tips, companion plants, problems/solutions, recommended varieties and a sidebar Plant Profile with all of the vital statistics such as bloom color, bloom time, length of bloom, height, spread, ways it can be used (container, cut flower garden, meadow, etc.), light and soil preference, how to propagate and – DRUM ROLL – info on both the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones and the AHS (American Horticultural Society) Heat Zones. The heat zone information is particularly valuable to gardeners in the deep south. In other words, a plant may be hardy but not heat tolerant in the southern zones of Northeast Florida and even further south. The inclusion of this information is why I bought my own copy of the book.
In Part 1, author Hodgson covers starting your garden, picking the perfect perennials, designing your dream garden, and plant care. In Part 2, he covers ever blooming, spring blooming, summer blooming, fall blooming, no care, low care, drought resistant, water loving, shade loving, fab foliage, groundcover and pollinator perennials. Great book!
Thanks to Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys for hosting the Garden Book Reviews meme.