University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial Publications : Book of the Month

Herbaceous Perennial Plants
Allan Armitage.  2008.  Stipes Publ.  Third Ed.  softcover, 1224pp

 If I were stranded on an island, and that island had perennials, and I could bring only a few reference books, this would be the first.  The previous two editions have been my bibles of perennials for years, and this should prove the same. 

Similar to the earlier editions, the book is about perennials from A to Z, their species, cultivars, and other variations.  For each genus, general information is given, including a quick table reference to species if several are discussed.  For each species is given key information such as flower color, time of bloom, origin, height and width, and hardiness.  What follows for each species is a detailed discussion of origin, culture, propagation, and other interesting bits.  Key cultivars of a species, if they exist, are listed with a sentence or two description.  All is written in the same reader-friendly style of the previous editions, with the author’s humor and interesting facts.

Different from the earlier editions, this one is larger (7x10x2.25in) and so heavier—my only complaint.  But on the positive side, from all the use I give this book, my hands will surely get good exercise and stronger lifting it around so much!  Plants, and plant names are of course updated covering 3,600 species.  And the stage is set with several introduction pages on the author’s view on various topics from gardening and design to nomenclature, as well as helpful tips in these pages to understand perennial culture in various locations.

For those not familiar with the author, he has been growing perennials in Georgia for over 25 years, having grown them prior in Michigan and Montreal.  He is a university teacher and researcher, world traveler, and well-known speaker.  He has written 11 books which serve as excellent references as well.

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