Perry's Perennial Pages

Perennial Publications--Plants, specific

Main page, New
Basics, Encyclopedias
Pests and Problems
Plants, General
Plants, Specific

(note: This listing primarily contains books on genera, and is arranged alphabetically by genus)

The Gardeners Guide to Growing Asters
Paul Picton. 1999. Timber Press.
This is a wide-ranging study of the genus with detailed descriptions of many species and cultivars.  Chapters cover the history of asters all over the world, as well as their botany and cultivation.  This guide indicates the vast range of asters for use in gardens, in containers and as cut flowers.  It is ideal for gardeners because it has expert guidance on cultivation and control of pests and diseases.  Also very helpful to gardeners are the bright color photos and color plates that show the various flower types of the species examined.   Paul Picton is a  co-owner of Picton Garden and Old Court Nursery in England, where he and his wife maintain the NCCPG National Reference Collection of asters.  Picton has raised many cultivars on his own and has 30 years experience as a lecturer and writer.

Campanulas – A Gardener’s Guide
Peter Lewis & Margaret Lynch.  1998.  B.T. Barsford Ltd.
This book is for all committed gardeners as well as botanists and plant specialists.  Alphabetically organized by species, it provides a very precise and thorough guide of this important world wide genus,  lists of ideas for cultivation, plant associations, and uses for gardens large and small.  Included are a number of large color close-ups of species in gardens and in the wild.  Many of the color pictures are aided by black and white drawings.  Other species not pictured in color are shown in black and white line drawings.  Peter Lewis is operator of a nursery in Norwalk and co-keeper of the National Collection of Campanulas.  Maragret Lynch has served as the executive of the Hardy Plants Society and the National Collections Committee of the NCCPG.

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis (more in-depth review)
Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds.  2001.  Timber Press.  428 pp, hardcover.
Other than gardens in hot climates (this genus prefers cool), Clematis have a vast range of species and cultivars, varying in hardiness, but with at least some for most gardens.  This extensive reference covers over 550 selections, with 652 color photos.  The first part of the book is a thorough yet quite readable coverage of clematis history and culture.  Illustrations show plant parts and culture, photos show design possibilities. The second part is an A to Z listing of selections, with descriptions and cultural specifics for each.  At the end are several appendices, such as clematis by groups and by flower color.  For home gardeners and commercial growers alike of this genus, this is a valuable reference.

Clematis, The Genus.
Christopher Grey-Wilson.  2000.  Timber Press.  218pp, hardcover.  One of the most in-depth references on this genus to date, it contains much horticultural information organized botanically.  The basics of cultivation are covered in the beginning, followed by chapters on the botany of the genus, from leaves through flowers, and how they are classified.  The majority of the book is discussion of the nine subgenera of the genus, with subsections of each, and species and eventually some of the cultivars of each.  Each species is largely the botanical synonyms and description, with distribution, habitat and a few notes as well.  Also given are codes for hardiness and pruning group.

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Dahlias.
Gareth Rowlands.  1999. Timber Press.  160pp.  A plant breeder by trade, the author has worked with and bred and written on dahlias for many years in the UK.  Most of this book covers what the dahlia is and how it is grown-- the botany including types and species, use in the garden cultivation, propagation, pests and diseases.  Unlike other such books on genera, this one also covers raising new varieties and exhibiting dahlias.  About a third of the book is on thge A-Z of dahlia cultivars in cultivation.  At the end these are then grouped into select lists, but flower type, for both British and US varieties.  Appendices tell where to read more, see and buy dahlias.  Well-illustrated.

Euphorbias – a Gardener’s Guide
Roger Turner.  1995.  (in Association with the Hardy Plant Society) Timber Press.
This guide details all euphorbias suitable for outdoor cultivation in Britain, Europe, and North America.  Introductory chapters cover taxonomic status of the genus and family Euphorbiaceae as well as their basic botany.  Further chapters provide information on identification, cultivation and propagation.  The core of this guide illustrates over 80 species together with a wide range of cultivated varieties.  Each of these plants are described in color, growth, habitat, and plant association.  These descriptions are aided by a number of color photographs but more importantly by great and very detailed line drawings.  This guide is very understandable and easy to follow for any active gardener or horticulturist.  Roger Turner is involved deeply with the Hardy Plant Society, and National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.   He also lectures on various gardening subjects.

Hardy Geraniums (more in-depth review)
Peter Yeo. 2002, Timber Press, 218pp, hardcover, 2nd ed.
If you are a serious gardener interested in this genus, then this reference is for you.  It is an expanded and updated version of the author's classic first work, containing over 50 color photos and many line drawings and silhouettes, particularly of the leaves in order to tell them apart.  The first few chapters include such topics as history, garden culture, and botanical aspects such as structure and terms for plant parts.  Most of the book is plant descriptions, with in-depth but understandable descriptions, native habitats and locations. The author is a taxonomist, formerly at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and has written other books and articles.

The Gardeners Guide to Growing Hellebores
Graham Rice and Elizabeth Strangman. 1997. Timber Press.
This is a great guide to this captivating spring flower that bursts through at the end of winter.  This book provides advice on propagation, improvement of plants through breeding and selection, accounts of species in the wild, and descriptions of varieties.  There is an extensive chapter on associating hellebores with other plants and how arranging groupings for mass plantings can affect a garden.  Magnificent color photos show individual flowers, leaves and whole plants.  Also included are some great line drawings showing leaf forms.  Graham Rice has written a number of books and contributed to all major gardening magazines, served eight years on the staff of “Practical Gardening” magazine, served on several committees of the Hardy Plant Society, and is a member of the Floral Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society.  Elizabeth Strangman for over twenty years has raised and marketed many new strains of hellebores, and built up an international reputation for choice plants she supplied at her nursery  in  Kent, England.

Hemerocallis – Daylilies
Walter Erhardt.  1992.  Timber Press.
This book comprehensively covers every aspect of history and cultivation on daylilies a gardener could ask for.  Also included are botanical characteristics, modern hybrids’ descriptions, and how to chose appropriate varieties.   Accompanying these descriptions are guidance on propagation, cultivation, control of pests and diseases, and suggestions for uses.  There are a selections of colored photos that show close-ups of flowers.  There are also a number of very detailed and accurate line drawings.  Walter Erhardt is very highly regarded for his knowledge and experiences with growing both species and varieties of daylilies.  He has also spent many years assessing modern American hybrids for use in Europe.

The Gardeners Guide to Growing Hostas
Diane Greenfell.  1996.  Timber Press.
This is a full and wide ranging study of the genus by one of the world’s leading hosta growers.  In this work is advice on cultivation, propagation and uses for hostas.  It includes an A to Z plant directory encompassing over 400 cultivars and forms.  There is also information on the history, botany and collections of the world.  This work has excellent color pictures showing the color and form of leaves as well as habit, aided by outstanding detailed line drawings showing the undersides of leaves and flower forms.  Diane Greenfell is a founding member and V.P. of the British Hosta and Hemerocall Society and life member of the American Hosta Society.  She also has a well know nursery in Apple Court, Hampshire offering over 80 species and cultivars of hostas as well as daylilies, ferns and grasses.

The Genus Iris.
William Rickatson Dykes.  1974 (1913). Dover Publ.  245pp, hardcover.  This reprint of the first and foremost classical work on irises is a must for any serious iris grower and gardener.  Written by the foremost iris authority, grower, and breeder of the time, it established the first classification system for this complex genus--the basis for all future work.  Unlike other such works, however, this is written to be understood by the lay gardener and non-botanist.  Prior to the classification into sections-- the main part of the book-- the author briefly discusses the literature of iris to that time, the botany and distribution worldwide, and diseases.  Another feature of the book, valuable to even non iris growers, are the 47 accurate and beautiful watercolors of iris by F.H. Round.

Iris, the Classic Bearded Varieties
Claire Austin.  2001.  Viking Studio (Penquin). hardcover 104pp.
This is an art book as much as one on bearded iris, with special and close-up photography of over 70 recommended varieties, both tall bearded and the lower and more varied median types.  As such it is a book worthy of iris growers, yet helps beginners choose varieties, how to design them, and how to plant and care for them.  Each cultivar also has specific information such as breeder, when introduced and similar selections.  The wonderful layout and photos are a result of the author's first career as a book illustrator, the information and selections from her subsequent career as a nursery grower in the UK of iris and other hardy plants.

Lavender, the grower's guide
McNaughton, Virginia.  2000.  Garden Art Press.  hard cover, 180 pp.  A must for anyone interested in growing this plant at home or commercially, this book is written by a lavender specialist from New Zealand and applies anywhere.  After general cultivation tips, propagation and pests and diseases, the real meat of the book begins.  Chapters follow on the botany of lavender, and its history and classification.  Then over 200 species and cultivars of lavender are described with many illustrated with crisp photographs.  Lavenders are also listed by regions they are found growing, corolla color or other distinguishing feature, for containers, and others by country.

2002. Barbara Perry Lawton.  Timber Press.  239pp, hardcover. (more in-depth review)
This book is about all mints, the first to treat all the Mint family (Lamiaceae or Labiatae), all 67 genera. Thus it is appropriately subtitled "A Family of Herbs and Ornamentals."  Of course when one mentions mint the "true mints" (Mentha) come to mind, which of course are part of these.  But in addition are members used for cooking, aromatic properties, and just ornamentals. Each of these is treated in a chapter overview, including cultural tips, with the last part of the book and A-Z listing of the common and probably never heard of members by most.  Each plant has a short description with hardiness rating.  There are also chapters on mints in history and lore, weedy mints, pests and diseases and the botany of mints.  Written to be understood easily by the average gardener, the wealth of information on this family make it a useful reference as well to professionals.

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Hardy Perennial Orchids  (more in-depth review)
William Mathis.  2005.  The Wild Orchid Company, Doylestown, PA. softcover, 93pp. (
Whether you're interested in this group of plants already, or want to grow some different plants, you should consider the wonderful reference.  Compact, well-written in a quite readable style for the average gardener, and lavishly illustrated with color photos and drawings, it is an excellent introduction and reference to this little-known group of native plants.  As the author makes clear, there are such orchids that can be grown by gardeners in most areas, and given a few needs many are easier to grow than most think.

The Peony
Alice Harding. 1993.  Timber Press.
This edition comprehensively combines Harding’s most important elements of two previous books:  The Book of the Peony and Peonies in the Little Garden.  This book focuses extensively on topics of cultivation of both tree and herbaceous peonies including the topics of soil and disease control.  The Foreward and Appendixes are by Roy G. Klehm, Emeritus of the American Peony Society.  The Appendixes offer the latest info on hybrid varieties, disease and pest updates and mail order sources.  Included in this work are bright and vivid color photos showing close-ups of flowers.  Alice Harding has
brought together in her garden at Burnley Farm a world renowned collection of herbaceous and tree peonies.    Her horticultural expertise is widely recognized with a rose, an iris, two French hybrid lilacs, a tree peony, and two herbaceous peonies are named in her honor.

Allan Rogers. 1995.  Timber Press.
Expert information of the genus and its many cultivars as well as over 30 species are covered in this work.  Emphasis is on peonies currently available in nurseries and those used in new hybrids.  Also covered are 150 “first-class favorites” of collectors and growers.  Detailed information on collecting and growing peonies as well as advice on culture, sites, purchasing and propagation of both tree and herbaceous peonies is also included.  Allan Rogers owned and operated Caprice Farm Nursery-- a successful peony nursery and mail order supplier-- for over twenty years.  He has written and lectured on peonies as well as other perennials.  He served as Director on the board of the Perennial Plant Association for eight years.

The Genus Paeonia
Josef Halda.  2004.  Timber Press.  hardcover, 227pp.
This is a valuable reference for serious peony growers, covering extensively the many species, not the common hybrids one normally finds.  Written by a Czech botanist, it is quite readable by serious enthusiasts, organized botanically, covering such topics as taxonomy and distribution.  The author has collected many of these species and his notes on such are quite interesting.  Cultural information is provided by a Midwest peony specialist James Waddick.  The reference is worth having alone for the incredibly detailed and accurate line drawings of leaves, and color botanical illustrations of flowers, by the author’s wife Jarmila Haldova.

John Richards.  2003.  Timber Press.  hardcover, 346pp.
This is a book on the botany and taxonomy of this genus, written by an English botanist, so covers the species and not the many cultivars and hybrids gardeners commonly find.  After a brief introduction on culture, the book gets right into the evolutionary history of the genus, incorporating into this revised edition (first published 1993) results from DNA research.  A whole chapter follows just on the mating system of the genus.  Most of the book is a listing of species, organized botanically within subgenus and sections.  For each is given such information as description, distribution, variations (such as subspecies), cultivation, and hybridization.  A useful glossary covers the many specific botanical terms one finds in the text and appropriate for this genus.

A Book of Salvias – Sages for Every Garden
Betsy Clebsch, Timber Press, 1997
With these plants growing in popularity, this book describes 100 beautiful, garden worthy species and dozens of commercially significant hybrids from the common garden sage to the rare Salvia cedrosensis.  Information included covers botanical description, habit, blooming cycle, cultural practices, recommended companion plants, and historical tidbits.  Bright color photos show close-ups and habit of many species, with others shown in detailed color drawings.  Also included are black and white line drawings showing each individual flower shape and form.  This is a very organized and easy to follow book, with useful  sections such as species for shade, containers, cold, etc.  Betsy Clebsch is a noted amateur botanist and horticulturalist in Northern California.  She has participated in many plant explorations and exchanges of seed and rare plants with botanical gardens around the world.

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Salvias.
John Sutton.  1999.  Timber Press.  160pp, hardcover.  Salvias are a huge genus, and have become popular garden plants in recent years.  Now there is a reference on this group, written by an author who is a writer, teacher and has been growing these in the UK for many years.  Beginning with the botany, history, and people of salvia fame, he then covers cultivation.  The majority of the book covers the many plants, grouped by annuals, hardy perennial, half hardy perennials, and shrubs.  Finally there is a chapter on propagation, national collections and salvias outside the UK.  Appendices list some salvias, where to read more on them, buy them and see them. Well-illustrated.

Sedum--Cultivated Stonecrops
Ray Stephenson. 1984. Timber Press.
These sun loving, drought resistant plants have been prized by rock and alpine gardeners for years.  This book provides a complete guide of sedums for anyone to utilize.  This study describes more than 400 species and varieties, tells the difference between species, and facilitates correct identification.  Through detailed descriptions this book helps identify stonecrops by cultural size, spread and appearance.  Information is also provided on cultivation, propagation and habit of each sedum species.  Included are 110 color plates, 100 black and white photos and 50 line drawings.  The color photos are quite vivid and provide great close-ups.  The line drawings show individual leaf sizes and forms, plant forms, and root structures.  This comprehensive book is broken down into organized chapters that are easy to follow. The author is the Founder and Chairman of Sedum Society in England, and also authors the society’s newsletter.  His Northumberland garden has over 800 stonecrops, making it the most diverse collection in the world.

Main page, New
Basics, Encyclopedias
Pests and Problems
Plants, General
Plants, Specific

Where am I?  Perry's Perennial Pages |  Publications