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Armitage's Garden Perennials: A Color Encyclopedia

By Allan M. Armitage

The next best thing to having your own personal garden consultant standing by 24/7.

Country Living Gardener

Armitage's Garden Perennials is the most comprehensive single-volume photographic resource on perennial plants. It describes and illustrates the choice of perennials in 136 genera from Acanthus to Zauschneria.

The book's greatest strengths are the quality of its more than 1400 photographs, all taken by the author, and the exhaustive information on the most interesting, important, or overlooked perennial plants. Based on his own extensive experience — he has gardened in climates as dissimilar as Quebec and Georgia and studied plants on three continents — Armitage makes a discerning selection of the best cultivars, from classics to cutting-edge recent introductions.

The text is concise and delightful, like a private tutorial with a master teacher. The reader will have no doubt about which plants the author most admires ("What else do you know that is big, bold, and beautiful and wants to be planted in a bog?") and which fall short ("Variegated coral bells like 'Snowstorm' ought to be trashed. I am constantly told how wonderful they are. I don't listen. To each his own.")

The encyclopedia is rounded out by more than a dozen extensive lists of plants suitable for particular situations or uses, including plants for wet places, for drought tolerance, and for fragrance or color. It is a noteworthy addition to Timber Press's acclaimed series of pictorial encyclopedias that includes Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs and Rick Darke's Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes.

Awards for this book: Garden Writers Association of America Quill & Trowel Award

Media reviews

"Has beautiful color photos with descriptions."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"Armitage loves to spin a story. He tells the truth about perennials from his own rich experiences ... With his humorous asides, you will quickly recognize a kindred spirit who wants to grow every plant yet confesses that he has killed his fair share, just like the rest of us."

—Barbara Blossom Ashmun, Fine Gardening

"Why do so many garden references read more like an old, dry chemistry textbook? Well-known plantsman Allan Armitage has come to the rescue. His new book, Armitage's Garden Perennials is brimming with lively descriptions and unabashed opinions."

—Janet Loughrey, Oregonian

"[Californians] may enjoy several books on perennials just published, including Armitage's Garden Perennials by Allan Armitage. None of these [books] are written with California in mind, but then people who love growing the unlikely probably won't care."

—Robert Smaus, Los Angeles Times

"Armitage's Garden Annuals: A Color Encyclopedia by Allan M. Armitage will set you on the right garden path in no time."

—Marge Hols, St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Rich with photographs of both the plants and their garden use. This book can be a really good help to the novice who is looking for combination ideas."

—Georgene Bramlage, Suite101.com

"[A] comprehensive, very helpful guide to perennials."

—Connie Krochmal, Washington Daily News

"Beginning, and even veteran, gardeners are often looking for a little more guidance. Award-winning horticulturist and prolific garden writer Allan Armitage provides that guidance in this selective guide to his favorite garden perennials."

Lawrence Looks at Books

"Last year I mentioned a few reference books that were a 'must' for any serious gardener. One was Armitage’s previous perennial book. This color encyclopedia is very different from that work and would make a wonderful addition to any gardener’s library. It has 324 pages packed with 1465 good-size color photographs. If you prefer to learn visually, this is the book for you!"

—Naomi Buckman, Conway Daily Sun

"Not only does Armitage’s Garden Perennials, A Color Encyclopedia do a great job of providing ample photos of each plant ... it also provides the kind of information that truly helps you to decide whether to give a plant a try or not."

Shade Gardening Gazette

"Truly refreshing."

—Lynn McNaughton, Waseca County News

"Armitage is THE perennial guru, and this color encyclopedia is the next best thing to an across-the-coffee-table chat with him on the inside word about anything perennial."

—George Weigel, Harrisburg Patriot-News

"Strongly pictorial, with nearly 1,500 excellent photographs."

—Sara Williams, Gardener for the Prairies

"The text is garden writing at its best, I think — lively, personal, informative, entertaining, and opinionated."

—Ethel Fried, Garden Notebook

"His opinions, wit and candid observations add to the written text and prove that he is a gardener to the core ... It will make a great gift for you ... I guarantee that this reference book will be a well-used part of your gardening library."

—Linda Cobb, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

"What makes Armitage's selections so intriguing are his easy, conversational style and the wealth of photos that accompany the text."

—Marge Howard-Jones, California Garden

"While this book is sure to become a fixture on the desk of every professional horticulturist, it is great reading and a recommended reference for novices."

—Robin Siktberg, Herb Society of America Newsletter

"Armitage's lists of recommendations prove especially effective guidelines for gardeners who want solid tips on how to work with perennials."

Midwest Book Review

"Absolutely brimming with excellent full-color photographs."


"Armitage has created another classic ... There is not another perennial book that contains more photographs in a single easy-to-use volume."

—Bill Funkhouser, Perennial Notes

"Essential for those designing perennial borders."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

"Sleek ‘pictorial encyclopedia’ ... A delight is the light-hearted humor that bubbles throughout."

—Carol Bishop Miller, Horticulture

"User-friendly and fun to read, yet still vastly knowledgeable."

—Carol Stocker, Boston Globe

"The book is the next best thing to having your own personal garden consultant standing by 24/7."

Country Living Gardener

"An illustrated guide — full of opinion — to garden-worthy perennials from all over the world."

—Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times Book Review

"The author's prose is exuberant and the color illustrations are superb."

—John van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger

"With 1,400-plus color photos, horticultural depth and breadth, and delightfully personal prose by a renowned expert in herbaceous perennials, this is my first-round pick."

—Susan McBride, National Gardener

"In the world of horticulture, Armitage stands out as an authoritative voice that gardeners depend on for guidance ... With its accessible writing style, abundant color photographs and final section listing plants suggested for specific conditions and purposes, Armitage’s latest work should be considered an essential addition to gardening collections."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"The book's strengths are the quality of its more than 1,400 photographs, all taken by the author, and the exhaustive information on the most interesting, important or overlooked perennial plants."

American Nurseryman

"The book has an easy-to-use format providing immediate access to plant information. One of the truly outstanding features is the abundance of color photos providing instant color identification of a given plant. It offers more photos than I have seen in any book on perennials."

—Richard Poffenbaugh, Mansfield News Journal

"A wonderful visual resource with 1465 of [Armitage's] stunning photos of all the most interesting and important plants (often several different shots), and overlooked but worthy candidates. The accompanying information is succinct, authoritative, personally experienced, and lively."

—Ann Milovsoroff, Pappus

"This is a good resource to add to gardening collections and one that is sure to be popular."

—Elaine Ezell, American Reference Books Annual

"Truly refreshing ... This is an excellent perennial book."

—Lynn Mcnaughton, Waseca County News

"This is a jewel of a book that is sure to become a classic."

—Natalie Walsh, Schenectady Daily Gazette

"I find this volume a necessity to accompany [Armitage's] earlier book, to learn about any perennial you would ever want to grow."

—Russell Studebaker, Tulsa World

"The text is a delight to read because it reflects the delicious humor and idiosyncratic thoughts of its author."

—Bobbie Schwartz, Buckeye

"Armitage's Garden Perennials is the most inclusive book on the subject that I have seen ... A wonderful reference book."

—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric

"Lavishly illustrated with colour photographs."

East London Organic Gardeners Newletter

"This book is a beautiful, highly entertaining, and highly informative volume."

—Kathy Fescemyer, Life Sciences Library

"While this book is sure to become a fixture on the desk of every professional horticulturist, it is great reading and a recommended reference for novices."

—Robin Siktberg, Herb Society of America Newsletter

"Armitage offers candid, opinionated assessments of the plants, while answering questions about time of flowering, size, ease of growing, as well as precautions."

—Suzanne Hively, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Good information and a lively writing style make this informative book fun to read."

—Judy Glattstein, Home Monthly

"Part II is a treat for gardeners who choose their perennials carefully prior to purchasing them ... Are you looking for perennials that bloom in the fall? You've got 47 choices in the 'Flowering Season' list."

—Bob Polomski, Anderson Independent-Mail

"You can never have too many perennial reference guides, and this one is beautifully illustrated, with nearly 1,500 photographs."

Manitoba Gardener

About the author

Allan M. Armitage

Regarded as one of the world's foremost horticulturists, Allan M. Armitage travels as a lecturer and consultant. Charming and lively as well as knowledgeable, Allan is in constant demand as a speaker, and sees working with plants as therapeutic, exciting, and creative.

Read more about Allan M. Armitage

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