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Buried Treasures: Finding and Growing the World's Choicest Bulbs

By Jānis Rukšāns

Every now and then ... a book comes along that gives me pause. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part how-to, Buried Treasures by Latvian bulb expert Janis Ruksans is not a book to be skimmed.


Take a few chapters from a John le Carré spy thriller, add a hefty dose of exotic travelogue, blend with one of the best books on bulb growing ever written, and you've got Buried Treasures. For decades, Rukšāns has been scouring remote and dangerous regions of Europe and Asia to bring back the botanical treasures that he offers through his nursery, often contending with corrupt government agents, armed rebels, drunken drivers, and even (before the fall of the Soviet Union) the KGB. Packed with accounts of his extensive travels, Buried Treasures also offers an abundance of trustworthy information about the care and cultivation of every major and minor genus of bulb-forming plant.

Media reviews

"Every now and then ... a book comes along that gives me pause. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part how-to, Buried Treasures by Latvian bulb expert Janis Ruksans is not a book to be skimmed."

—Sara Begg, Horticulture

"A unique and very different bulb book; and the best bulb book seen in many years. ... Some of the best information about growing bulbs from seed that is currently available. ... Very easy for the average grower to understand. ... This is what is so lacking in bulb books today."

—Deborah Jordan, Bulbs

"Part garden book, part international thriller, the author literally goes to the ends of the earth to discover and cultivate rare bulbs."

—Kathleen Donohue, American Bungalow

"A fascinating account of bulbs ... the volume will appeal especially to gardeners for the rich variety of unusual bulbs discussed and the wealth of information about growing them."

—Shannon Hendrickson, SciTech Book News

"Readers will be enthralled. ... This is undoubtedly one of the very finest and most informative books on bulbs ever produced and it will surely stand the test of time."

Alpine Gardener

"Tells of contending with corrupt government agents, armed rebels, drunken drivers and even ... the KGB. In the horticulture world today, we have few plant explorers, and after reading his accounts, you will have a greater appreciation of flowering bulbs."

—Russell Studebaker, Tulsa World

"A very readable book with much valuable information about hardy bulbs. ... Janis has a keen eye for variation."

—Jekka McVicar, Gardens Illustrated

"Here ... the bulb enthusiast will find a little adventure and some horticultural intrigue."

—B. Rowe, Choice

"Interspersed with accurate flower descriptions are captivating stories of plant discoveries in native habitats. Ruksans' saga informs, intrigues, and charms the reader with his devotion and passion for these jewels of the underground."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"Fairly bursting with vivid descriptions, Ruksans' latest effort rewards plant connoisseurs with authoritative horticultural insights and sheds light on the dedicated enterprise of an impassioned plantsman."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"Contains well-written accounts of the adventures of a modern plant explorer, gorgeous color plates of the author's discoveries, and perhaps best of all, insider tips on how to grow the plants [Ruksans] worked with for nearly a lifetime."

—Jean Starr, Northwest Indiana Times

"This is an excellent book and it is a must for anyone with even the slightest interest in bulbs; I can assure you that once you have read how these bulbs came into cultivation you will have a much better enjoyment of these fascinating plants, the places where they grow and the people who introduce them."

—Ian Young, Rock Garden

"Packed with stories and advice, all written in a conversational tone. It is not a beginner's how-to, but more for the serious gardener wanting in-depth information. More than 300 color plates illustrate flowers and scenery ... will tempt you."

—Susan Smith-Durisek, Lexington Herald-Leader

About the author

Jānis Rukšāns

Jānis Rukšāns has been growing bulbs since age twelve and since 1991 has operated his own bulb nursery in his native Latvia, specializing in rare and unusual bulbs. He has taken part in several expeditions searching for new bulbs throughout Europe and Central Asia.

Read more about Jānis Rukšāns

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