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Conifers for Gardens: An Illustrated Encyclopedia

By Richard L. Bitner

Bitner's book can save you years of dissatisfaction.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Conifers for Gardens is intended to take away the element of uncertainty when you're choosing a plant that may alter your yard for years to come. Profusely illustrated with more than 1,500 crisp photographs and brimming with concise descriptions of both species and their numerous cultivars, this meticulously researched reference provides information — including size, appearance, hardiness, preferred growing conditions and susceptibility to pests and diseases — for almost every hardy conifer you're likely to encounter in the trade, whether it's a tried-and-true favorite or a connoisseur's treasure. So if you've ever been torn between, say, 'Golden Mop', 'Lemon Thread', and 'Sungold' sawara-cypresses, relax — choosing and identifying conifers just got a whole lot easier.

Media reviews

"[A] good place to start educating yourself about these wonderful plants is [this] magnificent new book. ... With this tool, it is possible to find a plant that will fit just about any need and stay in bounds."

—Susan Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"As a planning resource for gardeners confronted with a vast, confusing array of nursery cultivars, this volume will prove itself highly useful. ... Recommended."

—L. F. Lister, Choice

"Any new homeowner or plant lover would welcome a copy as conifers form the backbone of many good landscape designs."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Provides detailed plant profiles and cultivation requirements that help demystify conifer selection. An excellent resource."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"Aimed at general gardeners, woody plant specialists, nursery and landscape professionals, almost every hardy conifer you're likely to encounter is covered in this book."

Sierra Heritage Magazine

"What I like particularly about this book, in addition to the pictures, are the descriptions of the properties of each genus, species, and cultivar, growing conditions, diseases, and mature sizes. ... At last it is easy to make an informed decision."

—Abby Jane Brody, East Hampton Star

"The appendix ... is a valuable bonus. It lists plants by color, form, bark, growth rate, soil preference, light requirements, temperature tolerance, and even functionality as holiday trees."

—Bill Scheick, Dallas Morning News

"Bitner's extensive knowledge of conifers and his matter-of-fact writing style make the reading fluid and the subject easy to understand."

—Jessica Arcate, American Gardener

"Anyone buying this book will, quite simply, have to plant a conifer."

—Tony Kirkham, The Garden

"Will minimize the element of uncertainty in choosing a plant that may alter your yard for years to come."

—Eric Hofley, Michigan Gardener

"[Bitner] has outdone his predecessors with 424 pages of meticulously researched information on 1,370 species and cultivars. Well-organized, informative, thorough, and richly illustrated."

—Pete Prown, Green Scene

"A good base to start from if you are looking for that special conifer for the garden, or for more information on a species or cultivar that you already have. ... This book will appeal to many tree enthusiasts, but most of all to conifer-lovers."

—Tony Kirkham, BBC Gardens

"Evergreen conifers are wildly popular, with 1,300 species and varieties currently jostling in the marketplace. But some grow too big and some grow too slow. Which are just right? Conifers for Gardens ... will tell you."

—Carol Stocker, Boston Globe

"Bitner's book can save you years of dissatisfaction while providing the means to have a handsome landscape with healthy, robust specimens of wisely chosen conifers. Bitner provides insights on conifers that take you well beyond typical boring foundation plantings of pfitzers and yews."

—Barbara Perry Lawton, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"An authoritative and readable encyclopedia that will be invaluable to home gardeners as well as tree specialists."

—Shannon Hendrickson, SciTech Book News

"This large lavishly illustrated book is packed with information. General rock gardeners will delight in the many small cultivars included but the book will appeal most to those who garden on a larger scale; they will find plenty [of] interesting facts and useful information."

—Sandy Leven, Rock Garden

"Outstanding ... this book is assuredly one of the most complete modern references."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"Bitner's conversational tone makes for easy reading. ... If you're looking for evergreen landscape plants, the discussions of attributes and cultivars will set you in the right direction."

—Susan Smith-Durisek, Lexington Herald-Leader

"Will help one to reduce the uncertainty when choosing a plant. ... The species description is spot-on. Color photos are usually enough for you to see how a plant will appear in the landscape."

—George Graine, Virginia Master Gardeners Association Report

"A good reference book for those of us who want to add conifers to the landscape, as well as those of us who already have conifers in the landscape planted long ago that we want to learn more about."

Washington Gardener

"Helpful to a gardener and tree-planter like me. His descriptions are spot-on ... and many of his photographs show alluring details of cone and needle that render certain species and cultivars dangerously irresistible."


About the author

Richard L. Bitner

Richard L. Bitner is a garden writer and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous national and regional magazines. He studied horticulture at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, where for many years he has been an instructor in the Continuing Education program.

Read more about Richard L. Bitner

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