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Essential Perennials: The Complete Reference to 2700 Perennials for the Home Garden

By Ruth Rogers Clausen and Thomas Christopher

Photographs by Alan L. Detrick and Linda Detrick

The long-awaited update of a classic guide to perennials!

P. Allen Smith, award-winning gardening expert, author, and TV host

Perennials are the mainstay of any garden. But how do you choose from the thousands available, and care for the ones you already have? Essential Perennials focuses on what every gardener needs to know.

Trusted garden experts Ruth Rogers Clausen and Thomas Christopher help you decide exactly which plants will bring you the beauty you want and thrive in the conditions you can provide. This A-to-Z guide is packed with more than 2,700 plants, with each entry listing flower color, bloom time, foliage characteristics, size, and light and temperature requirements. Each profile is supported by stunning color photography that showcases the flower and foliage that make each plant unique.

Media reviews

"Enthusiastically recommended for both academic and public libraries and is an essential purchase for libraries where there is an interest in gardening."


"One thing about Essential Perennials is that it's essential — maybe even mandatory — for every designer to have a copy."

Garden Design Online

"A beautifully illustrated 'spam filter' for perennial-growers."

Library Journal

"A valuable reference book that deserves a spot on your garden bookshelf."

Country Gardens

"Useful and well written.…Will point you in the right direction—toward a home garden that brings years of pleasure."

Garden Rant

"A welcome addition to my bookshelf and it should be for yours too. Its wide-ranging and inclusive listing gives equal time to native woodlanders, ephemerals, exotic introductions, as well as time-honored favorites and takes the confusion out of the ever-growing world of perennials."

Ottawa Citizen

About the authors

Ruth Rogers Clausen

Ruth Rogers Clausen received a Quill and Trowel Award from the Garden Writers Association and has written for the American Garden Guides series. The former horticulture editor for Country Living Gardener magazine, Rogers Clausen contributes to Country Gardens, Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Handbooks, and Reader’s Digest Books.

Read more about Ruth Rogers Clausen

Thomas Christopher

Thomas Christopher, a graduate of the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, has created gardens for clients for forty years. He is the author of many books, including Essential Perennials: The Complete Reference to 2700 Perennials for the Home Garden.

Read more about Thomas Christopher

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