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An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis

By Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds

Photography editor Charles Chesshire

There are many, many books about clematis. This is one of the good ones.


With more than 800 Clematis species and cultivated varieties from which to choose, gardeners and growers have been inundated with options. Even more frustrating for some has been the absence of a single comprehensive reference with which to identify the numerous cultivars. This new volume, written by distinguished clematis experts and backed by the authority of the British Clematis Society, is the first picture encyclopedia on the genus to encompass the garden-worthy species and hybrids.

This long-awaited book is separated into two sections: the first is devoted to the care and cultivation of clematis, while the second provides an A–Z directory of more than 550 plants, from the acclaimed large-flowered forms to the less-familiar shrubby, subshrubby, and herbaceous forms that are beginning to be available. Using everyday language, the authors provide plant descriptions that include information on synonyms, origin, plant habit and height, flowers, pruning group, flowering period, cultural requirements, recommended uses in the garden, and hardiness zones. The text is accompanied by more than 650 magnificent color photos, making this encyclopedia an indispensable reference and guide.

Awards for this book: New York Times Editor's Choice - Best Books for Gardening

Media reviews

"There are many, many books about clematis. This is one of the good ones."

—Carol Bishop Miller, Horticulture

"At long last, we have one complete clematis resource that combines practical gardening, cultivation, pruning, and disease prevention with botany, history, design tips, and even information about propagating and hybridizing. More than 650 gorgeous photographs illustrate the text."

—Barbara Blossom Ashmun, Fine Gardening

"Indispensable for any horticultural library as well as the library of any gardener seriously interested in clematis."


"This volume should spark a revolution in clematis growing, while ensuring that the Queen of Climbers continues in her reign."

—Mark Griffiths, Times (London)

"This encyclopedic reference may well prove to be the ultimate resource for years to come; offering gardeners help in selecting plants appropriate for various geographical regions and growing conditions, and detailing the cultural requirements for a plant already acquired."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist

"Extensive ... A thorough yet quite readable coverage of clematis history and culture."

University of Vermont Extension Book of the Month

"If you're a fan of the clematis then this is definitely for you. ... The love for the clematis that writer and artist share is obvious and on every page — you'll feel it too."

Gardens Monthly

"Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds tell us everything we need to know about growing and selecting more than 500 of these beautiful plants."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"Timber Press is to be congratulated on bringing so much technical information together here: it follows in the splendid tradition of their books."

—David Mabberley, Biologist

"An excellent reference to a genus that is soaring in popularity. This is well-written and well-photographed ... Worth owning."

—Ann Milovsoroff, Pappus

"Generally, if a book comes from the gardening specialists at Timber Press, you know it's going to be good. This one is beyond good: the most comprehensive guide to one of the best all-around garden climbers to date."

—Michael Weishan, GardenworksOnline.com

"Among several gardeners' guides to Clematis published in recent years, this book is one of the most comprehensive and lavishly illustrated ... For someone planning a garden and seeking appropriate colors and textures, this catalogue is invaluable."

—Aaron M. Ellison, Plant Science Bulletin

"Here's another Timber winner."

—Rudolf Schmid, Taxon

"It is the most comprehensive reference to this genus to date, examining more than 550 species and hybrids in great detail, by two of England's foremost clematis experts."

Avant Gardener

"All that a keen gardener could want."

British Clematis Society

"Mary is one of those people I would call passionate about both gardening and life itself."

—Mike Darcy, Through the Grapevine

"This volume, given the endorsement of the British Clematis Society, is the first pictoral encyclopedia to deal with the more than 800 species and hybrids of the genus clematis ... This is an easy-to-read, beautifully photographed piece."

—Rachael Green, American Reference Books Annual

"Toomey and Leeds' extensive encyclopedia, which includes 650 color photographs (one for nearly all of the selections discussed in the book), should largely put an end to the multi-volume search. It is that comprehensive."

—Dorothy Rodal, American Gardener

"There has been a steady stream of books for the self-styled 'clematarians', the most recent being Grey-Wilson's Clematis, The Genus (2000), but none is so handsome as this."

—David Mabberley, Biologist

"If you love clematis, and encyclopedias, you'll love An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis by Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds, which is the last word on the subject."

—Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times Book Review

"A standard reference work on the subject has long been overdue and it now appears in the magisterial form of An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis."

—Mark Griffiths, Times (London)

"[A] lovely encyclopedia ... The first to cover all garden-worthy varieties."

SciTech Book News

"[This] book gives detailed advice."

—Peter Surridge, Hull Daily Mail

"If you're a fan of clematis then this is definitely for you ... Vibrant pictures, maps of origin and diagrams make this an impressive and accessible guide."

Gardens Monthly

"[It] is sure to be a most useful companion for clematis enthusiasts."

—Christopher Grey-Wilson, Garden (Peterborough)

"This valuable book will prove useful and practical to new and experienced gardeners alike ... Toomey and Leeds clear the air with a well-organized, beautifully illustrated guide to this genus."

—William T. Johnson, E-Streams

"Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds have left no stone unturned."

—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric

"An indispensable reference guide."

—Gary Jennings, Sida, Contributions to Botany

"Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds have hit the nail on the head with An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis ... The first section covers care and cultivation of clematis, the second half is a gardener's delight of clematis options arranged alphabetically, including information on description and flowering period."

—Sharon Wootton, Home and Garden

"[This] is one of the most beautifully illustrated and informative plant encyclopedias that I have seen in recent years."

—Madeleine Wilde, Kirkland Courier

"There is an excellent discussion of species appropriateness for the different regions of the United States."

—Bobbie Schwartz, Buckeye

"A masterpiece ... I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to the enthusiastic grower of ornamental climbing plants."

—Charlie Wilkins, Irish Examiner

"This book deserves a place on the bookshelf of both the experienced gardener and beginner."

—Charlie Wilkins, Irish Examiner

"The latest and greatest book to have yet come from the pen of Ireland's uncrowned Clematis Queen, Dr. Mary Toomey. ... Fills the vacuum perfectly and is certain to find its way onto every serious gardener's bookshelf over time."

—Helen Rock, Tribune (Dublin)

About the authors

Mary Toomey

Mary Toomey, Ph.D., trained as a biologist, botanist, entomologist, and soil ecologist. A keen gardener, she has been growing and studying clematis for more than 30 years.

Read more about Mary Toomey

Everett Leeds

Everett Leeds participated in the establishment of the International Clematis Society and the British Clematis Society. He gardens in the UK.

Read more about Everett Leeds

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This book is print-on-demand

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