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Primula (Revised Edition)

By John Richards

Illustrations by Brigid Edwards

Uniquely comprehensive ... This is a magnificent Primula primer.


This classic text has been updated and revised by the leading primulas expert. In terms of both the number of varieties grown and its popularity, Primula is one of the greatest garden genera. It is also among the largest and most widespread with approximately 430 species. This new edition includes a major taxonomic revision, information on the evolutionary history of the genus, a history of the exploration and introduction of Primula, cultivation, propagation and hybridization techniques, and a discussion of pests and diseases. This book is beautifully illustrated with over 100 drawings and photographs, including paintings by the award-winning botanical illustrator Brigid Edwards.

Media reviews

"Primula, by John Richards, brings to the form all the latest tools of modern botany. Chapters include both the evolutionary history of the genus and the history of its cultivation as well as its unique botany. A separate chapter covers the essentials neccessary for success as a gardener."

American Gardener

"A well-established survey of a genus which has a wide range of horticultural manifestations."


"[John Richards] is well qualified to bridge the gap between botanist and gardener, a task that he has achieved with great success in this beautiful edition of Primula."

—Rosemary Read, Social Gardener

"This book with its excellent text, is perhaps the most recognized reference for horticulturalists when it comes to the genus Primula."

—Peter Kendall, American Rhododendron Society Journal

"Monumental ... the author has again produced a classic reference on the genera."

—Marilyn K. Alaimo, Chicago Botanic Garden

"The production is of the high quality we have come to expect from Timber Press ... the book will appeal the most to gardeners who are already addicted to the pleasure of growing primulas, as well as to those who are just discovering their beauty, diversity, and conveniently compact growth form."

Plant Science Bulletin

"All one needs to know to identify and grow plants from the genus Primula — primrose and related plants — can be found in this attractive volume. ... Although there are many books on this horticulturally important genus, this is the most comprehensive."

—D. H. Pfister, Choice

"Uniquely comprehensive ... This is a magnificent Primula primer."

—Carol Haggas, Booklist

"Anyone who truly loves plants will find much to contemplate — and much to carry into the garden — in this comprehensive botanical treatment of a well-loved garden friend."

—Joanne Wolfe, Dig: The Magazine for Northwest Gardeners

"This edition includes a full complement of new findings as well as much information gathered since that first book ... encyclopedic in form and is enhanced by the botanical illustrations."

—Marty Figley, Michigan Observer and Eccentric

"If you are growing Primula species and you need to identify or confirm their identity, this is the book for you."

—Jay Lunn, Rock Garden Quarterly

"Any genus as large as Primula, and as popular with gardeners, deserves an authoritative reference book. This is it — likely the most comprehensive and detailed work on primroses available."

Canadian Gardening

"Exactly what is needed to understand and enjoy the many forms, colors and shapes these plants have."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

About the author

John Richards

John Richards is professor of botany in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He has been chairman of the committee for the Alpine Garden Society and is a vice president of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. He is the author of Plant Breeding Systems (2d ed. 1997).

Read more about John Richards

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