Tropical Plants and How to Love Them is a technique focused gardening guide by Marianne Willburn. Due out 13th April 2021 from Quarto on their Cool Springs Press imprint, it's 208 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.
Gardeners have always tried to stretch the limits of what will grow in their local climates. We all know someone who has absolutely gorgeous dahlias, tuberose begonias, caladium, and other tropical beauties which they carefully lift and store before the cold weather kills them. This is a well written and solidly useful book *full* of tips for choosing, keeping, and helping tropical plants to thrive for temperate climate gardeners.
There are many ways to use tropicals in the garden and the author explores them: seasonal (let them die and replant next spring/summer), ones which are indoor/outdoor to suit the season, dormant overwinterers (like my beloved cannas), edible/usable tropical plants, and high-maintenance divas for whom we sacrifice much effort and sometimes tears. Each of the chapters includes some overlap and much of the value of this book for me came from the author's tips for evaluating each type of horticultural relationship and deciding when to pull the plug on a plant which has become too demanding of time and effort or expense.
The last section contains an abbreviated A to Z of selections by genus with lots of ideas and inspiration. There's also a useful list of "honorable mention" plants, online/mail order nurseries, and a short bibliography for further reading and investigation. The index is cross-referenced and includes both botanical (Latin) names and common names. The entire book is beautifully and lushly illustrated in color.
Well written, comprehensive, creative, and inspiring. Five stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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