BOOK REVIEW – Herbaceous Perennial Plants

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This summer Allan Armitage released the 4th edition of “Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes”.

As a garden writer and Master Gardener I am excited about this new edition, a 1,000+ page treatise. I do a lot of internet searches.  I also turn to books. Armitage’s writing tells stories and includes friendly growing advice. He gives personality to the plants. This gets personal: instead of providing only facts, it makes me want to bring these endearing or exciting plants into my garden. And when a plant from a garden center or plant sale performs well in my garden, relaxing with this book (yes, one can definitely curl up with this hefty reference book) introduces me to the plant’s relatives and begi ns the quest for a plant collection.

When I write about perennials, “Herbaceous Perennial Plants” is the first book I turn to, to the point that I can twist in my office chair and lay my hands on a copy as a reflex action. This new edition arrives twelve years after the last edition, 31 years after the first edition, and 23 years after the American Horticulture Society named it one of “75 Great American Garden Books in the last 75 Years”.  It not only contains numerous new species and cultivars, but updated information resulting from years of growing the now go-to varieties that fill garden centers. It also discusses changing nomenclature and invasive plants.

Herbaceous Perennial Plants

A Treatise on their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes

by Allan Armitage

1090 pages. Stipes Publishing, $79.80 softbound, $89.80 hardbound.

Available at and booksellers.

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