Armitage's Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-Hardy Perennials

Overview

"Allan M. Armitage has compiled descriptions and assessments of 245 genera of annuals, biennials, and half-hardy perennials for American gardeners. Focusing on plant identification, successful culture, and primary garden attributes, Armitage discusses 279 species in detail and summarizes the distinguishing features of hundreds of cultivars, many of which he has tested himself. Standards like begonias and pelargoniums are juxtaposed with newcomers from Australia, and all are subject to Armitage's critical eye. Color photos and line drawings
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Overview

"Allan M. Armitage has compiled descriptions and assessments of 245 genera of annuals, biennials, and half-hardy perennials for American gardeners. Focusing on plant identification, successful culture, and primary garden attributes, Armitage discusses 279 species in detail and summarizes the distinguishing features of hundreds of cultivars, many of which he has tested himself. Standards like begonias and pelargoniums are juxtaposed with newcomers from Australia, and all are subject to Armitage's critical eye. Color photos and line drawings illustrate the text, and Armitage suggests additional reading in books, articles, and web sites for many of the genera." Armitage bases his descriptions on extensive personal experience, sprinkling entries with strong and sometimes amusing opinions that keep potentially dry details fresh. Useful lists in the appendix are further evidence of his expertise. These lists - of biennials, half-hardy perennials, winter annuals, shade-tolerant plants, fragrant plants, climbing plants, and everlastings - extend the volume's application beyond a necessary tool for horticulturists and nurserymen to a practical guide for the dedicated home gardener.
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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Joel M. Lerner
"A complete book about temporal plants that grow in this region. There are more than 100 photos, but the information is the primary reason to get this tome."—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, May 3, 2003
Horticulture - Russell Studebaker
"True to form, Armitage's humor accompanies his sage advice throughout the text. I predict that this book will become holy writ on the subject of annuals. And I confess that when it comes to a book written by Allan Armitage, I buy it unhesitatingly for the authority associated with the name and then find out all about the subject within."—Russell Studebaker, Horticulture, November 2002
Fine Gardening - Steve Silk
"I have yet to see the perfect guide to annuals and tender perennials, but this new compendium by esteemed plantman Allan M. Armitage comes close ... [Gardeners] will need no other reference on the subject."—Steve Silk, Fine Gardening, May/June 2002
The Washington Post
"A complete book about temporal plants that grow in this region. There are more than 100 photos, but the information is the primary reason to get this tome."—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, May 3, 2003
— Joel M. Lerner
Horticulture
"True to form, Armitage's humor accompanies his sage advice throughout the text. I predict that this book will become holy writ on the subject of annuals. And I confess that when it comes to a book written by Allan Armitage, I buy it unhesitatingly for the authority associated with the name and then find out all about the subject within."—Russell Studebaker, Horticulture, November 2002
— Russell Studebaker
Fine Gardening
"I have yet to see the perfect guide to annuals and tender perennials, but this new compendium by esteemed plantman Allan M. Armitage comes close ... [Gardeners] will need no other reference on the subject."—Steve Silk, Fine Gardening, May/June 2002
— Steve Silk
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604694284
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/18/2012
  • Pages: 604
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author


Widely regarded as one of the world's foremost horticulturists, Allan M. Armitage is a professor at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he teaches, conducts research on new garden plants, and runs the University of Georgia Horticulture Gardens. He travels widely as a lecturer and consultant, and is the recipient of numerous awards from nursery trade groups and horticultural organizations, including the Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America and the National Educator Award from the American Horticultural Society. He is the author of nine other books, as well as six CDs and two Internet courses for gardeners. Armitage was honored with a Quill and Trowel award from the Garden Writers Association of America, and Greenhouse Grower magazine named him one of the ten most influential people or organizations — ever — in the floriculture industry for "encouraging growers to expand their markets with new annuals, cut flowers, and perennials."
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Read an Excerpt


An annual may be defined botanically as a plant that completes its entire life cycle within the space of a year: it grows, flowers, produces seed, and then dies, regardless of temperature or other environmental conditions.

Gardeners, however, do not use that definition in defining annuals and perennials. From a gardening standpoint, an annual is usually defined as a plant that dies because it is unable to survive extremes of cold or heat, that, the winter is too cold or the summer is too hot — and that is what I mean when I use the word "annual" in this book. When a typical garden annual, such as geranium or a petunia, is grown in a greenhouse, it will flower and produce seed many times over, surviving for years.

The difficulty of the gardener's definition of annuals is obvious: winters and summers vary depending on latitude and altitude. Is an annual in Duluth still an annual in Miami, even though it survives winters perfectly well in Florida? Or conversely, will a perennial in Fargo be a perennial in New Orleans even though it dies because of summer heat? For better or worse, I have made an arbitrary decision as to what most people accept as a garden annual. Using the USDA hardiness zone map as a guide, I consider all plants that are "usually" killed by winters in zones 1 to 7 (global warming and recent mild winters notwithstanding) annuals. That includes all Canada (except its west coast) and at least three-quarters of the land mass of the United States. According to the USDA zone map, winter temperatures in zone 7 (the southernmost zone in my definition) range from 0 to 10 degress Fahrenheit, although most annuals die when sustained temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit are experienced.

Other plants, commonly used as winter annuals in southern zones, are later pulled out because they cannot tolerate warm summers. These same plants may be fine summer annuals in cool summers. Such a group would include pansies, violas, English daisies, pot marigold, snapdragons, and hybrid pinks (the Appendix includes a list of these winter annuals as well.) Gardeners in the southernmost areas of the country, in such gardening oasis as Houston, San Diego, or Key West, may find this book more useful as a guide to perennials rather than as a guide to annuals. No matter what we call thses wonderful plants, let's enjoy the beauty they provide.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 8
Preface 9
A-to-Z Genera 19
Selected Bibliography 511
Appendix:Useful Lists 512
Biennials 512
Half-hardy perennials 512
Winter annuals 513
Shade-tolerant plants 513
Fragrant plants 514
Climbing plants 515
Everlastings 516
U.S.Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone Map 517
Index of Botanical Names 518
Index of Common Names 531
Color photographs follow page 256
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