These two books are close to the opposite ends of the garden-book spectrum. A brief, practical handbook for the beginner or intermediate gardener, Bulbs consists almost entirely of descriptions of the various types of bulbs, corms, etc., with color photographs of outstanding named varieties. Its strength is also its weaknessthe book is organized by height of plant, then season, then color of the main feature (usually the flower). This is very useful for a gardener searching for that perfect tall yellow flower to fill a bare spot in autumn, but someone looking for information on, say, irises, will find it scattered throughout the text, depending on the time of bloom of the individual species. Cultivation information is given briefly with each plant description and in a short chapter at the end of the book. Mathew, the author of Growing Bulbs, spent his professional life at Kew Gardens, and his book is packed with the detailed information for the sophisticated gardener that takes a lifetime to accumulate. Two-thirds of his volume is devoted to an A-Z list of bulb genera, by Latin name, followed by a detailed discussion of the cultural requirements of each species within each genusmoisture, soil, dry or wet winter or summer, temperature, etc. Readers should beware that hardiness is gauged by the author's own experience in southeast England. The best general books on bulbs are still Lewis and Nancy Hill's Bulbs: Four Seasons of Beautiful Blooms (Garden Way, 1994) or Time-Life's Bulbs (Time-Life, 1995), but Bulbs would make a nice supplement. Public libraries serving active garden clubs or master gardeners should treat them to Growing Bulbs, which would also be appropriate for horticultural collections in academic libraries.Molly Newling, Piscataway P.L., N.J.
A complete reference manual covering the practicalities of growing
bulbs, from the tulip to the more unusual exotics such as Wurmbea and
Zigadenus. Initial chapters offer essays on growing bulbs in various
settings, as well as diseases and pests, followed by an A-to-Z
listing of 100 genera providing basic cultural information.
Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.