This is a lovely little book full of 250 scented plants to enhance gardens and patios. The book opens with garden planning information (types of scent, seasonal gardens, evening frangrance, etc.). The second section gives brief guides to creating various types of scented gardens, from buying scented plants to creating a rose garden. The third section is a directory of scented plants by type: annuals, bulbs and corms, climbers and wall shrubs, etc. There is also a very brief glossary and index.
While the information is useful, nothing is covered in any real detail. The design guides are only brief inspiration guides that don't really give enough information to make them easily applicable to one's own garden. Since I'm an experienced gardener, I didn't find the maintenance and care sections especially informative, although newer gardeners may find new information here. I was also surprised by a number of omissions, including gardenias, camellias, and tuberoses -- all arguably some of the most fragrant plants I know (but maybe I have the latin name wrong -- see note later about the index).
The reason I bought the book, however, was for the plant directory. I have to say I was very disappointed. Having the plants listed by type is very useful, but gardeners will certainly need another reference book to choose and care for these plants effectively. Each entry includes latin name, common name, and family, plus three or four sentences describing the plant. The entries also have a picture of the plant in bloom, and a series of icons showing leaf type, light preference, speed of growth, and other information.
I personally found the pictures to be far too small to get a sense for how the plant might look. The icons were also of limited utility, since they don't give any real detail. Let me give an example:
The entry for wisteria shows icons for bright sun, medium difficulty, 6m height by 5m width, fast growth, and late spring bloom. All useful information, obviously. HOWEVER, nowhere does it explain the importance of root-pruning for bloom, the sometimes lengthy time to bloom (years in some cases), the overall growth habit (sprawling), and the fact that this is one of the most invasive plants one can buy. Because this is a British publication, the guide does not mention anywhere the zone hardiness -- so no way to tell if that lovely mock orange tree will survive New England winters or Mississipi summers. A gardener would need a better plant reference for this essential information. The index is also listed by latin name only, so if you don't know that Jasmine is Trachelospermum and honeysuckle is Lonicera, you'll have to search page by page.
I suppose this is a good book of lists for fragrant plants. Since a more detailed guide would be needed for success, however, most of the information in this book would become redundant. Better to buy a more comprehensive guide that also lists which plants have fragrance, and go from there.