I recall hearing Richard Mabey discussing this book on a radio show, before it was published and thinking its premise: collecting contibutors' personal experiences of British plant life, seemed rather uninspired. Surely this kind of thing has been done to death? Nature magazine columns have been filled for years with people writing accounts of things they have seen in the British countryside.
When it was published, I was further put off by the high price of the book.
I was completely wrong on both counts, the price, when the size, scope and quality of the book are considered, seems more than reasonable. As to the premise of the work, Richard Mabey, a genius writer in my opinion, pulls all the various accounts from amateur contributors together into a cohesive and coherent whole, that manages to maintain the same well mannered and good humoured tone throughout its long length.
It is possible to read the book piecemeal, picking out species that interest you specially , but I feel reading it from cover to cover best allows the reader to appreciate what the author has achieved.
This is not an identification guide, although the photographs are of top quality, and the amount of space devoted to each species varies wildly, but the "Flora" succeeds in its aim to be a folk history rather than purely a Natural History work.
Beware of books that may seem to continue this work, e.g."Fauna Britannica", which do not, in fact, have much in common with this fine volume.