This essential work of reference has been given an update for the millennium making it an authoritative encyclopedia that no keen gardener should be without. So if your original copy is falling to pieces from constant use or you haven't yet got a copy, now would be the time to acquire one.
The value of this encyclopedia for the ordinary gardener is in the lay-out, which divides plants into categories by type (e.g. shrub, perennial, bulb), size, colour and season. This means that you can identify a plant by a series of quick steps and home-in on what you are looking for without needing any expert knowledge. Similarly if you are trying to select a plant for a particular situation you can make your own choice from the Plant Catalogue or use the newly-expanded Plant Selector section which lists recommended plants for specific purposes and even has a list of rabbit resistant plants!
The Plant Dictionary at the back of the book is alphabetically ordered by botanical name and gives descriptions, common names and information on cultivation and propagation for over 8,000 plants suitable for temperate gardens worldwide.
If you could only own one classic gardening book, the Royal Horticultural Society's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers should really be it.--Stephanie Donaldson