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Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS Hardcover – 27 Sep 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Cathie; Revised Edn. and Enlarged Edn. edition (27 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856267415
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856267410
  • Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 23 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Jekka's is a must-have book for everyone who loves gardening and cooking. I'm her biggest fan. The book is fantastic and so is her amazing knowledge of herbs. She has wonderful ideas to make your food taste the best and to make you feel good. This is the herb book to have --Jamie Oliver

This book is a milestone in the publishing of herb books; with it you can grow them successfully. Its organisation makes it stand head and shoulders above the competition --Garden Centre Association

A great Christmas present- if you can bear to part with it (Alan Titchmarsh, Daily Mail). Jekka's complete herb book is one I often turn to for quick information about the wide variety of herbs gardeners can grow. She gives excellent advice about propagation, different species and varieties, and other aspects of herb culture, with wonderful culinary ideas as well. --Barbara Damrosch, Washington Post

About the Author

Jekka McVicar has run her Herb Farm for 22 years. She presented the RHS video on herbs, and has won eleven gold medals at RHS Chelsea and is on the RHS council. Jekka is also well known for her regular appearances on TV and radio gardening and cookery programmes.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peasant TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Jan. 2011
Despite its glossy, attractive appearance and pleasant weight in the hands, this book is less useful and less interesting than it ought to be. It consists in the main of an alphabetical list by Latin name. Each headlined entry covers all the members of that Genus, so Papaver somniferum, the Opium Poppy, is jumbled up with Papaver rhoeas, the corn poppy, despite the fact that their uses and properties are quite different. However for no apparent reason Mentha pulegium, "Pennyroyal", is separated from the other Mentha (mints) and printed out of sequence before Melissa

The range of plants covered is large; too large in some ways. Herbs which are a normal part of British gardens sit alongside tropical and subtropical plants, with very little even in the small print to distinguish them; it is noted in passing that Cardamom requires a temperature that never falls below 18 deg C; this would mean artificial heat for most of the year, even in a conservatory. The information is not presented in a helpful form; Sweet Rocket is described as "a tall plant" though elsewhere the text admits it is 60-90cm, while only in the smallest print is mention is made of the height of Gingko biloba, a fairly fast-growing tree reaching, in time, 40 METRES or more. Hardiness is given by "zones"; this system is used in the USA because of its huge range of climates, but means nothing to most British gardeners.

The information on culinary and medicinal uses is similarly vague. No recipes for making remedies are given in the text, only phrases like "In Chinese medicine the root of (woad)...is used to treat meningitis..." which tells us a lot about Chinese medicine but little about woad. The entry for Prostanthera says "I am sure that a plant such as P.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Red Fox on 25 Nov. 2007
This book was on my mother's Christmas list, but having taken delivery of it, leafed through, and then spending the afternoon lost in it, it may not make it under the tree! What's special about this good-looking book, I think, is that assumes enough knowledge and enthusiasm to appeal to dyed-in-the-wool green thumbers like my mum, but gives beginners and wistful would-be growers and kitchen novices like myself clear guidance and a sense of confidence. Perhaps THIS time the daydreams of a well-stocked and maintained herbed garden might be managable! It isn't often that you pick up a well-written book that demystifies a subject without stripping the passion out of it: I'm beginning to see why my mother raves about Jekka's books. I'm keeping this one for myself!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Flo on 26 Oct. 2007
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As a loyal Jekka's Herb Farm customer, I couldn't wait to receive this book. But by the time I reached the last page I was a teeny bit disappointed.

It is extremely well presented and contains LOTS of information. The section on round-the-seasons plant care is invaluable. But I can't help wondering why Jekka chose to include some really obscure plants with no culinary use (and little value for the average herbalist) at the expense of plants more commonly grown, for example rhubarb chard. I've bought these plants from Jekka's business and am still none the wiser as to how to care for them over the winter.

Other than this little niggle, it is a lovely book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wiltshire Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Dec. 2008
I believe Jekka McVicar is a national treasure. A herb guru and record breaking multi-gold medal winner at Chelsea, whose nursery is one of the few certified as organic in this country. I met her at one of the open days held at her Herb Farm last year - luckily for me it's not that far from where I live. It was a fascinating day out and it's good to have Jekka's latest book as souvenir of that day.

It's a gorgeous book and Jekka uses the term 'herb' in its widest sense, covering medicinal, culinary and other uses. So plants like Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and Betony (Stachys officinalis) have equal billing alongside the more familiar Mint and Thyme.

The bulk of the book is the A-Z of herbs (by botanic name, not common) and covers over 150 plants. You'll find plenty of history and folk-lore alongside the expected details on cultivation, harvesting and uses. There's recipes too including one for lavender biscuits and instructions for pickling Nasturtium seeds as a substitute for capers. After the A-Z, there's a shorter, more general section covering propagation, planning a herb garden (including several designs), container growing, pests & diseases, harvesting, using herbs as natural dyes plus instructions for making herb oils, vinegars and preserves.

The text is clearly laid out whilst packing a lot of information into each page. The photographs are beautiful too. I think it's a perfect gift for a complete beginner or an expert and I think you'll be looking at a number of the plants in your garden with fresh eyes, OR finding somewhere to squeeze in 'just a few more herbs that'll come in handy' into your garden.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Suzie on 29 Jun. 2008
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This is a superb book from Jekka McVicar. She has to be one of the country's foremost authorities on herbs and, in association with the RHS, has produced a book that is comprehensive, informative, and visually pleasing.

The book is arranged in alphabetical order of the plants' botanical names. For each herb there is an enticing close-up photograph, a description of the various varieties available, instructions for cultivation, including which varieties can be grown from seed and which succeed better from cuttings, whether the plant is suitable for growing in a container, and a tempting recipe. As well as the culinary and medical attributes there is a warning if the plant can prove toxic. All the familiar favourites are there, plus some I had never heard of.

There follows a useful section with details of propagation - growing herbs from seed, taking cuttings (hardwood, softwood, root) and layering. The chapter on planning a herb garden gives all the information and instructions anyone could need, although more photographs of established herb gardens would have added to the visual appeal, and there is a final chapter on pests.

This is a book I keep dipping into. It would make a wonderful present, although some knowledgeable reviewers have suggested that it is not detailed enough. But for the rest of us, whether keen gardener with oodles of land or beginners interested in growing a few fresh herbs in a pot, I think it's a treasure and thoroughly recommend it.
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