31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Dr. Hessayon's "Expert" books have dominated gardening literature for years. There have been all round general garden books in the range before, this new edition however is larger and strikes a balance between detail and covering a wide range of topics. Everything one would expect from a gardening book is here: flowers, fruit & veg, greenhouse gardening, pests & diseases plus hard lanscaping and practical matters. Dr. Hessayon embraces modern approaches including architectural plants and gardening plus wildlife and organic methods.
I already have a number of the "Expert" books, and shelves and shelves of gardening books by other authors. This one however will stand out as one to reach for time and again due to its breadth of subject material and crucially its ease of use. There are plenty of things I need to look up and this book is easy to follow and find things in and is a small handy size - not a huge hardback that's an effort to lift down from the shelf.
The layout is the classic Expert style with photos, illustrations and diagrams. The plant directories include a good range of popular plants with a concise summary of their attributes. Anyone choosing a tree or shrub for their garden might want more detail before committing, but this is a good guide to start off with.
A refreshing thing these days is the mention of chemical control products that are available and still widely used. Although I avoid chemicals (with the exception of glyphosate on the ground elder - life's too short to keep digging it out) I dislike the "holier than thou" approach to organic gardening found in so many books these days. None of that here - if you have aphids then reach for the thiacloprid! Dr. Hessayon does approach organic methods however in a very brief way and the composting section is very useful.
A very good book. It would make a great gardening book to start off with if you don't have any, and it's still useful for anyone with an existing gardening library for its ease of use and wealth of information.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I have had many of Dr. Hessayon's books over the years - I have inherited a couple from my Grandmother - although they are a little dog-eared by now... and have used them on a regular basis, especially now that we have a new home with a big vegetable garden.
Amazing books - packing huge amounts of always relevant information into a relatively small space.
This new book is a large volume with the most useful bits from a wide range of the previous volumes.
It has a full section on vegetables, another on garden plants and other sections on diseases, garden layout - and pretty much everything that the gardener might need to know.
Seems a very useful starter book for the basic gardener - although you might want to get one of the more specific books for more detail of a particular topic.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This is a compilation of a series of books that have been available for some time. Having read and tried a lot of so called "Gardening" books, most of which are only good for the coffee table, I have long felt that any serious gardening enthusiast would need no more than the relevant "Gardening Expert" books already available. This compilation is excellent and if you've never read one of the others in the series, will be quite invaluable.
However, it is no substitute to specific books in the current series and in condensing the series, some of the detail suffers.
Use it as a starter if you are new to the books and then buy individual ones as required.
There is no doubt that the "Gardening Expert" series are the best available - concise, practical and straightforward - and although somewhat lacking, this "condensed" volume is still hard to beat.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This is not Alan Titchmarsh. It's Hessayon. If you have read any of the other Expert series you will know exactly what to expect. If you are a fan of Mr Titchmarsh then this will come over as a bit dry and very terse. There are few wasted words, no flowery prose and relatively few exotic photos. But there is lots, and lots, of factual information crammed into every page. It is a compendium of many of the other Expert books and manages to do in a little over 200 pages what Alan T took two full coffee table books to do - provide a complete guide to gardening. If you only want one garden book and don't have enough cash for the RHS mega-tome this is the best on offer. If you want a book to browse through in a winter evening while sipping a glass of brandy then buy Titchmarsh. They are both valid approaches and I like having both around, but if I could only have one, it would be this one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book can be best described as Dr Hessayon's Greatest Hits. In the same way that you might buy a compilation CD of an artist and be inspired to go and buy the original album, this book cleverly gives you enough information to see you on your way, before reminding you that there is a whole book on the subject elsewhere.
All aspects of gardening are covered, from lawncare, to planting trees, to cold frames and greenhouses. There is always enough advice to give you a general idea, but if you want to know more, you will of course have to seek out that volume.
I've jumped into this book on numerous occasions already, to check out plant types for my soil, definitions of greenhouses and all sorts of other aspects. I think this is a great starter for anyone who wants to understand more about their garden.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I am new to gardening. And when I say new, I mean I barely know one end of a spade from the other. As such this book has been an absolute life saver! It really goes through all of the basics - how to dig correctly, how to find out what type of soil you have, how to care for your lawn - the lot.
I would say that this edition is not for the pro. If you are a gardening guru then you might be better off investing in the more specific titles in the series. Especially as some of the info is repeated here in this book. But, all in all, you can't go wrong with this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The book provides, as promised, a condensed edition of the 'Expert' series, structured in such a way as to be genuinely useful
i) as an overview giving novices some really good starting points,
ii) as a general reference for more experienced gardeners.
The book is longer than any of the individual "Expert' titles (256 pages, including the plant index) and the 16 chapters this book it is divided into provide absolutely masses of information in a generally well-structured format. The style is factual and authoritative, providing detailed descriptions of tools, techniques, plants, problems, etc. This is a book of serious advice for gardening, rather than watered-down lifestyle ponce.
Excellent though the quality and quantity of information is, there are times when the inclusion of a general index (rather than just a plant index) or better collation and/or cross-referencing of information from the various books would be a useful.
For example, in a chapter on 'Garden Troubles' you're taken through managing 'Slugs and Snails' as a pest problem 3 times (under separate headings). In the first entry, under 'Flower troubles', you're told that the standard method of dealing with these pests is to use a scattering of slug pellets, but also referred to an extended section on p.155 under the heading of 'Vegetable Troubles' which gives greater detail on control (including the use of non-chemical methods such as sand, beer traps and nematodes). However, if you had referred to the book for dealing with these pests in connection with 'Soft Fruit troubles' you would have found mention only of slug pellets (p.161) - with no cross-reference pointing you to the extended information including more organic pest-control methods.
5 stars for the quantity, nature, and level of information provided, and the clear, concise style in which the book is written. However, the absence of an index for reference purposes means that the book is less user-friendly than it could have been.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have just flicked through this book cover to cover, making notes about the sections that I definitely plan to go back and read so that I can look at the detail thinking specifically oy our garden. I have noted at least 6 differnt dections which will be very helpful and include detailed information which I haven't seen mentioned in other gardening books which I have read a number of over the past 8 years I have been gardening.
I would have given this book 5/5 but haven't as I felt that some of the information was slightly outdated. As well as a compost heap a lot of people now have wormeries and additionally I didn't feel there was much on organic or a more natural approach to gardening. Still, I think the information within this book would give anyone a comprehensive guide with enough information to get them off to a good and in the case of the section on garden design, part of the way to setting up their own gardening business.
A good overall guide to gardening for the beginner and the more experienced gardener.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 May 2012
This doens't hold all the information that is contained in my pile of original ones, but is great for a beginner who doesn't need too much information all at once. I bought this for a friend and she loves it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I own many of the gardening expert books by D G Hessayon, and they have given me (and my father) much invaluable advice over the years; if they were stacked up all together, they come to around a foot high. So how do all these individual slim volumes go to make up this Complete Expert?
Much of the familiar content is there: specific sections on large numbers of individual plants, advice on the gardening calendar and tools, and so on. The overall style and structure is the same, but individual topics are ruthlessly pruned and rewritten (and updated, in most cases). Some vegetables, for instance, and missed out from the Vegetable and Herb Expert, and many that had two pages are reduced to one; a lot of the advice about lawns from the Lawn Expert, to take another example, is missing, or condensing into sections that have a lot in common with others in the series. Some significant tomes are condensed down to a couple of pages or missed out altogether; the section on roses is very brief, ponds and water features have just a couple of pages, as do containers; house plants and orchids are passed over entirely.
I'm not intending to criticise this volume for these things; but there is definitely value in the individual volumes for people interested in finding out much more. There is a lot here for a beginner gardener who wants to find out more in general about the garden, although it doesn't constitute an introduction to gardening; there are many other books covering that same ground. So the Complete Garden Expert nestles comfortably in the middle ground between the divot by divot introductory texts and the learned expositions on specialists topics - and it is the more welcome for all that.
I think there is a good place for this volume on any gardeners shelf; but it earns its stars more from the stature that Dr Hessayon has earned over the years.