Most helpful critical review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
short on detail
on 6 December 2012
Like many other RHS publications, this is a beautifully produced book, with a lovely cloth binding, decorative endpapers, and oodles of coloured engravings and paintings. The RHS has cornered the market in this type of book, a combination of serious reference work and coffee-table browser.
By the way, I'm a huge fan of the RHS and all the work they do in promoting horticulture in the UK. I'm constantly visiting their online Plant Selector. And the two-volume A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants should be on every gardener's bookshelf.
My quibble is with the content of this particular volume, which is quite limited. It claims to explain over 3,000 plant names. However it is restricted to extremely brief explanations of the second part of the Latin binomial (the double name given to every species). I was hoping for a comprehesive reference work fully describing both elements of a plant's latin name. For instance, I was researching ''Hacquetia epipactis'', and wondering about the source of the name. Sure enough, the book comes up with an explanation of ''epipactis'' (plants thought to curdle milk). But unfortunately there is nothing about ''Hacquetia'' and I'm still in the dark about the derivation of this intriguing name.
It looks as if I will have to invest in something weightier, drier and duller, to satisfy my quest.