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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not giving this away!
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...
Published on 25 Nov 2007 by Red Fox

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A wide range of herbs
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...
Published on 11 Jan 2011 by Peasant


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not giving this away!, 25 Nov 2007
This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive - almost..., 26 Oct 2007
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This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive guide from the 'queen of herbs', 15 Dec 2008
By 
Wiltshire Bookworm (Chippenham) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight to own, 29 Jun 2008
By 
Suzie (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Godsend!, 20 Nov 2007
This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
I only have a little garden, so every inch has to count. Jekka's gorgeous new book is helping me to decide exactly which herbs I want and where to put them (and what to ask for for Christmas!)It is beautifully presented, and, most importantly, it gives a wealth of information that I can use in the kitchen as well as in the garden. And it encourages me to dream about a future, larger garden, filled with all the herbs I'd like to try...practical information and inspiration, all in one package. Genius!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A wide range of herbs, 11 Jan 2011
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
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.cuneata that gives off as much scent, and has obviously so much oil in the leaf, will one day have some use". But not yet, so why is it in the book?

There are 10 designs for herb gardens at the back; they are neither particularly attractive or imaginative, and are illustrated with very dull drawings. Extremely brief are the sections on caring for herbs, with a few tips on using them. The index suffers from having the Latin name and the English ones in the same typeface, instead of having one set in italics as usual; this makes it harder to use.

This book falls down in a number of ways. Though the pages are large, there is too much blank paper, the text is tiny and the photos, many of them simply window-dressing, take up a lot of the space. The "gist" is thus limited AND difficult to read. There are hardly any recipes or instructions for use, only vague remarks.

The one aspect of the book I don't take issue with is the red-triangled warnings. Any book on herbs should use these well. Having worked selling plants for many years, I've found people's enthusiasm for self-dosing is scary. When the first studies of Hypericum came out, it suddenly became clear that the people buying the groundcover St John's Wort (ie not the one used in medicine anyway) were planning to boil it up and drink it. This despite the fact that it is a herb to be used only when professionally prepared, and even then under medical supervision!

A smaller, cheaper book that does the same job better is Pocket Encyclopaedia of Herbs (DK Pocket Encyclopedia)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for the home herb grower, 5 Sep 2010
By 
S. Foreman "sf" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
This is a great book for anyone who wishes to grow herbs. Invaluable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As complete a guide as you will ever need!, 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
This is a very detailed and comprehensive guide to herds, from beginners to avid herb enthusiasts, every aspect covered. Excellent !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Herb reference book, 15 April 2014
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This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
Had had this from the library and it is such a lovely book with superb information and pictures that I had to have it. It is a super book to dip into for quick reference or in depth info - if you want buy, grow, know the best for your garden etc. this is unbeatable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it, 19 Feb 2014
By 
L. Jenkins (hornchurch, Essex, England!!!) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS (Hardcover)
I went to Jekka's farm a while ago. I can almost feel her passion through the book. Very informative, a must read.
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Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS
Jekka's Complete Herb Book: In Association with the RHS by Jekka McVicar (Hardcover - 27 Sep 2007)
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