11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A good choice for the beginner,
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This review is from: The Tree & Shrub Expert: The world's best-selling book on trees and shrubs (Expert Books) (Paperback)
The "expert" series has made its reputation because the books don't assume you know anything. For this reason they are ideal for the beginner; they don't insult your intelligence, but make sure they mention things other books often leave out. Personally, I regularly use "The vegetable and herb expert" as it reminds me to do things which I often forget about.
It seems a bit mean, as I have bought this book as a gift in the past, to give it only 2 stars. However, I think it's the least successful of the series and it irritates me when I find myself using it. "Trees and shrubs" is a vast field, and to cram all the relevant information into a fairly slim paperback is probably asking too much. There are a number of the sort of lists and keys that help you choose the right plant, but these rather skate over the surface and the information is often very slight. Nor is there, here, enough space to give the kind of guidance on pruning that the gardener usually needs.
The illustrations are, unfortunately, inadequate; you cannot, in such a tiny photo, give an idea both of what the mature shrub looks like, and of the key features which make it desirable. Nor is the list by any means comprehensive; many shrubs you'll regularly find at garden centres, and which are entirely worthy of planting, are not included.
So what it boils down to is, this is OK so far as it goes, but as soon as you get interested, you'll want other books which give more information. I can particularly recommend the excellent and comprehensive The Hillier Colour Dictionary of Trees and Shrubs - rarely will money be so well spent. In the end, this book will be a waste of your resources, and you might as well get better books straight away. BUT - and it is a big but - if you're really not that keen a gardener, aren't especially interested in plants, and just want a guide so you can buy reasonably sensible things in the garden centre and plant up your garden attractively, then this is an excellent choice.