Top positive review
34 people found this helpful
Superb all-round manual
on 15 February 2012
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.