Like many gardeners, I have read a LOT of books about plants. Many books have conflicting information about the same topics and plants. One of my primary complaints about plant books has been that since so many are written for a national audience, the information is so generalized that it doesn't really help subtropical gardeners. .
|A massive tome of plant pictures and information|
I can understand the concept; in order to make a book saleable in 48 states, it needs to appeal to a wide audience. A book about coconut palms would sell a few hundred or few thousand copies locally, but a book about herb gardening can be written for a national audience and might sell tens of thousands of copies. If, however, you are interested in reading greater detail about a tropical plant, there are rather few books written that can help us sub-tropical gardeners, and fewer still for the Zone 10 warm areas of South Florida. This is a quandary, since books written in the wet tropics don't apply to our area, and books written for the Zone 8 subtropics won't apply here either. Here are a few of my book choices for the avid gardener.
As gardeners graduate from novice to advanced, they need more information. In my position here at the Gardens, I need a LOT of information about some plants in order to grow them well or find out why they have not grown well. Photo books are great, but sometimes something more technical is needed. On my reference desk, I have a well-used copy of Hortus 3, a hefty volume of plants written by taxonomists. Unlike many such books, the volume is arranged alphabetically by genus name, not by Family name. This makes it easy to locate a plant fast, if one knows the genus name. There are myriad technical books which outline the highly refined taxonomic aspects of plants, but Hortus gives a bit of location and cultural information as well as being well stocked with plant names. I find it very useful, and I bought a good used copy online. I would not recommend you read it bed, though; it might crack your ribs.
Every reader has his favorite books. I have accumulated a sizable, (and heavy), collection of books, many of which have outgrown their usefulness. I refined my collection to the most useful and most used volumes, some are shown here. These references tend to be a bit pricey, but on-line used-book sellers are competitively priced. For an avid plantsman or advanced gardener, they make great gifts as well as good references. I recommend them highly in order to advance your plant knowledge, one of my most frequent preachings.