Herewith the third installment in our list of the best American gardening books, horticultural societies, perennials, shrubs, and trees. (For the first 40 of the Horticulture 100, see the March/April and May/June 2004 issues, or visit www.hortmag.com.)
41. Elizabeth Lawrence, A Southern Garden (University of North Carolina Press, 1942; paperback reprint, 2001; in print) It’s no surprise that the influence and reputation of this book have spread far beyond North Carolina, where Lawrence gardened, for she is one of those rarities: a writer at once elegant and accessible, learned and down-to-earth. A consummate plantswoman, she could quote from the ancient Roman authors as easily as from the local market bulletins.
42. Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman (Indiana University Press, 1981; paperback reprint, 2003; in print) Few writers of any stripe have inspired as much devotion or won as much affection from readers as the late Henry Mitchell. With their inimitable mixture of humor, philosophy, and rueful wisdom, his garden writings are in fact observations about the human condition, in all its splendor and absurdity. Endlessly quotable, Mitchell’s supple prose gives as much pleasure on the twentieth reading as on the first.
43. Donald Culross Peattie, A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America (Houghton Mifflin, 1950; paperback reprint 1991; in print) and A Natural History of Western Trees (Houghton Mifflin, 1953; paperback reprint 1991; in print) Although handsomely illustrated in black-and-white, these two bulging volumes aren’t field guides; rather, they’re crisp, lyrical, historystuffed essays, each of which has the narrative drive of the best fiction. Look up your favorite tree, and Peattie will give you a dozen more good reasons to love it.
44. Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts (Random House, 1981; paperback reprint, Modern Library, 2002; in print) The delights of Green Thoughts are many and deep, from the author’s rhapsodic tribute to the color blue to her minutely detailed, and entirely fictitious, description of the perfect Scottish gardener. The 72 short essays that comprise the book are all seasoned with Perenyi’s tart opinions and wide-ranging curiosity. So engrossing is the book that it takes a while to realize that it also contains some of the best American prose of the last half-century.
45. American Orchid Society (http://orchidweb.org) The American Orchid Society is the largest special-interest horticultural organization in the world. A one-year membership entitles you to 12 issues of Orchid magazine and much more. Their Web site provides extensive information, including an online orchid source directory, which contains links to catalogs for orchid suppliers.
46. American Penstemon Society (www.biosci.ohio-state.edu/-.awolfe/Penstemon/Penstemon.html) The APS takes a close look at this large genus of North American plants. Members receive the American Penstemon Bulletin twice a year and have access to the yearly seed exchange. There are also field trips to penstemon sites and other wildflower areas.
47. American Peony Society (www.americanpeonysociety.org) The 75-year-old American Peony Society provides a wide range of information from practical tips for gardeners to guidelines on plant registration for amateur hybridizers. Member benefits include four issues of the American Peony Society Bulletin, member voting privileges, and eligibility to receive seed from the seed exchange.
48. American Primrose Society (www.americanprimrosesoc.org) The American Primrose Society was founded in 1941 and today members can join any of seven chapters across North America. The APS provides a plethora of advice and suggestions about primulas, from auriculas to Primula polyantha, and its Web site even features a starter list of species for primula neophytes. Members receive the quarterly magazine Primrose, and (you guessed it) may participate in the annual seed exchange.
49. Sunflower · Helianthus narrow-leaved sunflower H. angustifolius · annual sunflower H. annuus · H. decapetalus · swamp sunflower H. giganteus · Maximilian sunflower H. maximilianii · small-headed sunflower H. microcephalus · willow-leaved sunflower H. salicifolius
50. Heuchera common alumroot H. americana · roundleaf alumroot H. cylindrica · small-leaved alumroot H. parvifolia · coralbells H. sanguines · maple-leaved alumroot H. villosa
51. IrisI. brevicaulis · crested iris I. cristata · Douglas iris I. douglasiana · copper iris I. fulva · I. giganticaerulea · I. hexagona · golden iris I. innominata · dwarf lake iris I. lacustris · western blue flag I. missouriensis · cube-seed iris I. prismatica · arctic blue flag I. setosa · Oregon iris I. tenax · California iris I. tenuissima · dwarf iris I. verna · blue flag I. versicolor · southern blue flag I. virginica
52. LewisiaL. brachycalyx · L. columbiana · L. cotyledon · bitterroot L. rediviva · L. tweedyi
53. Witch hazel · Hamamelis spring witch hazel H. vernalis · common witch hazel H. virginiana
54. Hydrangea smooth hydrangea H. arborescens · oakleaf hydrangea H. quercifolia
55. Saint-John’s-wort · Hypericum Blue Ridge Saint-John’s-wort H. buckleyi · H. densiflorum · golden Saint-John’s-wort H. frondosum · Kalm’s Saint-John’s-wort H. kalmianum · shrubby Saint-John’s-wort H. prolificum · trailing Saint-John’s-wort H. suffruticosum · H. tetrapetalum
56. Sweetspire · Itea virginiana
57. Sweet gum · Liquidambar styraciflua
58. Tulip tree · Liriodendron tulipifera
59. Magnolia cucumber tree M. acuminata · M. ashei · southern magnolia M. grandiflora · bigleaf magnolia M. macrophylla · umbrella magnolia M. tripetala · sweet bay M. virginiana
60. Tupelo/Sour gum · Nyssa water tupelo N. aquatica · Ogeechee lime N. ogeche · sour gum N. sylvaticaH