Herewith the second installment in our list of the best American gardening books, horticultural societies, perennials, shrubs, and trees. (For the first 20 of the Horticulture 100, see the March/April 2004 issue, or go to www.hortmag.com.)
21. Michael A. Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (Stipes Publishing, 1975; 5th edition 1998; in print) Whenever a question arises about a woody plant that can be grown in the United States, knowledgeable gardeners reach for this book, which has become so identified with its author that it is simply known as “Dirr.” Many gardening books are entertaining; a somewhat smaller number can be considered informative; only a handful are essential. “Dirr” is one of that select group.
22. Helena Rutherfurd Ely, A Woman’s Hardy Garden (Macmillan, 1903; reprint, Collier Books, 1990; in print) The early decades of the 20th century were remarkable for the number of fine books written by what one might term “inspired amateurs”—women whose knowledge of ornamental gardening was as thorough as any professional’s, and who were committed to raising the standards of American gardens. A Woman’s Hardy Garden covers the entire gamut of gardening, from site preparation to design to plant selection, with the clarity and sureness of a classic.
23. Thomas H. Everett, The New York Botanical Garden Illustrated Encyclopedia of Horticulture (Garland Publishing, 1980–82; out of print) To be a successful encyclopedist requires not only encyclopedic knowledge, but also nearly superhuman powers of organization and concentration. Thomas Everett, who served as a horticulturist at the New York Botanical Garden for more than five decades, had these qualities in abundance, with the result that, more than 20 years after its publication, his encyclopedia is still the most useful for American gardeners. From the best-known perennial to the most obscure exotic, it’s all here.
24. H. Lincoln Foster, Rock Gardening (Bonanza Books, 1968; reprint, Timber Press, 1982; in print) Few gardening couples have left as important a legacy, or are held in such respect and affection, as the late H. Lincoln (“Linc”) Foster and his wife, Laura Louise (“Timmy”) Foster. For decades, their garden in northern Connecticut, Millstream, provided the raw material for their vast knowledge of alpines and woodland plants. The erudition and eloquence of Rock Gardening, their most important book, make it indispensable reading for serious gardeners of all stripes.
25. American Hemerocallis Society (www.daylilies.org) The American Hemerocallis Society seeks to educate both home gardeners and professional growers about the genus Hemerocallis. Members receive The Daylily Journal, are invitied to regional meetings, and may display exhibits at society-accredited flower shows. The majority of the society’s members are amateur plant enthusiasts with a passion for growing daylilies, though growers and sellers are members as well.
26. American Horticultural Society (www.ahs.org) The AHS is one of the oldest gardening organizations in the country, and is dedicated to providing responsible horticultural information to people of all ages. It accomplishes its task both in print—members receive The American Gardener magazine—and in person: the AHS’s Master Gardener program is one of the best ways home gardeners can get answers to their gardening questions. Members can also participate in the seed exchange program, as well as a variety of other functions, programs, and tours.
27. American Hosta Society (www.hosta.org) The American Hosta Society provides extensive information to serious hosta collectors, as well as guidance for beginning gardeners with a budding interest in the genus. While hosta fanatics may turn to one of the society’s several publications, including The Hosta Journal and The Hosta Adventure, beginners will likely find what they need right on the society’s Web site (including links to award-winning hosta cultivars).
28. American Iris Society (www.irises.org) Representing perhaps one of America’s favorite perennials, the AIS serves the gardening community by providing extensive information about growing and maintaining irises. All members receive the AIS Bulletin, which features the 100 most popular irises, how to grow and hybridize irises, and AIS activities across the country. Their Web site features a variety of useful links, as well as a photo gallery to help gardeners identify iris cultivars.
29. Coneflower · Echinacea purple coneflower E. angustifolia · Appalachian coneflower E. laevigata · yellow coneflower E. paradoxa · purple coneflower E. purpurea · Tennessee coneflower E. tennesseensis
30. Wild Buckwheat · Eriogonum yellow buckwheat E. flavum · barestem buckwheat E. nudum · cushion buckwheat E. ovalifolium · sulfur flower E. umbellatum
31. Trout Lily · Erythronium fawn lily E. albidum · yellow trout lily E. americanum · fawn lily E. citrinum · adder’s tongue E. hendersonii · coast fawn lily E. revolutum · trout lily E. tuolumnense
32. Joe-Pye Weed/Boneset · Eupatorium mist flower E. coelestinum · hollow-stemmed joe-pye weed E. fistulosum · spotted joe-pye weed E. maculatum · boneset E. perfoliatum · purple joe-pye weed E. purpureum · white snakeroot E. rugosum
33. Hawthorn · Crataegus cockspur hawthorn C. crusgalli · Washington hawthorn C. phaenopyrum · dotted hawthorn C. punctata · fleshy hawthorn C. succulenta · green hawthorn C. viridis
34. Fothergilla dwarf fothergilla F. gardenii · large fothergilla F. major
35. Ocotillo · Fouquieria splendens
36. Franklin Tree · Franklinia alatamaha
37. Hickory/Pecan · Carya pignut hickory C. glabra · pecan C. illinoinensis · shagbark hickory C. ovata · black hickory C. texana
38. False Cypress · Chamaecyparis Lawson false cypress C. Iawsoniana · Nootka false cypress C. nootkatensis · Atlantic white cedar C. thyoides
39. Dogwood · Cornus pagoda dogwood C. alternifolia · silky dogwood C. amomum · bunchberry C. canadensis · swamp dogwood C. foemina · flowering dogwood C. florida · Pacific dogwood C. nuttallii · gray dogwood C. racemosa · red osier dogwood C. stolonifera
40. Holly · Ilex possumhaw I. decidua · inkberry I. glabra · Georgia holly I. longipes · American holly I. opaca · winterberry I. verticillata · yaupon I. vomitoria