Book Review: Bizarre Botanicals

Bizarre BotanicalsBizarre Botanicals: How to Grow String-of-Hearts, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Panda Ginger, and Other Weird and Wonderful Plants
by Larry Mellichamp and Paula Gross
284 pages
Timber Press, October 2010
List price: $24.95

I don’t know about you, but I’m drawn to the unusual, whether it’s interior design, fashion or plants. That’s not to say that the unusual is right for me all the time—but every now and then it’s fun to experiment.

The plant world is chock full of weirdos. Some stink, some are ugly, some are eerily animal-like in their behavior, but every one of the plants in Bizarre Botanicals is downright fascinating. This book highlights 75 out-of-the-ordinaries that are available to us gardeners; most are fairly easy to acquire, even if you have to purchase them online.

I love trivia when it comes to plants, and there’s plenty to satisfy me here. Each plant profile also gives basic growing information, including a difficulty rating. Characteristics are discussed in a conversational style, making this a fun book to read. The photography supports the text well, although I have a hard time looking at page 255 for long; it’s just a little creepy to me. But creepy equals bizarre, too.

Even though the authors wanted to feature plants that nearly every gardener could get their hands on, I would have loved to have read about some of those other strange ones they just allude to. Still, if a gardener friend with an extensive book collection doesn’t have this one, there’s your gift problem solved. I can’t imagine he or she wouldn’t enjoy Bizarre Botanicals.

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Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre

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