Book Review - Right Plant Right Place

Book cover of Right Plant Right Place by Nicola Ferguson

Thoroughly recommended, an excellent resource for anybody interested in plants.

4 Stars

Publisher: Octopus Publishing Group Limited
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1-84403-148-9

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As the title suggests, Right Plant Right Place is a reference book that gives the reader invaluable information on which plants are suitable for a particular site, soil, purpose or theme. More than 1,400 plants are categorised in helpful chapters.

Millions of pounds must be wasted every year when people purchase plants that are simply not suitable for the planting site or soil. Right Plant Right Place takes the guesswork out of plant selection. It is a book that could potentially save time and money by recommending plants that will thrive and quickly establish in a particular site or soil. For example, there are chapters entitled Plants suitable for heavy clay soils and Plants tolerant of dry shade.

Nicola Ferguson does not just focus on site and soil requirements though. There are also excellent chapters detailing plants suitable for a particular purpose e.g. Plants suitable for ground cover or Plants suitable for crevices in paving. If you want particular colours in your garden or need some extra interest during a particular season there are relevant dedicated chapters such as "Plants with purple, bronze or red leaves" and "Winter-flowering plants".

Right Plant Right Place would be an excellent addition to any gardener's library. Professional Horticulturists would find it very useful, maybe for problem solving, when selecting suitable plants for a site. Keen amateur gardeners would further improve their plant knowledge. It would also be a very useful book if you are completely new to gardening and have very little plant knowledge. If for example, you are moving house, you will be faced with a new site, a new soil texture, structure and pH. If you can gather some very basic information about the new garden Right Plant Right Place will be invaluable in helping you to choose the plants that will thrive and succeed.

Each of the 29 chapters has a very comprehensive and informative introduction. All of the illustrated plants in the book have a good quality photograph. The plants are conveniently organised in every chapter into mature height order. So if you are looking for a tall plant in a particular chapter, you know to look at the start of that chapter.

Every illustrated plant in the book has a full Latin name and common name. There are quick reference details on flowering time and colour, light level requirements, whether or not the plant holds the prestigious RHS Award of garden Merit, a precise hardiness rating, and whether or not the plant's flowers are suitable as cut flowers.

A good description of the plant follows the quick reference notes, giving enough detail on the plant to help you make your decision. Nicola Ferguson describes all the features and dimensions of the plant, and if you are not keen on that specific species or cultivar, she also recommends closely related alternatives that can often be found elsewhere in the book.

At the end of each description, other possible uses for the plant are bullet-pointed e.g. "also suitable for colourful autumn foliage".

The indexes at the end of the book reflect how plants in the book often have more than one reference in the book, because they often have more than one use or purpose, or are suitable for more than one site or soil. There are two indexes; one listing botanical names, the other common names. This is very handy, especially if you only know one or the other.

Gardening Guru's Verdict

Thoroughly recommended, an excellent resource for anybody interested in plants.

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