An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis
by Mary Toomey and Everett Leeds,
Timber Press, hardcover, 426 pages, $82.95.
Publishers often describe their gardening books as “definitive” and “complete”. In the case of An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis, the words apply in spades. Opening chapters outline the history of clematis, their cultivation, care and propagation. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on clematis in the landscape, which shows in words and photos how these versatile vines can be sent up trees, through roses and shrubs, up and over various supports and even used as ground cover and container plants.
How and when to prune clematis is a mystery to many a gardener. A helpful chapter details three pruning methods-minimal or no pruning; selective trimming to shape and control; or an annual, hard cutting back-and the timing for each, based on whether the vines flower on old or new growth, and when. And, in the directory of more than 550 species and hybrids that follows, each vine is assigned to one of the three groups-mystery solved. Virtually all of the clematis listed are shown in full colour photos on the same page for easy reference.
Clearly a labour of great dedication, this in-depth reference book will appeal to any gardener with more than a passing interest in the queen of vines.
-- Patrick Lima