by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix,
Firefly Books, 288 pages,
A less comprehensive but more beautifully illustrated reference than Armitage's, this is a general guide to some of the better-known annuals, biennials and short-lived perennials suitable for gardens in temperate (but not specifically Canadian) climates. Its plants are arranged by family in a traditional botanical (seasonal) order, beginning with Ranunculaceae and ending with the daisy and grass families. It covers their original habitats, countries of origin and needs in the garden. There is a good section on ways to use annuals, including details on formal bedding, annuals as fillers and for natural plantings.
The authors also offer to help readers find seed sources for any of the rare plants in the book via their e-mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although both books would be welcome additions to any gardener's library, Armitage's manual offers much more in-depth information on an assortment of unusual plants. And, at almost twice the price, it is probably more valuable to the seasoned gardener. The less detailed Annuals and Biennials, however, with its lovely pictures and shorter passages, would be a helpful resource for the budding gardener.