The New Encyclopedia of Hostas (Anglais) Relié – 23 décembre 2009
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I looked thru this book over the weekend.... I'll admit, it was more pic viewing than reading, but here are my opinions:
Since this is a updated release of her old book, I will compare it to the previous book.
The pics of newer cultivars are indeed nice. Yes, there are lots of repeats from the old Grenfell encyclopedia, but I didn't seem to mind.
One thing that did bother me is that if she was referencing a sport of a plant, she'd put the pic with the parent's listing, even if it didn't fall into the heading of the chapter. I found this to be distracting.
She and Shadrack (the co-author/photographer, who will be speaking at the 2010 National Convention) have clearly done a lot of their research in the states this round.... I think that's great! There was even a pic of Rhino Hide.... and that was just registered in what, 2007?
Is it crucial to your hosta book library? Well, for me, yes! I really like the newer cultivars and would like to have pics at my fingertips without having to have the internet. I often have at least one reference book in the car or my bag when I go hosta shopping. This one, I feel, is the best choice between the old Grenfell, the small Grenfell and the Zilis Hostapedia. I believe this is a good value at Amazon's price with free shipping. I do not think it is worth listed retail price.
If you are just getting into hosta collecting, I'd choose this book before Zilis since it does have a pic of each plant profiled, though all plants are not profiled. With Zilis, it's the opposite.... most all hostas are profiled, but only about 30% (my estimate) have a photo. But Zilis weighs 12 lbs!
Bottom line.... Great book, but is is CERTAINLY not an all encompassing reference, but it does have great photos and general information!
The book has individual, detailed descriptions and high quality color photos of many many hostas.
The hostas are grouped by leaf color: green hostas, blue hostas, gold hostas,
variegated-margin hostas and medio-variegated hostas.
Each color-group makes a chapter in the book, and is of great help in organizing ones hosta-dreams.
The text is superb, covering specific information for each cultivar: color and shape of its leaves and flowers,
its growth-rate: slow or fast. The plant shape: open habit or a dense mound, its natural disease resistance,
the hosta's origin and more.
Following these chapters there is the most interesting part of the book from my viewpoint which is a detailed discussion on a wide variety of hostas. There are so many around - about 7500 varieties at the last count! - that it would be impossible to describe them all in one volume. However, 380 odd pages are devoted to this and the authors do include a wide and representative selection including the most popular. I could not think of any which I would expect to be included which were not here.
The descriptions are very good as they include not only detailed descriptions including size and cultivation notes, but also when and who they were introduced by. There were some surpises here as, for instance, H Fire Island which has been a very popular hosta in the last couple of years with its outstanding red stalks, was introduced as long ago as 1998 and obviously took some while to gain a following. As there are so many hostas included, they are conveniently split into chapters, eg hostas with green leaves, hostas with chartreuse and so on. There is also a welcome section on miniature and very small hostas which are now very popular.
Finally there are lists of sources of hostas, hosta societies and other resources if you want to take your study of hostas further. So really a book for an enthusiast (as you may have gathered I am an enthusiastic fan of hostas) but really a must have volume.
The hostas it does include have a fairly complete explanation of them. I think the website [...] and some other resources will be more useful for identification purposes. This is a nice coffee table book with a good bit of information.