BOOK REVIEW on Perennials

Post last updated: June 20th, 2019

Your Florida Guide to Perennials-

A persistent problem for Florida gardeners when trying to find a good perennial book is that more than half of the plants an author suggests won’t grow here. That list is long – Astilbe, Hosta, Peony and many versions of attractive pine trees won’t grow beyond Zone 8.

There IS a book for Florida gardeners – Your Florida Guide to Perennials: Selection, Establishment, and Maintenance by Sydney Park Brown and Rick K. Schoellhorn (University Press of Florida, 2006). This is a slim volume of 124 pages. Most of the two-inch photos are small but in color; only a few were half-page photos. Most of the book is given over to plant descriptions, hardiness zones, and both the common and latin names.

I recently learned of peacock gingers and the book has a three-page spread on all kinds of gingers. Several types of plants that have numerous varieties different from the commonly known were not given more space. I must confess to thinking they could have done a better job with this book.

12 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW on Perennials”

  1. Interestingly enough, Jacksonville has more than one zone because of the river. Each zone is divided in 2 zones, A & B. The west side of the river is 8B where the east side is 9A. Also, because of the river we get little environmental pockets. I live on Julington Creek and don’t get alot of frost. Also, I have annuals that survive longer than they should. (my garden is magic)
    Becky B

    1. Becky B – How did you come by this info about the zones? Are you a Master Gardener? I live on the westside and am very much aware that it is 10 degrees colder here than elsewhere in Jacksonville BUT I can’t grow astilbe or hostas. Invite me out to your magic garden some time. I could take pics for my blog and for the MGC blog.

  2. It always bugged me, too, that plant labels were not always accurate for North Carolina when I lived there. Many plants that were labeled ‘sun’, I had to put in at least part shade (or even full shade!) Gardening in the South is very different than gardening in the North. I’m sure that gardening in the Way Down South is totally different, too!

    1. Indie – I feel like I have to research every plant before I buy it. I can’t trust the nursery to be carrying plants that will grow in my zone, I can’t trust their instructions, can’t even be sure it’s what they claim it is. Plus, plant prices have gone through the roof in the last five years. The result? I’m growing more and more plants from seed. My neighbor must be on his earth mover today. I hear heavy equipment…

  3. It must be very frustrating to live outside of zones 5 though 8 when you’re trying to find plant information. It does seem that most books cover plants that only grow in those zones. It’s good that you found a book that has some great information in it suited to your garden. I also appreciate you joining in the meme. I think I’m going to start growing more gingers in my garden. They are beautiful plants, and I’ve found that a lot of them are hardy to zone 7. Wahoo!

  4. Once you get into books and blogs for Florida Gardening, you have to determine whether they are writing about North Florida or South Florida. Some plants that persist in Central Florida are root hardy where I am, almost Florida. There’s a book that I ‘ve borrowed from the Library about Perennial Gardening in the Coastal South, most helpful.

    1. Nell Jean – You are SO right about determining whether a book is about North, Central or South Florida because there is a BIG difference. I found a library book with a similar title — Garden Perennials for the Coastal South by Barbara Sullivan — and have put it on reserve. Thanks for mentioning it.

Say something, will you? Your comment will appear after it is approved.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.