Cover Image: What is that Plant?

What is that Plant?

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Member Reviews

If love gardening or simply want to learn more about plants this is the right book: informative and easy to follow.
I found a lot of information and it's a perfect reference book.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine

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What is that Plant? is a well put together beginner friendly plant guide and resource by Louise Burfitt. Due out 28th April 2023 from Pen & Sword on their White Owl imprint, it's 232 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats.

Gardening provides so many positive benefits: exercise, improved mental & physical health, beauty from the scents and colours of the plants we maintain, serenity, distraction from the stresses of a hectic and often confusing daily life. A well maintained garden is a thing of beauty and joy. Identifying the component plants in a garden is not always easy or straightforward. Perhaps a lovely plant has caught one's eye at a garden centre, how to know where to plant and how to care for it in the home garden? This is a useful resource guide to identifying and vetting plants common in gardens in the UK (and elsewhere).

The book is divided into four main sections: perennials & bulbs, self-seeders & spreaders, shrubs grasses trees & climbers, and weeds & wildflowers. Each section contains many individual listings for diverse plant profiles which include: common & botanical (Latin) names, highlighted text box with profile info (flowering season, habit, conditions, origins, toxicity, etc), and a description written in accessible layman language. Every profile listing is also accompanied by one or more unobstructed colour photos showing foliage, blooms, and other features. Pictured varietal names are also included, where applicable. Latin/botanical names follow the newest agreed nomenclature rulings and there were some surprises for me contained in the book (rosemary has been changed from R. officinalis to Salvia rosmarinus, which I, for one, missed the memo).

The author has also included an abbreviated resource and bibliography/links list, vocabulary, and cross referenced index.

Four and a half stars. This is a simple, no-frills guide and resource which, although slanted toward gardeners in the UK will have relevance for readers located elsewhere. It would also make a superlative selection for public or school library acquisition, allotment library, gardening groups, and activity groups.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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What Is that Plant? Good question, one I ask myself frequently. Many are plants I should know the names of after seeing them for years. I tend to walk by the more common plants without proper scrutiny BUT there is no time like now to learn about them to gain a better appreciation. This book contains 150 plants including perennials, flowers, shrubs, weeds, wildflowers and self-seeding plants in Britain and Europe but many also grow in North America, especially the United States. Are these worth including in your garden or not? Many are invasive; others attract specific birds, butterflies and insects; and still others smell heavenly,

Author Louise Burfitt describes plant characteristics, growth habit and habitat, blooming period if applicable, origin, common names, toxicity, usefulness in any way (or not) and how to spot them. My favourite parts are the perks, pitfalls and did you know? I live and garden in both frigid Zone 2 and beautiful Zone 8 which are worlds apart and this book helps to determine what works best where. There are plants to utilize or discard for every zone, every gardening level. A garden zone map and multiple photographs for identification would be very useful here. But I do like that general photographs are included. Some plants draw bees in droves, others aphids and powdery mildew while others are perfect in flower arrangements and in medications. Many are almost impossible to get rid of once you have them. All this information is extremely helpful to know when planning your own garden. Though I knew that peonies can live for decades, I did not know they can live to 100 years!

This book is incredibly practical, fun, pretty to look at and has inspired me to draw up a list of plants which will grow beautifully in my dry stone walls in the Mediterranean such as Campanula (I did not know it is also called Dalmatian bellflower) and Mexican fleabane as well as drought-resistant plants such as Nigella (also known as Jack in prison!) and even more lavender. Some plants are so invasive they are legally banned. One plant which is new to me is the Mahonia.

If you wish to identify once and for all plants you are very familiar with or if you want to know what to pull out or add to your garden, this book has your name on it.

My sincere thank you to Pen & Sword, White Owl and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this lovely book which I will refer to again and again.

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Many of the plants listed in this book are also common in the US. From the description of the book snipit, I was expecting a book that would help identify a plant in various stages of growth, not just in full flowering. That is when it is easiest to identify. While this is a nice little book' and includes some detailed info about some plants; it is limited as far as the breadth of the plants covered.

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A lovely book which has photographs and information of 150 plants which are commonly grown in gardens Listed alphabetically, the plants, whilst being identified also has further information on flower, foliage, height., spread, origin, preferred growing condition, toxicity, and "also known as" .
The photos are very useful for quick ID, whilst the added information helps with choice of the plant for the garden. Very helpful book.. Thanks you NetGalley and the publishers for the DRC

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This is a nice book for British readers who want to know what plants they spot. It is not really useful to me without zone information and I disagreed with the author on what were weeds. Some plants were inaccurately described as poisonous that aren’t. I suppose you could classify tomato plants and rhubarb plants as poisonous too since their leaves are poisonous, but it’s doing the reader a disservice to label plants like chickweed, elderberries and tulips poisonous. Lovely photos and a sweet tone.

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This was a real treat to read. Fantastic pictorial and very informative description on each plant. I believe I will be using this book for my future foraging and gardening activities. I loved the "perks" section, I found that having extra info on plant benefits was very valuable.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. I will be re-reading this book again and again.

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