3 Palms

Logo civilized jungle Capture

3 palms

Bromeliads (for Home and Garden)                                                                               

University Press of Florida                                                                                                            

By Jack Kramer                                                                                                                             

159 pages

For a smaller, soft cover – niche-specific – piece this has substantive data and photographs.  However, I am not a fan of line drawings – preferring actual four-color pictures – which Kramer employs in several sections.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Exotic Plant Manual Flowers of the World:  Fascinating plants to live with – 

By Alfred Byrd Graf                                                                                                                     

Roehrs Company                                                                                                                          

840 pages

Mine, a fifth edition, is a 1978 tome.  For me, the print is much too small and a bit difficult to read and, as many know, black and white pictures, such as are used in it, leave me cold.  However, if you seek a good book to cross reference from/with, this big book might be of help to you.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)  

Exotic Planting for Adventurous Gardeners                                                                                   

By Christopher Lloyd                                                                                                             

Timber Press                                                                                                                                 

192 pages

As a rule, if it’s published by Timber Press it will be a good publication.  However, though well laid out and complemented by fine photography, for me this is a bit too broad and wide-ranging, lacking the specifics I require for our gardens.  But, as a gardening “generalist” publication, this is OK.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)


By Philip Perl and editors                                                                                                         

Time-Life Books                                                                                                                                    

159 pages

From the TIME-LIFE Encyclopedia of Gardening series, back in the 70’s, this is about what one would expect.  It utilizes both color pictures and color illustrations to describe and identify. . . . and (admitted by one who does not normally care for drawings) done rather well.  These sketches have certainly helped me identify varieties of ferns.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Flores Silvestres (Pocket Guide to the Wildflowers of de San Miguel de Allende) 

By Richard Cretcher

R&D Publishing 

175 pages

Very niche-specific, this is a delightful small publication that is packed with nicely organized, well presented and simply superlative pictures of flowers from this locale.  An enjoyable, visual publication.  (Possibly available through www.used.addall.com or www.vialibri.net – 3 palms)

Flowers of the Caribbean                                                                                                                     

By G.W. Lennox and S.A. Seddon

Macmillan Caribbean                                                                                                                                        

72 pages

While initially published in 1978 and focused on the Caribbean area, this compact booklet has good data laid out in two tightly packed, concise sections: “Herbs and Shrubs” and “Trees” that are equally germane to other tropical locales.  Its close up photographs are a real plus!  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Flowers of the World  

By Robert S. Lemmon and Charles L. Sherman                                                              

Doubleday and Company                                                                                                             

279 pages

Mine is a 1964 edition.  The complementing pictures are nice but this publication is, perhaps, a bit copy heavy. However, for those who enjoy immersing themselves in the depth of copious data this may be a more enjoyable book.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Gardening with Indigenous Plants, (Easy-to-grow Southern African Plants) 

By Kristo Pienaar                                                                                                                      

Struik Publishing                                                                                                                            

96 pages

Yes, this is location specific but not a bad book for identifying, determining characteristics and learning cultivation and care of an array of tropical plants ranging from trees, shrubs and annuals through perennials, bulbs and succulents to climbers ground covers and even water plants.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms) 

Genera Palmarun, (The Evolution and Classification of Palms)                                              

By multiple authors                                                                                                                         

Kew Publishing                                                                                                                             

732 pages 

While certainly the most expensive tome in my well over sixty tropical book collection, it is quite possibly the one I go to the least!  If ever anyone told you how to make a watch when you simply asked the time, this is it.  Botanical academics, college biology majors and those into the ultimate essence of every aspect of palms – I am sure – can but barely contain their enthusiasm for this (in my opinion) multi-syllabic, Latin name intensive, way too technical, much more data than any lay gardener would ever want to know, publication.  It is a difficult one for me to rate so my three palms reflects what I feel is appropriate for simple, self- taught, home gardeners like myself.  (Available through The International Palm Society, info@palms.org – 3 palms)

Landscaping with Tropical Plants

By Monica Moran Brandies                                                                                                     

Sunset Books Publishing                                                                                                                  

128 pages

This book strives to “do it all”.   And, covering the allure, design and starting of a tropical garden through effective applications of tropical plants to a “Sampler” of 54 tropical plants, it does a pretty fair job of it!   Though, for my taste, additional information in the latter section might have been of more benefit to the lay reader seeking good, general information as to what tropical plants look/grow best where.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Palms and Cycads, (A complete guide to selecting, growing and propagating)                      

By David Squire                                                                                                                            

Ball Publishing                                                                                                                              

160 pages

This, in its latter portions, is in a rather reader friendly format – particularly the “A-Z of Palms” section that discusses and describes various palms and cycads.  The first parts tends to be a bit cumbersome but skip past these parts and come back to them when you’ve more patience or simply read it as you might eat an elephant – one bite at a time!  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Paradise Found (Growing tropicals in your backyard)                                                           

By Norman Winter                                                                                                                    

Taylor Publishing Company                                                                                                        

178 Pages

One goes on through the first six of its nine chapters reasonably enjoying the contents – though squinting a bit at the small print – and then WHAM, for some unknown reason the pictures turn to black and white.  It’s Ok but not at the head of the list.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

The Subtropical Garden                                                                                                             

By Jacqueline Walker                                                                                                                  

Timber Press                                                                                                                                 

175 pages

I’m a bit unsure of how to describe this book.  It’s nice enough but not one to use for plant identification.  It does, however, have interesting approaches via a major section entitled “Plant Architecture” with discussion of incorporating palms, bamboo, tree ferns and flowering trees into such.  And then there is the “Soft furnishings” section regarding climbers, shrubs, “flamboyant foliage”, bromeliads, ferns, orchids and water/bog plants.   It’s interesting.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

The Tropical Garden                                                                                                                     

By William Warren                                                                                                                 

Thames and Hudson                                                                                                                       

224 pages

Though similarly titled to the Walker’s book (the previous one) they have little in common regarding format or presentation.  Having lived in the Pacific Rim for several years – and Thailand specifically for two of those – I thoroughly enjoy the pictures from “The Land of Smiles” and its wonderful tropical plants.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Tropical Blossoms of the Caribbean                                                                                                                

By Dorothy and Bob Hargreaves 

Ross – Hairgeaves

64 pages

Here, too, is another of those small booklets that it’s fun to have for checking and confirming information found in others but certainly not one that you need rush out to buy.  (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)

Water Gardening                                                                                                                          

By Peter Robinson                                                                                                                  

Covent Garden Books                                                                                                                        

236 pages

Prepared by the American Horticultural Society, this is pretty much a “How To” book.  It covers the design, construction, selection and planting of specimens and required maintenance.  In that I do little in the way of water gardening I’m probably not the best authority on this one!   (Available through Amazon Books – 3 palms)