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Botany for Gardeners

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  538 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
A bestseller since its debut in 1990, this indispensable and handy reference has now been expanded and updated to include an appendix on plant taxonomy and a comprehensive index. Two dozen new photos and illustrations make this new edition even richer with information. Its convenient paperback format makes it easy to carry and access, whether you are in or out of the garde ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 20th 2004 by Timber Press (first published August 1st 1990)
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Botany for Gardeners is an excellent intro to botany for anyone. Luckily, gardeners in this context seems to simply refer to anyone who wants to learn about botany outside of a school course and from a book that isn't a textbook (unlike several other agroecology-focused books I've read recently that were more about gardening advice somewhat informed by science than about the science itself).

While perhaps not as compelling as David Attenborough's The Private Life of Plants, Botany for Gardeners
Dec 10, 2012 Sherry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
I really liked this book, it's very indepth about how plants grow and their needs. This book might be a bit advanced for the average gardner who justs wants to grow some annuals and the odd perrenial, and just wants an instruction book on where and when to plant them. This book explains the actually works of the plant and gives you whys of where you should plant them in the particular places and when you should plant them to best meet the needs of the plant. This book is not necessary for the ad ...more
Sep 12, 2010 Kristi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent primer on botanical topics. While most of the information had been covered in many of my collegiate classes, I was impressed by the author's ability to synthesize breadth of detail with accessibility and ease of reading. The book also managed to cover a a lot ground, evident by the inclusion of topics that came up in an array of classes I had taken - from biology to entomology, and plant identification to soil science. Overall, this is a great book for anyone interested in t ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Shmoo100 rated it it was amazing

This book really changed my approach to gardening. There are a million 'tips' online for different plants and often the advice is contradictory. This helped me get to the basics of how plants work and what they need from me. I realized that I was going about gardening backwards, trying to treat the problems as they arose. Now I'm taking a more proactive approach, working on keeping the plants healthy.
Jan 24, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Contrary to its title, this book is actually really interesting. It is totally accessible, and it leaves me with facts about how plants grow that I find myself referring to when looking at a plant.

Like, look at the shape of that leaf - it means this. Or, those buttress roots are designed to help that tree stay upright in the loose soil of this tropical rainforest.

May 28, 2007 D. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: plantheads, gardeners and ethnobotanists
Shelves: botany
Brian Capon presents Plant Science to the layman in an easy-to-read format with diagrams and microscopic photography that virtually everyone can follow to develop a basic understanding of plant cell biology and function. A brilliant introduction to Botany.
Apr 16, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Got this book out of the library a few years ago on whim, was blown away by the material - it's like college biology written for 3rd graders (well, maybe 6th graders, but still). Just bought the book to own a week ago - definitely a must have!!
Oct 17, 2007 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All gardeners
Shelves: gardening
This is a great, easy to read, interesting intro to the world of botany. I had to read it for a class, but had actually already read (and enjoyed) it the previous summer!
Sep 01, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
Readable reference book that is a must-have if you want to know what's really inside the green world.
Sean Newman
Jan 27, 2017 Sean Newman rated it really liked it
This is a must read for gardeners and people interested in the plant world. Everything is broken down her for the layman to understand and grasp. For an experienced person in botany it was a helpful refresher.
Julie-anna Child
Nov 21, 2016 Julie-anna Child rated it it was amazing
Very helpful. The working of the plant, understanding this changes the way one gardens.
Katy Mann
Feb 20, 2015 Katy Mann rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Brian Capon’s Botany for Gardeners.

The book was recommended reading for volunteers at the Hunting into Library and Garden. I found it a nice refresher as the last botany class I had taken had been in high school.

The book covers such topics as plant growth, organization, reproduction and adaptation.

Brian’s love and enthusiasm for his subject comes through in his writing. His illustrations, both diagrams and photographs, were clear and illuminated the subject matter nicely. The book touc
Sep 02, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing
When I was 13 I used to pinch the leaves off coleus plants at Fred Meyers (it was Marketime back then) and then propagate new plants from the cuttings. Apparently I don't have a scientific mind; I never thought to wonder exactly HOW that works -- like, how come when you pinch the tip of a plant the side shoots grow and how come roots can grow from stems of some plants (and not others)?-- why is it that roots can grow from stems at all -- what are roots anyway and how is it possible for them to g ...more
Jan 13, 2012 Sean rated it it was amazing
If you (like me) are a plant lover and enjoy the wonderful company and companionship they provide, with proper care from our side as well, then this book is a must. For the layman gardener as myself, this book opens your eyes to the wonderful factual world of botany. Capon makes it easy to understand while also introducing a vast amount of terminologies which, before I read this book, were completely foreign. He delves from the molecular level to the more common observational level with ease, an ...more
Sara Van Dyck
Jun 02, 2013 Sara Van Dyck rated it really liked it

Excellent, readable. Best feature is exceptionally clear drawings, diagrams, and photos to illustrate what is shown in text. It provides substantial science, and the technical terms are well-defined, with limited reference to gardens. It discusses how plants grow, what are the growth patterns of a stem or tree, and the rationale behind certain garden techniques. Now I can see how nurseries or floriculturists can produce large, beautiful plants at any season. And I know what’s going on when my le
Jun 05, 2011 Anastasia rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2011
I learned a lot from this book, although by the end, I realized I didn't really care for the order in which the information was presented. I appreciated that the author broke down the Latin and Greek origins of the terminology. There were many beautiful photos. I did feel the author was not critical enough regarding concerns around genetic engineering and I even found (on page 160) a casual and positive reference to an herbicide (2, 4-D) that is linked to causing cancer. Overall, I would recomme ...more
Vikki Tesar
Nov 30, 2013 Vikki Tesar rated it liked it
I had to read this book for a class. It is a well written and an engaging read if you want to learn more about the morphology and physiology of the plantworld. The book is written so that the layman could easily understand the topics plus there is a glossary in the back in case you forgot a botanical definition while reading. The book is filled with good illustrations and photos that highlight the chapter topics. A great book for gardeners and nature lovers that want to take their interest a ste ...more
May 19, 2015 Derek rated it really liked it
This book was a good cursory introduction to botany. The book is pretty dense for its size and does not go into too much detail, but that was the point. I found it helpful and interesting, though some parts when over my head and others were a bit difficult to follow. I suspect the latter problem is attributable to shortcomings on the part of the reader and not of the author.

If you know nothing about botany and would like know slightly more than nothing, I recommend this book.
May 19, 2016 Tim rated it liked it
Very useful as a foundation guide for learning gardening. If learning gardening was like learning to play music, this would be the boring theory book that makes one a better player when the guitar is actually picked up.

It's a little heavy on the technical terminology and when I read it I felt like I was in first year botany at a university. Then again, it was a book that was easy to understand if the reader takes time with it.
Apr 18, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
I was reading this book for an hour at a time sitting in the front garden, luxuriating in the subtropical winter sunshine, so I could leap up and examine leaves and stems as needed or just contemplate the plants around me in a new light.

Obviously, a book so dense with basic scientific information about the world of plants, most of which was new to me, needs to be re-read and used for reference purposes but it was also well-written and a good read.

Jan 15, 2016 Michael rated it liked it
I chose this book because it seemed a straightforward, simple reference book for someone uninitiated in the subject who is interested in botany. The book was very coherent, and the illustrations and photos definitely helped me to understand the different concepts, anatomy, and processes involved in the lives of plants.
May 13, 2008 Tersa rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to learn about how plants function. It is quite accessable and also has a glossary if you don't know some the terms. I originally used it as a text book for a plant physiology class, but it is a good read for others as well. It is not a gardening book, but a book about the plants themselves.
Anthrodiva Stommen
Feb 06, 2009 Anthrodiva Stommen rated it liked it
Shelves: homeandgarden
It was good, covered a lot of ground, but from my point of view a little basic. I think I am looking for a book that will replace long years of experience and observation, and that is just not gonna happen.
Nov 13, 2009 Jrohde rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history
I have long looked for a book that would give me the science of botany without too much detail. this book is really clear, full of diagrams and clear explanation. for anyone interested in the wonder of plants and how they grow and reproduce, this is a great find.
Sep 05, 2008 Margaret is currently reading it
this book is great for the scientific minded gardener who spends time in the dirt, wondering how plants do what they do. a good source of trivia with which to dazzle or condescend to your friends, however the mood may strike you.
Not what I was hoping for. I was looking more for an applied botany book, a gardening book plus science. Instead, this is botany for dummies: dumbed down science with little practical information for gardeners.

The writing is also mediocre at best.
Jul 14, 2013 Dave rated it it was amazing
Excellent survey of botanical principles, with effective photos and illustrations to match. You'll get breadth but not-too-heavy depth. It's not prescriptive from a gardening standpoint, but begins to illuminate why gardeners employ certain strategies, and why plants behave as they do.
Oct 21, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
great for gardeners and a great introduction to plants if you are not taking college classes but eventually want to read a more academic Botany book. Explains things in layman's terms and makes you more ready for the academic version.
Dec 22, 2009 Mylinda rated it liked it
Shelves: herb
I was surprised by the readability of this book. While it gives a lot of information about botany it can be understood by the ordinary individual interested in plants.
Feb 06, 2009 William rated it it was amazing
Excellent book.

Comprehensive treatment written for gardeners rather than for PhD. botanists.

Good illustrations and color photos.

I read the library copy but definitely worth buying.
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