When it comes to reading, I like to look at the pictures. Which is why The Ultimate Visual Guide - Flowering Plants has become my favorite gardening book. With more than 1,000 illustrations, this, to me, reads more like a children's picture book than a gardening resource for adults. So why do I like this book so much?

My Favorite Gardening Book

The Ultimate Visual Guide - Flowering Plants contains a wealth of information for gardeners of all experience levels. This 192 page book begins with descriptive pages full of detailed anatomical plant terms. This is where I turn whenever I encounter a complex written description of a plant.

From pinnate leaves to funnelform flowers, the clearly labeled illustrations are a must have resource for deciphering written plant descriptions and ultimately identifying unknown species. I find the detailed drawings make it much easier to compare identifying features of plants more clearly than the multitude of plant photographs found on the internet.

The remainder of the book reveals two page spreads featuring 145 flowering plant families. Each family is briefly introduced using both common and scientific names, followed by a general overview of facts and features highlighting familiar characteristics.

This is followed by high quality illustrations of a select number of species within each family. In addition to the picture, each species is listed by both common and taxonomical names and includes an interesting blurb about the plant. The highlighted species are both rare and unfamiliar flower specimens from around the world as well as commonly known plants of economic importance.

I find this part of the book the most interesting. Like a child with their favorite picture book, I peruse the pages of The Ultimate Visual Guide - Flowering Plants simply to admire the exquisite drawings. I find this volume goes far beyond its coffee table book format.

Visualizing Plants

Both as a writer and a flora enthusiast, I find this guide to flowering plants to be both informative and interesting. I often use it to gain insight on plant families or to double-check the taxonomical spelling of family names when writing articles for Gardening Know How. It's one of the few hard copy resources I keep within reach of my desk.

So, would I recommend this book to other gardeners? Perhaps, but be warned that The Ultimate Visual Guide - Flowering Plants does not contain gardening advice, information on garden design, or long lists of commonly grown plants.

Instead, it serves as a bridge between garden how-to books and stuffy, hard-to-read reference manuals. This book is perfect for gardeners like me, who want to learn more about the plants they grow, not just how to grow them.

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.