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Rock gardening.

The past two years have been kind to lovers of alpine and rock-garden plants. Two fine reference works, one a revised English book and one a reprinted American classic, are again available. Both have extensive plant lists based on first-hand experience of the authors.

Rock Gardening, by H. Lincoln Foster (Timber Press, Portland, 1982; $22.95) is the American work, first published in 1968, now paperbound. Listings of some 1,900 flowering perennias, bulbs, trees, shrubs, and ferns are at its heart, but it also has chapters that cover planting sites, soils, paths, pools, pavements, and specific planting situations such as alpine lawns, screes, outcrops, tubs, walls, beds.

The author gives the whys and hows of virtually every aspect of outdoor rock gardening, making no assumptions about the expertise of the reader. Even the glossary is bordered with drawings that clarify definitions.

There are no photographs, but some fine drawings, and Foster supplies a host of judgments about which plants and combinations are most promising in various parts of the garden. His writing style is interesting and easy to follow, and his experience lends authority to his words.

The only negative: a few botanical names are now out of date.
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Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1984
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