BOOK REVIEW: A Gardener’s Guide to Botany by Scott Zona

A Gardener's Guide to Botany: The biology behind the plants you love, how they grow, and what they needA Gardener’s Guide to Botany: The biology behind the plants you love, how they grow, and what they need by Scott Zona
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Release Date: December 6, 2022

This beginner’s guide to botany is well conceived and executed. The photographs are beautiful and well-chosen to help the reader understand the complexities discussed in the text. The text gets definitionally dense in places, but also presents fascinating ideas in plain English. I learned a lot from the book, particularly where it was less steeped in technical terminology and details and offered intriguing ideas and examples.

While the book’s eight chapters aren’t formally divvied up, I would place them into three groups. Chapters one and two are about what plants are and how they are organized to do what they do. Chapters three through five are about what plants need to survive (water, light, and nutrients, respectively) and why. The last three chapters explore the main activities plants engage in (i.e. defense, reproduction, and seed dispersal.)

I found this book to be informative and readable, and if you’re looking for a basic guide to botany that skillfully employs photographs, I’d have a look at this one.


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BOOK REVIEW: Plant Science for Gardeners by Robert Pavlis

Plant Science for Gardeners: Essentials for Growing Better PlantsPlant Science for Gardeners: Essentials for Growing Better Plants by Robert Pavlis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

Out: June 7, 2022

This book provides a basic overview of botany for gardeners. It’s written in a way that’s readable to a science neophyte, and both uses garden-relevant examples as well as considers biological concepts primarily as is germane to the ornamental plants and vegetables gardeners tend to cultivate.

The big takeaway for me was that gardeners are being sold bogus technologies and techniques that seem intuitively sound if one doesn’t have the requisite understanding of science to see where the fallacies lie. Throughout the book, there are sections that refute common botany myths. To give some examples, there’s the idea of painting over cut limbs that can trap water and contribute to rot, and there are soil treatments that are superfluous.

There were a couple of points at which I had to re-read to make sense of what was being said, not because it was complicated but because of issues like explanations that didn’t include all the information necessary for clarity or statements being made in such a way as to mislead the mind a bit. The two cases that spring to mind dealt in physics more than biology, so I couldn’t say whether this just reflects my limited understanding of botany – relative to that of physics. At any rate, I don’t believe any wrong information was given. There were just a couple instances where information was presented in a way that could be confusing, but – for the most part – the explanations were clear and seemed consistent with my understanding of the subject.

If you want to enhance your understanding of botany and some of the myths that lead to poor practices in the garden, you may want to look into this book.


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