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Penelope O’Sullivan is the author of numerous gardening books and contributor to many magazines, including Country Gardens, Country Home, Traditional Home, and several Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications. She has a garden design business in New Hampshire.
It's always hard to find exactly what you want in plant identification books. Not enough detailed photos, no mention of common problems, not enough emphasis on the best cultivars or plant sizes. The Homeowner's Complete Tree Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants by Penelope O'Sullivan (Storey Publishing, 2007) solves a lot of those problems. The introductory section discusses how to use plants in the landscape, then moves on to choosing the right plant for the right place, with excellent lists of trees and shrubs for sun shade, wet dry soils, etc. In addition, the author has lists you seldom see elsewhere: top choices for standout barks, colorful evergreens, unusual textures, striking silhoutettes.
Another section on plant care covers major diseases, pollution-tolerant plants and also planting, pruning, and rejuvenating shrubs. Each entry in the A to Z list of trees and shrubs has a general plant description, an excellent section on landscape use, followed by "Designer's Choice" -- a listing of the best cultivars on the market. Photographs by Karen Bussolini would be quite helpful in identification.
“A LANDSCAPER'S ENCYCLOPEDIA. Here's the big, thick book on everything you want to know about trees and shrubs.”
St. Petersburg Times
“Most gardeners are practical people who need a lot of information on a lot of issues. That’s why I really like this down-to-earth 416-page rundown on the ambitious topic of trees and shrubs.”
“The real jewel of this volume is the extensive A-Z directory of nearly 350 trees and shrubs, many offering more than on season of interest. There is even a handy pronunciation guide for every plant name.”Library Journal
“This book looks great, a true encyclopedia on trees and shrubs and how to select and care for them.”The Journal-News
“…an all-inclusive guide to choosing, planting, and caring for these wonderful woody plants.”
The Journal Inquirer (Manchester, Conn.)
“This handbook is a source of inspiration and seasoned advice for making sound choices from the start and maintaining your plants as they develop and grow.”Lexington Herald-Leader
“One problem with garden books that try to say too much about everything is that they often end up saying too little about anything. Happily, this is not the case with The Homeowner’s Complete Tree Shrub Handbook by garden designer and author Penelope O’Sullivan.”
The American Gardener