Practical Botany for Gardeners — Over 3,000 Terms Explained and Explored — Geoff Hodge

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A gentle guide to the green world . . . organized precisely how a non-botanist would need it done. Chapters introduce the plant kingdom and how botanists classify it; tackle growth, form and function; and take you inside a plant to understand how its cells, nutrition and hormones actually function. Others explore reproduction, soil, pests and disorders. . . It's a beautiful book

— Denver Post

For anyone who has been horrified by the lopsided life that remains after a bout of pruning, gardening writer Geoff Hodge has some gentle advice: Pruning is both an art and a science. You’ll be better equipped to take on the challenge after reading the chapter on pruning in Practical Botany for Gardeners. . . . Botanical illustrations on almost every page add a decorative touch, and profiles of botanical artists pay tribute to those who make plants come alive on the page

— Boston Globe

The more I learn about gardening (organic, of course! — whether its my efforts to become an urban farmer or just to grow sustainably — the less I realize I know! I do know that understanding The Basics is essential, but identifying all of them, understanding each and then seeing how they are all connected and complement each other can be challenging, to say the least!

Gardening can be frustratingly shrouded in secrecy.

You know the drill. Fickle plants make seemingly spontaneous decisions to bloom or bust, seeds sprout magically in the blink of an eye, and deep-rooted mysteries unfold underground and out of sight. Understanding basic botany is like unlocking a horticultural code. Fortunately, learning a little science can reveal the secrets of the botanical universe and shed some light on what’s really going on in your garden.

Practical Botany for Gardeners is more than just a useful reference book on the science of botany and the language or horticulture. It is a practical, hands-on guide that will help gardeners at all levels better understand how plants grow, what affects their performance, and how to get better results. And, it was co-published with England's Royal Botanic Gardens and the Kew  Garden — talk about impeccable credentials and expertise! Also, check out author Geoff Hodge's cred and "royal" background in About the Author below.

Practical Botany for Gardeners provides an elegant and accessible introduction to the world of botany. It presents the essentials that every gardener needs to know, connecting explanations of scientific facts with useful gardening tips.

For easy navigation, the book breaks down key areas and terminology with chapters arranged by theme, such as plant types, plant parts, inner workings, and external factors, including pests. It is further subdivided into useful headings such as "Seed Sowing" and "Pruning".

Flip to the pruning section that both defines "lateral buds" and explains how far back on a shoot to cut in order to propagate them. In the roots section, you’ll not only learn how different types of roots support a plant but also find that adding fungi to soil aids growth.

The "Botany in Action" boxes provide instantly accessible practical tips and advice, And the "Great Botanists" spreads profile the remarkable individuals who collected, studied and illustrated the plants we grow today.

Illustrated throughout with more than 200 beautiful botanical prints and simple diagrams, Practical Botany for Gardeners contains easy-to-understand explanations of over 3,000 botanical words and terms, and shows how these can be applied to everyday gardening practice.

Part handbook, part reference, Practical Botany for Gardeners is a beautifully captivating read that helps unlock the wealth of information that lies within the intriguing world of botanical science. It’s a must for gardeners, urban farmers, garden lovers, and backyard botanists who want to grow their own plant knowledge and understanding to help their gardens — or patio farms — thrive!

For the perfect complement to Practical Botany for Gardeners and to learn more about The Life of Plants, look here

AND, check our out Flowers, Plants and Gardening Collection


  • Condition: New. Glued binding. Cloth over boards
  • Edition: Hardback. First Edition - Published October, 2013
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press / University of Chicago Press - London / Quid Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Britza Publications
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-226-09166-2
  • Pages: 320
  • Color plates: 600
  • Dimensions: 6 1/2" x 9 1/2"
  • Rating:★★★★★ (See FAQs)
  • Geoff Hodge, BSc, MI Hort, is a gardening and horticultural writer living in Peterborough, UK, and the former gardening editor for the UK's Gardening News.

    He has always been interested in plants and gardening, and after getting his degree in agricultural botany from Reading University, UK, he veered more toward horticulture. He started his career managing garden centers, learning about garden plants and gardening by handling a huge number of cultivated plant species.

    For the last 23 years, he has communicated this love by writing about gardening for national newspapers, gardening magazines and websites. He has written seven books on gardening, including four for the UK's Royal Horticulture Society on allotment, propagation techniques and pruning and training.

    He regularly talks to gardeners and helps them with their gardening questions and problems on BBC radio, at flower shows, gardening clubs and horticultural societies across England.