Hi what do you think of the book called botany for dummies? I started to read it I don't think it's a beginners book.
Yes, I think that's a bit like Nuclear Physics for Dummies! I don't think I'll get it.
which do you recommend getting?
Botany and gardening both involve plants, but there isn't a huge amount of overlap. You don't need to be a botanist to be a gardener.
Some knowledge and understanding of basic plant biology does help, so find out about parts of a plant and what each part does and processes such as photosynthesis and transpiration. How plant hormones work is an interesting add-on, with things like phototropism and apical dominance and the way some plants communicate with each other. Really!
It can be also useful to have some understanding of the ways plants are classified by botanists, but you don't have to go into the detail, which often involves work with a microscope and means botanists are still arguing amongst themselves about which category some plants should go in!
Don't expect to learn it all at once. Your knowledge will grow with time and experience and some of us are still learning after a lifetime gardening.
You may find other things useful. Like Latin names perhaps! Some people are overwhelmed by them but they often give useful information about a plant right there on the label. So, Someplant pratensis grows in meadows, while Someplant palustris prefers a bog, florepleno means double flowers, caerulea means blue, salicifolia means leaves like a willow and so on. You can get a book that will help you navigate Latin names if this is of interest to you.
A general overview works fine for most of the time, so species, genus, family, hybrid, cultivar and F1 will help with looking up plants and using seed catalogues and online listings.
If you then look up a Family, such as Rosaceae or Leguminaceae and look at the plants in that family you will get a rough idea of what a typical specimen looks like, without the microscope!
Last edited: 03 September 2017 09:10:42
I've read some of your previous posts Ashley and you seem to be overwhelming yourself by trying to do it all at once.
How most of us learn our gardening is slowly and through experience. If you try to take it one step at a time you might find it easier.
Find a plant or flower that you like. Learn it's common names and it's "proper" name. eg The plant known as Lady's Mantle also has the "proper" name Alchemilla mollis.
If you then go to the RHS website you can find out what it looks like throughout the seasons, how tall it grows, what conditions it likes and from that you can decide where it can be used within the garden. That information is plenty to start with about that particular plant. If you decide to become a world authority on AMs then you'll need to look up more but for the minute that's enough.
If you do something like that with each of the plants you like you're well on the way to understanding them and what they like. If you lift a plant and the label says "ERICACEOUS" eg Erica (or heather...the clues in the name this time ) you'll wonder what that means so ask someone here or look it up and you'll find it means that that plant likes acid conditions. Tomorrow you lift a different plant that says ericaceous on it eg Pieris (forest flame) and you'll realise that those two plants would grow well together. Lo and behold you have the first brick in your wall of knowledge.
I started my gardening interest with the Dr Hessayon "expert" books. I had The Flower Expert and The Tree and Shrub Expert. I still lift them now and again as a quick reference for when and how to prune. They have good pictures and the information is simple and straightforward. Have a look at them and see what you think.
Good luck with your gardening. You know you can always come here and ask questions anyway.
Last edited: 03 September 2017 09:31:00
yes that's great but I like to know some of the biology, cells, xylem phloem and things. I don't know what book to read. im struggling with botany for dummies.
I'd agree with Ppauper - you can make it seem very daunting if you try and take everything in all at once. It'll become a chore rather than an interesting subject to learn about.
Am I right in thinking you were working in a Garden Centre? I think I'd start by learning about the plants on sale there - the basic stuff that Ppauper has outlined about their growing habits, likes and dislikes etc. Learning a little about pruning and propagating would be useful for giving advice to customers too, and that would be more beneficial than learning about botany, which, as already mentioned, isn't necessary to be a gardener at a decent level.
Perhpas take a little step back, look at what is going to be useful to you right now, and focus on that. The other stuff can be gleaned along the way.
Last edited: 03 September 2017 09:44:13
there's a whole lot in this series, aimed at GCSE level so not too heavy
Call it Plant Biology rather than Botany and you can find stuff that's more accessible to the average person. You can work up to Botany later.
I searched 'Plant Biology GCSE' and lots of stuff came up
I found this that you can work through if you're determined you need to know botany but, by necessity it contains lots of scientific terminology. Botany tends to be something you do after you've learnt the "easy" stuff. Have a read through the topics down the left hand side and that'll get you started.