Book Review

Taylor's Dictionary for Gardeners

by Frances Tenenbaum

Houghton Mifflin Company, 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116. 1997. 351 pages. Hard cover.
(See CRFG Book Service for prices.)

Reviewed by Robert Chambers (1/1998)

"Taylor's Dictionary for Gardeners" by Frances Tenenbaum is a pleasant, helpful book of 351 pages that has answers for many of the questions that a gardener, especially a beginning gardener, wants to know. Ms. Tenenbaum says she is neither a botanist nor a professional horticulturist, but rather an enthusiastic gardener and garden-book editor. The book is easy to read, has well constructed line drawings and is designed to be handy.

The tone of the book is relaxed and helpful. Dictionary does not convey quite the right impression, although it is in alphabetical order. The book lends itself to browsing and even invites one to read it straight through as well as using it for looking things up.

I happen to have it open to the entry, "armyworm A caterpillar that chews on grass blades, leaving bare spots in the lawn." This is accompanied by an enlarged drawing of an armyworm and an indication of its actual size, and is fairly typical of the entries.

This is the kind of unpretentious book that seems to list many of the miscellaneous words that a gardener would come across and might not know. It is a good place to check spellings if you are writing about your garden.

The author has a good sense for the nuggets of information that one might want to get in connection with each word. I think everyone who has it will find it gets used more than expected.


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