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Impatiens: The Vibrant World of Busy Lizzies, Balsams, and Touch-Me-Notsby Raymond Morgan
Synopses & Reviews
Many gardeners are well-acquainted with Impatiens walleriana, the species that lies behind the colorful garden varieties that brighten up containers, window boxes and shady spots throughout the world. Admirers of this wonderful plant will be surprised to learn that they have barely scratched the surface: the genus Impatiens is enormous, comprising over a thousand species—many of which, although highly desirable, remain little known to gardeners.
Ray Morgan unveils this wealth of untapped treasures: a kaleidoscope of rich colors, a broad range of shade tolerance, and an array of unique features. He begins by examining Impatiens through a botanical lens, describing their physiology, morphology, and intriguing seed dispersal mechanism. Then, he places Impatiens in historical context, recounting Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker's Victorian-era plant-hunting forays into the Himalayas, and noting how modern-day expeditions, with due concern for conservation, continue to bring back species that will find their way into nurseries and gardens.
Perhaps most exciting of all are the descriptions of more than 200 impatiens from around the world that offer immense garden value. Madagascar native Impatiens bicaudata makes a showy display with its bright red flowers with yellow centers and purple pollen, and is also drought-tolerant, Impatiens namchabarwensis, discovered in the world's deepest canyon in Tibet, carries dozens of striking, ultramarine blue flowers with upturned spurs; and Impatiens balsamina, whose camellia-shaped flowers were once popular in cottage gardens, is ripe for rediscovery.
With over 160 color photos complementing the detailed plant descriptions, this book is essential reading for curious-minded gardeners keen to unearth a fascinating and largely unexplored genus.
Many gardeners know of Impatiens walleriana, the species that lies behind the myriad colorful garden varieties that brighten up containers, window boxes, and shady spots throughout the world. The genus Impatiens is enormous, comprising over a thousand species—many of which, although highly desirable, remain lilttle known to Western gardeners.
Raymond Morgan first examines Impatiens through a botanical lens, describing their physiology, morphology, and seed dispersal mechanisms. He then recounts Victorian-era plant-hunting forays into the Himalayas and notes how modern-day expeditions, with due concern to conservation, continue to bring back species that will eventually find their way into nursery catalogs and gardens.
Perhaps most excitingly, the author describes over 200 species ranging from Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayas to New Guinea. Along the way the reader is acquainted with remarkable species, including the giant African Impatiens tinctoria, which grows to 6 feet tall, and Tibet's ultramarine I. nanchabarwensis, which grows in the deepest canyon on earth.
The genus Impatiens contains a wealth of untapped treasures for gardeners. With wonderful photographs complementing the detailed plant descriptions, this book is essential reading for curious-minded gardeners keen to unearth this fascinating and largely unexplored genus.
About the Author
Raymond J. Morgan is a retired nurseryman with a longstanding interest in Impatiens. In Britain he holds the National Plant Collection of the genus, and he has travelled in southern India extensively researching and photographing them. He has written articles for such magazines as The Garden, The Plantsman, and Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Ray lives with his wife in South Wales.
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