Dr. Allan Armitage is one of the most influential figures in the plant world today, traveling internationally as a lecturer and consultant. His remarkable knowledge of things botanical is backed by a Bachelor of Science from MacDonald College, Quebec, a Master of Science from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and a Michigan State Ph.D.
A respected and prolific writer, Armitage has written over 250 articles and papers in journals such as Fine Gardening and Horticulture Monthly. He contributes a monthly column to Greenhouse Grower Magazine, a national trade journal, and is the author of six books. He is best known for his classroom and reference text, Herbaceous Perennial Plants: A Treatise on Their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes, now in its second edition. In 1997 it was designated by the American Horticulture Society as one of the seventy-five most important horticultural books of the past seventy-five years. In addition, his essential text for cut flower growers, Specialty Cut Flowers: The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers is currently in revision. The expanded and revised second edition will be published in fall of 2003.
Charming and lively as well as knowledgeable, Dr. Armitage is in constant demand as a speaker. He has lectured in Canada, the United States, China, Colombia, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. Also an engaging teacher, his courses in greenhouse production and crop management and herbaceous plant identification fill rapidly. In fact, he was recognized as one of the best teachers in the nation when he received the distinguished National Educator Award from the American Horticultural Society.
Equipped with this impressive list of accomplishments, he continues to be active in research and management. His research has lead to the introduction of a half-dozen plants to the greenhouse and garden trade, including the best-selling Verbena 'Homestead Purple', and other advances in the floriculture industry. He is currently in charge of the University of Georgia Horticulture Gardens, which is supported and visited by growers and seed breeders around the world.
Armitage's belief in gardening fuels his remarkable and ambitious career. He sees working with plants as therapeutic, exciting and creative, and says that a gardener can always look forward to improving a garden.
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An annual may be defined botanically as a plant that completes its entire life cycle within the space of a year: it grows, flowers, produces seed, and then dies, regardless of temperature or other environmental conditions.
Gardeners, however, do not use that definition in defining annuals and perennials. From a gardening standpoint, an annual is usually defined as a plant that dies because it is unable to survive extremes of cold or heat, that, the winter is too cold or the summer is too hot - and that is what I mean when I use the word "annual" in this book. When a typical garden annual, such as geranium or a petunia, is grown in a greenhouse, it will flower and produce seed many times over, surviving for years.
The difficulty of the gardener's definition of annuals is obvious: winters and summers vary depending on latitude and altitude. Is an annual in Duluth still an annual in Miami, even though it survives winters perfectly well in Florida? Or conversely, will a perennial in Fargo be a perennial in New Orleans even though it dies because of summer heat? For better or worse, I have made an arbitrary decision as to what most people accept as a garden annual. Using the USDA hardiness zone map as a guide, I consider all plants that are "usually" killed by winters in zones 1 to 7 (global warming and recent mild winters notwithstanding) annuals. That includes all Canada (except its west coast) and at least three-quarters of the land mass of the United States. According to the USDA zone map, winter temperatures in zone 7 (the southernmost zone in my definition) range from 0 to 10 degress Fahrenheit, although most annuals die when sustained temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit are experienced.
Other plants, commonly used as winter annuals in southern zones, are later pulled out because they cannot tolerate warm summers. These same plants may be fine summer annuals in cool summers. Such a group would include pansies, violas, English daisies, pot marigold, snapdragons, and hybrid pinks (the Appendix includes a list of these winter annuals as well.) Gardeners in the southernmost areas of the country, in such gardening oasis as Houston, San Diego, or Key West, may find this book more useful as a guide to perennials rather than as a guide to annuals. No matter what we call thses wonderful plants, let's enjoy the beauty they provide.
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Acknowledgments Preface A-to-Z Genera Selected Bibliography Appendix:Useful Lists Biennials Half-hardy perennials Winter annuals Shade-tolerant plants Fragrant plants Climbing plants Everlastings U.S.Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zone Map Index of Botanical Names Index of Common Names Color photographs follow page
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