“Park’s Success with Seeds” by Anne Reilly was first published by the US based Park’s Seed company in 1978. My copy dates from then, and has the grooviest psychedelic and seedy dust jacket imaginable as a result. The book itself is still available, a new edition by Karen Park Jennings can be delivered to your home by ordering on their website. And it is well worth doing so, even though much of the contained information is available in online form at the same place.
The book itself is a primer for growing plants from seed. For those with no experience whatsoever, it runs through the general basics of seed propagation, setting up, germinating, growing on seedlings, as well as some general background on gardening and botanical naming of plants. Some of the information, (mostly plant names), is out of date in this edition, but it’s easily searched in other books which will list the synonyms of those plants which have had name changes in recent years.
But the most useful aspect of the book is as a visual reference guide to individual plants. The majority of the book consists of page after page of plant descriptions for both ornamental and edible plants (and some weeds), including a photograph of the mature plant, or some detail, such as flowers or seed pods, to allow for easy identification. And most useful and unusual, it has photographs of germinating seedling of every species described. This is absolutely fantastic for the novice propagator, especially if things are sown direct into the ground, as there is no chance of pulling out your crops by mistake, thinking they are weeds. A simple look at the book will help you pick out your corn seedlings from grassy weeds, and your beetroot from dock.
Details of optimum propagation conditions, including temperatures (though they are listed in farenheit) and cultural conditions in the garden are included in each description. Basically, this is one of the most useful gardening books I have ever bought, and would not give up my copy for quids. Well worth laying your hands on a copy, or at least having a peek at their online version if you are in doubt about it’s value.
Five green thumbs up.