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Reading Ruksans' book (pronouced "ROOK-Shans") is like having an intimate conversation with the bulb collector. Admittedly, it will interest and stir the heart of a bulb enthusiast like a child listening to a grandfather's fireside storytelling, but bore the everyman. One can crawl inside of his memories and smell the perlite in his coldframe, to share the experience, the meditative and loving daily voyage of a bulb master.
The reader may be inspired to hunt down and appreciate his native lithophytes, order something rare and special from the man himself, or even learn that elusive trick to propagating a certain plant that only years of Mr. Ruksans' experience can provide. I personally took up growing Corydalis (an interest I had otherwise never had) after reading Ruksans' descriptions. Like all the great books of old, Buried Treasures passes on the details of a passion on to the next generation.
I have this book and have read it. I have been to college for many years and have worked as a professional horticulturist for 15 years and this book put me to sleep. I think if you sit down and if you don't fall asleep you'll find that crocus grows everywhere. It just goes on and on until you say enough I have to kill myself. For your doctortate, it's great otherwise forget it,
I recently reviewed this book for "BULBS, The Bulletin of the International Bulb Society" and it is probably the best book on bulbs I have in my extensive bulb book collection. Buried Treasures is a unique and very different bulb book. It is basically divided into two parts--bulbs in the garden and bulbs in the wild. One of the best qualities about this book is the exhaustive amount of research Janis has contributed to the actual location in which these bulbs were found growing in the wild; and then transferring that knowledge into practical garden settings. This is what is so missing from most bulb books that just march though the species.
In the first part of the book, Janis has probably presented some of the best information available about growing bulbs from seeds. Other methods of bulb propagation he has experimented with and then perfected to a fine art have now been adopted and are the standard practice by the Dutch. A lot of practical advice about planting, harvesting bulbs, viral diseases, fertilizing, watering, pollination, and seed harvesting is also included.
In the second part of the book Janis describes his many adventures as a bulb explorer--and these are the real treasures of this book! Janis lives and owns a nursery in Latvia specializing in rare and unusual bulbs including hundreds of his own introductions. Janis explored and researched behind the former iron curtain in a time that will never be replicated and the tales of his plant explorations/collections are simply remarkable. Nothing compares with his stories about finding Juno Iris species in minefields and trying to convince the KGB that correspondences about bulb varieties are not talking about importing arms into the former Soviet Union. Throughout the book his enthusiasm (which borders on obsession--as it does with all serious bulb growers) about growing bulbs from seeds and offsets is apparent.
Another great quality of this book is the phenomenal photography which is keyed to the text making looking at what he is talking about super easy.
Janis Ruksans is a world treasure himself for the collecting, exploring, propagating, hybridizing, researching, and introductions he has contributed to the world of bulbs. He is also one of the best plantsmen, grower, and bulb explorer living in our time. Let's hope Janis Ruksans also has more buried treasures of books inside himself!