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I acquired a copy of this book in order to become better educated about cultivating ferns under different conditions and as part of learning to read the relationships between flora, geology, and weather in my new home. Dr. Mickel's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious; I may even venture into the propagation techniques he outlines. It has quickly become an important part of my gardening library -- and extends into my forays and nature walks.
Thought this would be a great fern book to use as a resource as so many ferns are available for planting and growing in southern California, but it's really geared to folks growing ferns in colder climates... not very useful and lacks most ferns we grow here in southern California... too bad. However, if you DON'T live in So Cal, could be a very useful book... organized nicely with lots of photos and useful information. Just not useful to me.
I Have John Mickel's book that was Copyrighted in 1994 'Ferns for American Gardens' It is the same book as far as I could tell as his new one. No matter what page I turned to in both books they had the same information on it. I do not recall checking the page for 'Sources for Hardy Ferns" so maybe that list has been update.
Having the old version already I did not feel I needed the new version, so I returned it.
If you are looking for a excellant fern book (with lots of great pictures) either version will do. You might be able to pick up the old one on sale.
The name Timber Press has become synonymous with high quality.
Here's a description of the book from here- http://www.timberpress.com/books/isbn.cfm/0-88192-598-5
"Unusual in its specific focus on cold-hardy ferns, the volume is based on Mickel's personal experience as a scientist and curator of ferns at the New York Botanical Garden as well as his years as a home gardener. The bulk of the book is an encyclopedic treatment of more than 400 kinds of ferns. Useful appendices, including updated source lists, make it clear why the American Horticultural Society chose this book as one of its 75 Great American Garden Books."
Media reviews of this book:
"A labor of love...highly recommended with reservations."
—Lynn C Westney, E-Streams June 2004
"Provides an encyclopedic treatment of more than 400 kinds of ferns. "
— CoastStyle Fall 2004
"Need help selecting ferns and keeping them happy?...John T. Mickel describes 400 kinds of ferns and their needs."
—Jan Riggenbach, Omaha World-Herald May 27, 2004
"Ferns for American Gardens by John T. Mickel, is both comprehensive and accessible. With detailed descriptions of more than 400 ferns and 350 photographs, this book offers enough to satisfy any fern collector, but there is plenty of practical advice for gardeners who just want to grow ferns. "
— The American Gardener April 2004
"If I want a lush, dark green fern, I look in Ferns for American Gardens, and perhaps I will chose the black lady fern, an easy grower."
—Donna Williamson, HortResources Newsletter January 2004