A book I want badly, but....it's out of print and very expensive. Zilis is coming out with a new edition: it's going to be TWICE as expensive as the first one was. I guess he saw the prices at Amazon for used copies. I'll wait to see those prices for the first edition come down and then get a copy of that. Good enough for me, since I'll not be buying any new hostas for a while. Foliar nematodes and viruses from infected nursery plants have cooled my ardor for the newest kids on the hosta block.
The previous comments point out the important features of the Hosta Handbook.
When it first came out I ordered a half dozen for my hosta friends.
My problem right now is that Zilis needs to update this important reference for Hosta Lovers.
This is one of the most useful of my many practical gardening books. The pictures are excellent and the history of each plant and references to other similar hostas are outstanding. The size enables you to use it outdoors in your garden for comparisons as well as indoors.
I got this one at a botanic garden bookshop where I recommend people go to find specific gardening books.
I have three books on hostas, including "The Color Encyclopedia" and "The Genus Hosta". "The Hosta Handbook" is the one I reach for first, and though out of print, I was so pleased when I found a source at a reasonable price. It's the perfect size to carry into the garden, and contains all the information needed to identify the hosta and plan for its placement. It also discusses what you need to know to hybridize them...bloom dates, and information on their fertility.
Lists sports and seedlings as well as parent plant(s) making it very usefull for tracking down parentage.
Has a huge index, and even though it might not have a page directly dedicated to some indexed varieties, the author does include a note about that variety either in the comments section of another variety or in its "sports, seedlings, similar varieties" section so with a little cross-referencing this book is great for building a family grouping.
It is one of the few books in my library that I use more than the internet when researching a new find. The information is extremely detailed and entertaining. Websites so far have come up lacking by comparison.
I reach for this book every time I think about buying a new hosta. I take it with me to the garden. The spiral binding makes it easy to use. I'm continually looking for a better hosta book, but I have yet to find it. You can't go wrong with this book.
Absolutely the BEST book on hostas that I have found so far. When I first opened the package this book came in, I laughed to myself and said, "Gee, I didn't order half a book!" The book is spiral bound, 600 pages - but only 9" x 4.25" (page size) so it looks like someone chopped the book in half!
Nevertheless, this book is crammed full of great information on many of the hosta cultivars you will be able to find for sale. And because of it's size, it should be easy to bring along when I go "hosta hunting." I would imagine it would be almost impossible to write one book and include information about all - there are just too many cultivars in the hosta world!
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants the useful information at their fingertips - while looking through DG or as a field guide while shopping or just exploring a garden!
Really a great book. I'd look at it as sort of a Hosta Field Guide. One of the greatest features to this book is the Hosta Problem Solving Guide. This is a comprehensive review of almost 300 horticulturally significant types of hostas. Much information provided on how to grow, how to propagate, how to hybridize, and how to select mutants.
This is the first hosta book that I bought and it is the one that I still go to first for information about hostas. It discusses 278 hosta in detail and mentions another 1300 hostas under these as sports, seedlings, similar or related types. There is general discussion on the genus in the beginning of the book and some discussion and pictures of different diseases which affect hosta in the back.
It is in a spiral bound form which makes it easy to leave open and read while using both hands to type, write notes, etc. and is small enough to drag outside to compare to your own hostas. I don't have many garden books but this is my most used one.