There are two things you quickly notice about the 2019 edition of the legendary RHS Plant Finder, just out. Firstly, it covers 1,500 more plants than the previous edition yet it has the same number of pages, in fact it’s actually slightly thinner – always a good thing in a big fat 960 page book.
The other thing is that the paper is a much cleaner white than in last year’s edition, making the pages easier to read.
I’ve been talking about the new entries in each year’s Plant Finder since I started this blog and in recent years the book itself also increasingly highlighted new additions. This year twenty of the new introductions are featured in a sixteen page colour section, including the sparky bi-coloured Crocosmia ‘Scorchio’ (right), developed by Paul Lewis on the Isle of Wight.
Name changes in each new edition often cause controversy, not to say alarm, amongst gardeners but the team overseeing these updates is generally quite cautious.
This year I see that African violets, Saintpaulia, are now included in Streptocarpus but are marked as African violets in the listings so we don’t get too confused. One that will annoy people is that the name of the well known, black-leaved Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ has been updated to ‘Kokuryu’ – but let’s not allow that to distract us from the fact that ‘Blackbeard’ is a better plant.
The little spring shade lover Hacquetia epipactis is now moved to Sanicula and it turns out that the correct cultivar name for the 2017 Chelsea Plant of the Year Morus Charlotte Russe is not ‘Matsunaga’ but ‘Waisei-kirishima-shikinari’!
Anyway, this remains a vitally important book for gardeners. Order the latest edition here - never ever rely on an old edition.